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NZ planners’ think-tank on climate change

Dunedin – April 12, 2016

New Zealand’s top planners will be holding a think-tank on climate change impacts at the New Zealand Planning Institute’s (NZPI) annual conference in Dunedin this week.

A new era of international and domestic action to tackle climate change has begun and ongoing international agreements aim to keep global temperature increases below two degrees.

New Zealand’s need to produce a 30 percent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from 2005 levels by 2030, or equivalent to an 11 percent reduction from 1990 levels by 2030.

More than 500 planners, resource managers, urban designers and environmental practitioners from all over the country are discussing major planning issues affecting New Zealand at the Dunedin conference this week. Speakers include Building, Housing and Environment minister Nick Smith, former Prime Minister Sir Geoffrey Palmer and Commissioner for the Environment Dr Jan Wright.

NZPI chief executive Susan Houston says New Zealand’s climate change target and likely implications of the target in the resource management and planning context will be analysed by planners at various sessions during the week.

“Taking a strategic, policy-oriented approach of climate change will require our planners – and 2400 planners are members of our growing institute – to reflect on which resource management tools are working and what needs to be improved or replaced. We will be exploring key challenges and opportunities for New Zealand in successfully planning for climate change.

“Most of our towns and cities are by the coast where waves, the tide, wind and change in sea level can impact on property. Flooding and coastal erosion is already a risk and topic of interest to many New Zealanders. A continued rise in sea level is expected which raises many opportunities around short term and long term planning.

“The 2015 Paris agreement tackling emissions and climate change was a good start commendable but it requires real commitment to achieve goals. The agreement was the first global legally binding deal to tackle global warming.

“Climate change will affect many sectors and food production will be one of these critical areas – planning for climate change will be a challenge in our food and agricultural production industry not only for changes in extreme weather conditions such as drought and floods but also acknowledging that our biggest contributor to greenhouse gases is the agricultural sector.

“Good planning and forethought is going to be so important to New Zealand to maintaining a healthy economy and a sustainable future. Regardless of the causes of climate change we must address and plan for this future. We must sustain our environment and grow our economy so we preserve sustainable choices for our children and grandchildren.”

For further information, contact Susan Houston, NZPI chief executive, on 021 08345603 or Make Lemonade media specialist Kip Brook on 0275 030188

Photo: NZPI chief executive Susan Houston

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