Hawke's Bay Regional Council is one step closer to declaring a climate emergency.

The Environmental Service Committee on Wednesday voted to recommend HBRC declare an emergency at a full council meeting next week.

The decision was made in front of 20 people supporting an immediate declaration, who, prior to the meeting protested outside the council buildings.

Extinction Rebellion Hawke's Bay convener Bruce Bisset, who spoke at the meeting, said the time for speaking was over and action needed to be taken.


He said the ocean was expected to rise 2.5m by the year 2100, which would mean the council chambers the meeting was taking place in would be under water.

He said one example of what councils could do is pressure central government to change legislation which would allow councils to include greenhouse gas emissions into the consenting process under the Resource Management Act.

Before the meeting Bisset told Hawke's Bay Today he was hopeful the Government would follow suit and declare a climate emergency.

"Climate change is in the news every day now, which is good, so it should be, it should be on the front page every day.

"The more pressure is put on Government by the people to admit that this is not only real but worse than anyone expected ... then the more likely that they will begin to take real action."

HBRC chairman Rex Graham said humanity had never faced a battle like climate change.

"This is one we are all contributing to through greed, through selfishness and sometimes through ignorance.

"Nature is just going to deal to us on this issue."


The vote was not unanimous - Alan Dick, Fenton Wilson and Peter Paku voted against the recommendation.

Wilson said he would prefer council staff to be getting out and doing the mahi, rather than having to spend time writing reports.

"It's not going to make the boat go any faster.

"We would be far better tasked to let our staff get on and do the work, they cannot work any harder, and yet we request, constantly, a range of reports which actually don't make the boat go any faster."

Other recommendations for HBRC include lobbying Government to allow greenhouse gas emissions to be factored into the resource consent process, to put in a submission on the zero-carbon bill and to include climate change as a primary factor in its decision making.

HBRC will consider the recommendations at a meeting on June 26.


An earlier version of this story said a climate emergency had been declared in Hawke's Bay. This was incorrect.