Midyear 2022 update

It's been aaages since the last newsletter - have you missed me?


During 2021 it really helped me to put my thoughts down on a monthly basis but for past 6 months I've been spending more time looking inward and making the most of in-person networking and changemaking (now that we were allowed again).


I've also been considering how to change my comms to be more frequent and more two-way in the way I had always envisaged. In future, you'll find me being much more active on social media, my email updates will be more frequent and to the point, and my website is currently getting a refresh - I'll let you know when it's up!


This update is just a short one, mainly to give an update on climate action as well as to advertise your chance to have a say in the LG reforms, and to flag upcoming elections.

 

Climate Action Update


Do you remember when people only used to talk about net-zero by 2050? or are still talking about a 50% reduction by 2030? Well, it's no longer enough. The latest word from the IPCC scientists is that we have less than 3 years to start dropping emissions.


I realise acting 'now' is a hard concept to really turn into action when everyone you see is just going about their business-as-usual. All of us have many pressing 'now' things on our minds, both personal (e.g. cost of living) and other system failures (rising inequality, biodiversity collapse, Putin's war). I struggle with it too, it's really hard.


Every day I see signs in our mainstream news that our current economic system isn't going to deliver wellbeing for us. Too many decades of focussing on growth over quality, dominance over inclusion, and privatisation of profits while externalising costs for individuals and governments to clean up. It's not working and it will change; in either a planned or unplanned way.


It's important not to get overwhelmed by this because that doesn't lead to action, and there are in fact lots of positive things happening. Those stories are the ones that need to get told more and how to get that happening is something I'm pursuing with others from the Waikato Wellbeing Project and the Waikato Plan climate workstream.


Some of the things that have already eventuated with support from these spaces is a push to co-ordinate EV charging in the region, and the recent Waikato Climathon where I was lucky enough to be a judge to help decide some of the winning teams.


Crucially, central government has finally given us the first National Emissions Reduction Plan (my take on it is fairly in line with the response by Rod Oram in that it's going in the right direction but needs to go faster), and the first National Adaptation Plan will be out in a couple of months.


These documents help us bring climate action from the global level to the local level. That makes it real. The temporal and spatial information is in our grasp to overcome the 'what do we do?' question much better than ever before.


From a WRC perspective, I want to invite you to check out some of the presentations at the latest Climate Action Committee held on the 10th of March 2022 (see recording). Some agenda items got good media coverage, such as the need to consider how to economically grapple with more droughts , our regions suitability for more renewable energy generation and some of the work led by TCDC with their community on how to adapt to sea level rise. The next meeting is being held tomorrow on the 9th June 2022.


I am also really excited to see that our regional economic development agency Te Waka has taken up more climate change considerations in the work they do, which is something I and some other Councillors asked for at a workshop late last year. Their recent business sentiment survey showed that there's still a lot of work to do in the business space for everyone to know their risks, emissions and have action plans.


Fortunately there are quite a few initiatives starting or underway to provide support to our many small and medium enterprises, as well as the for-purpose sector, thanks to some forward thinking organisations who have seen this issue coming, and some who are now quickly jumping on board. There are also more sustainability and climate focussed roles being advertised by big businesses than ever before.


For Hamilton specifically, I was very grateful to get to be involved in one of the focus groups to give feedback on the upcoming Hamilton City Council Climate Strategy which is to be presented to their councillors for endorsement shortly.


We have so many community groups and individuals volunteering to help address the climate issue, but on top of that 'systemically there are some big shifts happening' and for that I am very grateful.


If anyone has any thoughts, feedback, ideas or opinions to share with me on what else needs to be happening at local government level or elsewhere in our community on climate action, please let me know via email (jennifer.nickel@waikatoregion.govt.nz).

 

Local Government Reforms


The panel that is conducting the Review into the Future for Local Government wants to hear from a wide range of people about what a future system of local governance could look like.


Get Vocal in Your Local is an interactive tool that is largely targeted at young people but is available to anyone to give their feedback - it takes only 5 minutes to complete. Go on, have a go.

 

LG Elections - 8 October 2022


Hamilton City Council has already launched their elections website and are putting the call out for people to start considering standing for election.


The Waikato Regional Council elections website is now also online, and you can expect to see more information on there soon.


I repeatedly extend invitations for a (confidential) chat for anyone (from any walk of life in our community) that's curious and considering it - if I can be of assistance please reach out to me in any way you feel comfortable.

 

This monthly insight has been put together to help you:

  • Learn more about local government relevant to Hamilton & Waikato

  • Stay up to date with climate action and other interesting topics

  • Engage more through prompts to have your say at the right time

Please share with others & follow on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.

All feedback is very welcome.


Ngā mihi nui,

Jennifer


It's been great to be out and about - this was taken at the Donny Park planting day as part of HCC Nature in the City strategy. Gorgeous autumn day for it!