Energy Minister Launches Energy-Wise Councils Partnership

  • Max Bradford

Local government has an important leadership role to play in energy efficiency in New Zealand, Energy Minister Max Bradford said today at the launch of the Energy-Wise Councils Partnership.
The Energy-Wise Councils Partnership During was a one year pilot programme to be run during 1997/98 with selected, progressive councils in partnership with the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority, Mr Bradford said.

"The goal of the Energy-Wise Councils Partnership is to have improved energy efficiency, energy conservation and renewable resources acknowledged as core goals and activities of local government," Mr Bradford said.

"New Zealand's city, district and regional councils spend around $100 million a year on 20 PJ of energy providing services to ratepayers.
"Energy efficiency is increasingly important for environmental reasons, for reducing costs to businesses, households and ratepayers and also in helping New Zealand meet its international climate change obligations," Mr Bradford said.

Local councils had an important role to play. They set trends and influenced energy use in society through:
influence over local energy companies, public transport providers, community energy trusts etc.
urban design and resources consent activities, which influence overall energy consumption patterns in society.
moral and political leadership to promote cleaner production, sustainability, improved business practice.
The one-year pilot partnership involves selected councils with a progressive attitude to energy efficiency and renewable energy. The councils involved in the one year pilot are:
Christchurch City Council: impressive energy cost reduction, full-time energy manager and a computerised energy management system.
Canterbury Regional Council: a major focus on reducing emissions from domestic fuel burning through improved efficiency, emissions standards and fuel switching options.
Waitakere City Council: committed to being an "eco-city' with sustainable practices and energy efficiency programmes.
Nelson City Council: specific policies focus on energy efficiency, use of renewable energy sources, promotion of public transport, walking and cycling.
Hamilton City Council: working on a local plan for climate protection.
Auckland Regional Council: developing a more sustainable and energy efficient urban form for Auckland while accommodating population growth of up to 2 million. Promotion of energy efficient transport.
"Over the next year EECA will provide information, coordination and support to these councils who in turn will focus on energy efficiency and renewable energy in their policies, planning and services, and promote these issues in the wider community."

New Zealand had a two-pronged approached to energy efficiency, Mr Bradford said.

"First, competitive markets encourage energy efficiency because consumers pay the true cost of their energy. We also encourage energy efficiency with programmes like the Energy-Wise Councils Partnership.

"I applaud those councils who are taking the lead in the area of energy efficiency and coming up with policies and plans which suit their particular regions," Mr Bradford said.

"I urge all local authorities to follow their lead, take a hard look at their own practices and recognise both the need for, and benefits of, energy efficiency and renewable energy."