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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Installation of water meters in Masterton is progressing well, with extra contractors involved following the four and a half weeks of Alert Level 4 lockdown.
There’s been strong usage of Masterton’s new wheelie bin service in its first fortnight.
Masterton’s northern entrance will be colourful once again with a fresh and modern garden bed design set to be planted later this month.
The three Wairarapa Councils and waste management contractor Earthcare are encouraging residents to minimise waste these holidays and remember the two-recycling crate rule.
The Ruamāhanga River has been named the third most improved in the country at the New Zealand River Awards.