Climate change is already affecting our region. Masterton had the fastest increase in annual average maximum temperatures and gained seven extra warm days (above 25 degrees Celsius) per decade, a new Ministry for the Environment and StatsNZ report shows. These trends are predicted to continue. This will have far-reaching impacts for us all from increasing pressure on fresh water, biodiversity, and our resilience against increasing weather extremes. Climate change poses big challenges for our community but by working together we can reduce our carbon emissions, become more resilient and adapt our valley to changes that are coming our way.
Climate Action Plan
Masterton District Council is taking up the challenge of climate change action in two ways.
Firstly, the Council created an internal Corporate Emissions Reduction Plan in 2021 which sets out the
ways our Council will reduce our corporate climate pollution.
Following the development of the internal Corporate Carbon Emissions Reduction plan, the Council wanted
to take a co-development approach to create a Climate Action Plan for the whole district through the
establishment of a Community Focus Group.
The Climate Change Community Focus Group was formed in July 2021 after taking expressions of interest
from the community. A total of ten participants were selected by a panel of elected members for the
Focus Group. The participants came from a range of different backgrounds including forestry, farming,
climate science, social science, central and local government policy, mana whenua interests, and hazard
management. A series of workshops was held with the Focus Group, council staff, and elected members to
explore different themes related to climate change and to analyse potential solutions for the district. The
ideas generated in the workshops were used to develop a list of actions which were consulted on with the
wider community and went on to inform this Climate Action Plan.
What are we doing?
In 2018 Council adopted its first Wellbeing Strategy, He Hiringa Tangata, He Hiringa Whenua that sets our long term strategic direction for Masterton/Whakaoriori District. The four development areas (economic, social, cultural and environmental) are represented as ‘whenu’ or ‘weaving strips’. Environmental development is the base of the whenu because if we don’t have a healthy, natural environment, the development of the three other development areas cannot thrive.
Our Environmental Development Vision
Masterton/Whakaoriori has rivers we can swim in and drink from, clean air to breathe, and green and blue spaces that we can enjoy and share with future generations.
Our vision for the future of the Masterton District will only be possible if we address the current and future impacts of climate change. To achieve our vision we will:
- Improve energy efficiency/conservation
- Minimise waste
- Promote and enable cleaner transport
- Work towards a more circular vs linear economy
- Work towards a low carbon economy in support of the government’s target to reduce New Zealand’s net greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050
- Prepare to adapt for future changes through building resilience, keeping informed, sharing information and being open to economic opportunities generated by a low carbon economy
To deliver on the objectives above, council has set up a climate change work programme to better respond to local opportunities and challenges, and requirements of the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Act 2019.
Other useful links
Our Greenhouse Gas Footprint
Wairarapa Greenhouse Gas Inventory
A combined GHG inventory was produced by the three Wairarapa district councils. It showed that the Wairarapa region gross emissions fell by 7% between 2001 and 2019.
The Wairarapa region had around 47,590 people in 2019, resulting in per capita gross emissions of 36.4 tCO2e/person.
Wellington Greenhouse Gas Inventory
The Wellington Region’s total gross emissions fell by 5% between 2001 and 2019.
The population of the Wellington Region in 2019 was approximately 527,790 people, resulting in per capita gross emissions of 7.9 tCO2e/person
Our Carbon Footprint
A carbon footprint is the amount of greenhouse gasses released in the atmosphere as a result of activities by an individual or organisation.
We have been measuring our carbon footprint since 2016 and in that time we have seen our overall greenhouse gas emissions reduce every year.
You can find out more about the Toitū certification and read our reports online.
Masterton District Council is a member of the Wellington Region Climate Change Forum, a forum through which Wellington region’s councils and mana whenua network, discuss issues and share climate-related information. Council is represented by two elected members.
Home Health Assessment Kit
Home Health Assessment Kit
Dry and warm homes are healthier and more comfortable for their occupants. Cold, damp and mouldy houses can lead to serious health problems, like respiratory illness and cardiovascular disease. They are also much harder and more expensive to heat. You can now assess your home for moisture, leaks, draughts and more with our home health assessment toolkit. You can borrow it for free from the Masterton Library.
Council has been contributing to the Wairarapa Healthy Homes (WHH) scheme for the past 16 years. Through the programme, almost 2,800 low-income Wairarapa homes have received 100% subsidised home insulation. Well-insulated homes are warmer and drier which means lower power bills for our community and better health outcomes for everyone.
Find out if you’re eligible for insulation and heating grants with the Warmer Kiwi Homes programme.
In 2017, we announced an ‘electric first’ fleet purchase policy to phase out petrol and diesel vehicles. Council now has 3 electric vehicles and wherever possible, new fleet vehicles are electric.
EVs emit 80% less CO2 than an equivalent petrol vehicle when being driven in New Zealand because electricity generated here is typically at least 80% renewable mostly from hydro, geothermal and wind. You can find a list of EV charging stations on the NZTA website.
LED Street Lights
LED Street Lights
Around 3,000 old sodium bulbs have been replaced by LEDs in Masterton’s street lights. LEDs have a longer lifespan, lower maintenance and replacement costs, and use much less power.
Converting to LED lights is expected to save up to 60 per cent of the electricity consumed by the previous high-pressure sodium bulbs, with LEDs having a 20-year lifespan, compared with four years for sodium bulbs. Switching to LED reduced street lighting carbon emissions from 134.23 tCo2e to 64.17 tCO2e.
Around 9,000 water meters have been installed in Masterton properties during 2020. Water is a precious resource and meters help to reduce consumption, identify leaks, and give users better information about their water use.
In other schemes, meters have been shown to reduce water loss by up to 30%, and reduce demand by 20%. Reducing overall consumption also means we use less electricity for pumping which results in fewer carbon emissions.
There are lots of different ways you can manage and reduce your emissions, here are just some of the ways to get involved:
Resources for healthy living
Natural hazards - get ready
Overnight rain has raised the level of the Waingawa River, enabling Masterton District Council to ease water restrictions to allow sprinklers to be used on alternate days.
Masterton District Council has introduced further water restrictions following continued dry conditions. Sprinkler use is banned – only hand-held hoses may be used. Restrictions are linked to flow levels in the Waingawa River, the source of Masterton’s drinking water.
Rain in the Tararua Range has enabled Masterton District Council to lift all water restrictions from tomorrow (Wednesday 31 March).
An extended spell without significant rain has forced Masterton District Council to tighten its water restriction, limiting watering to hand-held hoses only.
Garden watering in Masterton is now limited to handheld hoses, following a sustained period of dry weather and falling levels in the Waingawa River, the source of Masterton’s drinking water.