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Whakatane District Council Zero Carbon Bill submission
13 July 2018
Whakatane District Council Zero Carbon Bill submission
The Whakatāne District Council’s submission on the Ministry for the Environment’s proposed Zero Carbon Bill supports net zero emissions of long-lived greenhouse gases by 2050 and the stabilisation of short-lived gases, such as methane, at or below existing levels.
The submission was discussed extensively at this week’s Council Policy Committee meeting, and although there was support for a proposed, ‘aspirational’ net zero emissions target across all greenhouse gases, concerns about the likely impact on dairy industry viability and the local and national economy saw the draft approach amended.
Councillor Gerard van Beek pointed out that rotting vegetation and municipal effluent treatment ponds both emit methane and said a compulsory zero emissions policy would come at a “horrendous cost”.
Councillor Russell Orr said dairy cows produce a significant proportion of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions and the only way to change that would be to reduce the number of cows. “That would mean we could end up in a position where the entire country suffers.”
Members supported the alternative, short-lived greenhouse gas emissions stabilisation target provided by the Ministry for the Environment. All other aspects of the draft Bill were supported, including the setting of emissions budgets and timeframes; and that the Bill should cover adapting to climate change. 
The Zero Carbon Bill is open for public submissions until 5 pm Thursday, 19 July.