The inaugural Manawatū-Whanganui Joint Climate Action Plan has been released with the aim of clarifying the role of councils in addressing climate change’s impact and building communities to preserve and enhance the environment.
Manawatū-Whanganui Climate Action Joint Committee co-chairwoman Rachel Keedwell said it brought together councils and tangata whenua in the region.
“Mayors of each city or district council, seven tangata whenua members and myself, on behalf of Horizons, participate in the committee,” she said.
The plan contained recommendations to councils, including incorporating climate change impacts into planning processes, agreeing on areas where councils could work together and talking to communities about its potential impact in each district.
“Each council in the region will need to consider how climate change is going to be addressed in each district and implement the recommendations in the plan,” Keedwell said.
“This should lead to individual council action plans being created that provide a greater level of detail.”
Communities could expect to see those actions reflected in upcoming long-term plans.
Keedwell said the plan was timely as climate change was happening now and would affect whānau, farms, businesses and communities.
Committee co-chairwoman Dr Huhana Smith said they had strived to create a plan which reflected the diverse communities in the region, with a strong Māori lead.
“As we adapt to climate change, councils are committed to making changes in a fair and equitable way and upholding the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi,” she said.
The involvement of tangata whenua in the committee had been central to developing the plan.
“The Manawatū-Whanganui Climate Change Action Plan embraces a te ao Māori worldview that is holistic and puts te taiao [the natural world] first,” Smith said.
“It also acknowledges mātauranga Māori is a key part of an effective regional response to climate change.”
The plan includes case studies from across the region highlighting climate action already under way, as well as recommendations about what people can do to make their houses more resilient to the impacts of climate change.
“Each of us doing what we can, no matter how small, to reduce our carbon footprint and prepare for more severe weather will move us further along the path of climate action,” Smith said.
English and te reo Māori versions of the plan are available to read on the media section of Horizons’ website.