Greenhouse gas emissions are growing at a faster rate in the Bay of Plenty than anywhere else in the country, new statistics suggest.
Although the region's emissions only made up 4.3 per cent of the national total in 2018, the rise in emissions since 2007 is being described as "just not good enough".
The 2007-2018 data released in the past week is the first time Stats NZ has released a regional breakdown of greenhouse gas emissions.
Overall, emissions in the Bay of Plenty grew by 11.9 per cent from 2007.
Canterbury had the second-largest increase at 11 per cent, then Otago at 7 per cent, Southland on 6.2 per cent and Tasman/Nelson on 1.6 per cent.
All other regions decreased their emissions, including Taranaki which made the biggest decrease of 11.3 per cent.
The data also shows total household emissions in the Bay of Plenty rose 22 per cent to 2018, second only to Waikato's 24 per cent.
Stats NZ said the rise in household emissions was largely driven by growing populations and transport use.
These emissions and "increasing emissions from goods-producing industries, particularly the electricity, gas, water, and waste services industry" were what drove the region's overall emissions up.
Environmental-economic accounts manager Stephen Oakley said nationally "while some regions reduced their emissions, this was largely offset by increased emissions in other regions".
Comment: Emissions comparison needs to be on level playing paddock
"Overall, this resulted in a reduction of just over 1 per cent in New Zealand's total greenhouse gas emissions."
Members of Te Urunga o Kea - Te Arawa Climate Change Working Group said it was important to note New Zealand's emissions were primarily driven by agriculture.
Member Harina Rupapera said in her opinion, it was "really important" climate change mitigation was targeted at "the right industries".
She said incorporating mātauranga Māori would help planners "implement better strategies that work with, not against, the environment".
The Bay of Plenty Regional Council's youngest elected member, Stacey Rose, said the emissions were "just not good enough".
He believed transport mode shifts should be a focus in the region as well as working with industries to reduce the use of toxic chemicals and carbon dioxide.
Rose also highlighted the value of mātauranga Māori in reducing emissions, calling it "essential".
"In all honesty, I believe that mana whenua should be in the forefront of this kaupapa, as they know their whenua, their awa, their maunga, and their ngahere ... People need to understand that Papatūānuku, our nature, is under threat."
Bay of Plenty Regional Council environmental strategy manager Stephen Lamb said the Stats NZ data and the council's own reports would be used to inform the region's Climate Change Action Plan which would guide the council's response work.
"We are currently consulting with our communities on how they want this to look."
Massey University Professor Emeritus Ralph Sims, an expert in sustainable energy and climate mitigation, said New Zealand's greenhouse gas emissions per capita remained one of the highest in the world, at 16.2 tonnes per person in 2018.
"A major effort to reduce emissions in the next two to three decades is essential in every region."
He said this would require "strong leadership, robust policies, tough regulations and personal commitments by our team of five million".
His colleague, Distinguished Professor Robert McLachlan from the School of Fundamental Sciences, described New Zealand's emissions as "stubbornly high".
Niwa atmosphere and ocean scientist Dr Sara Mikaloff-Fletcher said Stats NZ's aspiration to update emissions data annually would "allow regional councils and community groups to not only plan effective action but track their progress".
"But an essential piece is still missing from the puzzle. These statistics do not yet include the carbon emitted or absorbed due to the way we care for our land, for example, cutting or planting trees, soil management on farms, urban green spaces and invasive pest eradication.
"Land management, particularly re-forestation, is a key strategy to slowing climate change for many regions," she said.