Waikato environment advocacy group Go Eco is calling on decision-makers to ensure post-Covid-19 "shovel-ready" projects prioritise the reduction of New Zealand's carbon impact.
Central government has asked the regions to identify projects worth over $10 million that would be ready to go within six months that would contribute to substantial stimulus to the local economy and create jobs.
They would be infrastructure projects which could be included in a government stimulatory package in response to Covid-19.
Hamilton-based Go Eco today issued a statement calling on all regional decision-makers to submit projects which go beyond the minimum criteria of an immediate effect on the construction industry, its workforce and the economy.
Decision-makers must ensure all projects brought to the table prioritise the reduction of our carbon impact, it says.
"We support the Government's interest in projects which enable sustainable productivity, rather than replicating existing frameworks, as well as their use of the sustainable development goals to consider the social and environmental impact, as well as the economic," said Go Eco deputy chairwoman Louise Hutt.
"Our actions to halt an epidemic and potentially save thousands of lives have also had a positive influence on our carbon emissions."
Ms Hutt ran for Hamilton City Council in 2019, narrowly missing out on a seat in the West ward to Ewan Wilson. She also stood for the Hamilton mayoralty.
"We need to review the systems we have set up which contribute to climate change and prioritise solutions to this epidemic and its flow-on effects which support our path towards a carbon-zero future," she said.
Go Eco is a charitable trust which has a vision of "healthy environments supported by thriving communities. The values of community, empowerment, inspiration and integrity are central to our work."
Go Eco provides community education, collaborates with and supports environmental groups and projects, provides inspiration for living lighter and advocates on behalf of the environment.
It encourages urgent investment to fast track safe passage for multi modal transport, cycling and accessible connected public transport, as well as electric buses, light rail, onshore recycling facilities, renewable energy, and sustainable building practices.
Today's Go Eco statement also calls for "green infrastructure" to be prioritised, such as the restoration of the Waikato River and gully systems in the region.
"The Waikato-Tainui Environmental Plan (Tai Tumu, Tai Pari, Tai Ao) recommends that the highest level of recognition is given to the restoration of the Waikato River," Go Eco said.
"The health of the Waikato River is fundamental to a sustainable future and deserves our investment as a core infrastructure.
"Our region deserves infrastructure which is good for our climate and our wider wellbeing, as well as supporting the construction industry and workforce."