The declaration of a climate change emergency will help to accelerate plans to de-carbonise public transport, Greater Wellington Council hopes.
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern officially declared a climate emergency, as part of the Government's plans to have the public sector carbon neutral by 2025.
While the declaration did not evoke the powers of a civil defence emergency, Greater Wellington climate committee chair Thomas Nash says the declaration would put more of an emphasis on climate priorities at the local government level.
"It is being considered as serious as a civil defence emergency, which could unlock a lot of action and funding from the public sector towards the actions we need to see at council level," he said.
"What we think we'll see in terms of this announcement is an acceleration of the de-carbonisation of our public transport fleet and indeed the public transport fleet of other transport providers around the country."
He said as a council their emissions profile was mainly linked to their public transport fleet, which they were "rapidly trying to decarbonise", as well as converting their own vehicle fleet to electric.
A restoration of wetlands was also planned as part of the council's commitment to climate change action.
"What we also want to do on the environment side is really scale up the restoration of wetlands and native forest that work as a carbon sink but also a defence against drought and flooding, which we're expecting will be more frequent with the changing climate."
While the declaration was "a very good start", Nash hoped the declaration signalled closer partnership between the council and central government.
"We will be on the front lines of dealing with climate change, both in terms of reducing emissions and in terms of protecting our communities and adapting to the impacts of our changing climate.
"We really want to emphasise the importance of partnership between council and central government in dealing with these challenges.
"We're confident we can build those partnerships together in a constructive way."