FROM THE MAYOR'S DESK

Whangārei District Council has released its 2019 Sustainability Strategy, which sets out a framework for an exciting plan and one I fully support.

We will use this document to become a more sustainable organisation. It will help us improve the decisions we make so we can reduce the effects of climate change and use our resources in a sustainable way.

The strategy will help us show leadership when it comes to making responsible, sustainable choices. It also helps us prepare for national programmes that focus on climate change and waste minimisation.

An action plan includes learning about how the council uses and sources resources and embedding sustainability and climate change as a decision-making criteria across its functions. Photo / Getty Images
An action plan includes learning about how the council uses and sources resources and embedding sustainability and climate change as a decision-making criteria across its functions. Photo / Getty Images

Climate change is a local and global threat. That's why our focus is firstly on raising awareness of the issues we face, and then reducing our organisation's contribution to climate change as much as possible. The time has come for all of us, including organisations such as the council, to be held accountable for our actions and our choices.

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We ultimately hope to become a completely carbon-neutral organisation. This may take time to achieve but we are taking steps in the right direction.

Our goals include:

Awareness - having a clear understanding of the resources we're currently using, and the origin, quantity and life cycle of those resources.

Decision-making - being guided in our decision-making by the principles of "analyse, audit, improve and monitor; good governance; buy smarter; reduce and waste less".

Leadership and engagement - putting ourselves and our actions in the spotlight and sharing our knowledge and learnings with our community.

Capacity - using the right resources and the right knowledge to achieve our goals.

Efficiency – using and managing our resources efficiently.

New Zealand's local and regional councils recognise their responsibilities to reduce their emissions and to act more sustainably. I'm very excited that Whangārei is taking a strong lead on this.

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The district council is one of the largest organisations in the Whangārei District and by our example we hope to pave the way for others to follow. Sharing information with our community and walking the talk are key features of this strategy.

I invite you to read the Sustainability Strategy on our website at http://www.wdc.govt.nz/PlansPoliciesandBylaws/Plans/Sustainability-Strategy/Documents/Sustainability-Strategy.pdf . This is great news for our community, our District, and for New Zealand!