Climate change and intensification: Mandate for leadership! …now what?

Wellington region people have handed Wellington City Council a mandate on a platter to be strongly progressive and sustainable. Will we finally see some change?

Planning for Growth and Te Atakura: you told ’em and you told ’em good!

We all told them the shape of the city is the shape of our future, and that now’s good to do something serious in Wellington about climate change.
Even those of us with little time or energy were able to pop in quick submissions “it’s simple maths, just do it!”

And what do you know? Loads of other people did too!

Te Atakura – the low carbon plan – received unprecedented numbers of submissions and crikey the call was strong.

PLUS the Planning For Growth strategy received an equally unequivocal call:  “densify the centres already, no sprawl!” 

BRAVO to us all! Two big, strong, mutually reinforcing progressive mandates for Wellington councillors. 

Are they starting to lead, then?

Wellington City Council have now adopted Te Atakura, First To Zero (zero carbon emissions by 2050), also joining the ranks of councils declaring a “climate and ecological emergency”. We don’t know yet what they’ll decide about Planning For Growth (on Thursday 20th they received the info on what the consultation said).

The Question To Answer All Questions: will they follow through on this popular mandate, and actually change how Wellington does transport and urban form? 

Changes need to be pushed through into a plethora of dull – and incredibly important – behaviour-shaping and decision-shaping policies. The District Plan, Growth Strategy, Spatial Plan, development agreement policies, building code, road standards, on and on. “Yes, because emissions” and “no, because emissions” will need to become common parlance across all the different domains where people make decisions that shape our built environment.

This kind of follow-through is the only way to achieve wholesale change. Government, specifically councils, can’t wait for everyone to be galvanised by solitary examples of leadership. To make the bulk of ordinary normal people and businesses do things better, we must change the broader system. This essential work is boring, procedural, and guaranteed to elicit lots of complaint from people both inside and outside council.

And we’re in an election year, which tends to make politicians a bit crazy…

Do you see signs of sustainable commitment to leadership that we’ve missed? Or other signs of hope?

One comment on “Climate change and intensification: Mandate for leadership! …now what?”

  • paul bruce says:

    We now need to ensure that local (and central) government get the best advice to refine their actions to get to carbon zero. Wellington City Council still actually lacks ambition in keeping to its 2050 carbon zero goal when we know clearly that that is now inadequate and will ensure that any fund to protect infrastructure from sea level rise, will be wasted as only managed retreat will then suffice.

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