Preparing for Net Zero emissions Aotearoa New Zealand is a cornerstone of Rautaki Hanganga o Aotearoa - New Zealand Infrastructure Strategy.
Te hau mārohi ki anamata Towards a productive, sustainable and inclusive economy: Aotearoa New Zealand’s first emissions reduction plan (ERP) contains many actions that the Infrastructure Strategy recommends will help prepare us for what’s ahead.
Reducing emissions in a way that improves the wellbeing of all New Zealanders means confronting difficult trade-offs in our planning system, enabling electrification of all parts of society, improving efficiency of existing networks, making more targeted investments and acting with a sense of urgency which has thus far been absent from New Zealand’s climate response. We’ll have to reshape many rules and settings of how we plan, develop and use infrastructure, while enabling behaviour change and supporting households, iwi and Māori, communities, and businesses to transition to lower-emissions alternatives.
The Infrastructure Strategy reveals the scale of the challenge we must address in preparing our infrastructure for the future. Key to this will be leveraging low-emissions energy resources, strategic planning, ensuring investment choices align with national objectives, are resilient, and make the most of what we already have.
Many actions government will take as part of the first ERP begin to deliver across a range of areas that are important to the infrastructure sector, including:
- an approach to infrastructure decision-making that includes considering non-built solutions, and the cost of carbon over the life of assets
- enabling and accelerating the development of new, renewable energy infrastructure and the efficient use of transmission and distribution infrastructure
- reducing emissions produced during the construction and use of infrastructure
- addressing funding and financing constraints for urban infrastructure
- transport pricing tools
- commencing a circular economy and bioeconomy strategy.
Te Waihanga supported the development of the ERP’s Planning & Infrastructure chapter. Getting planning and infrastructure investment settings right is critical in ensuring that:
- low-emissions actions are facilitated across Aotearoa to help meet our emissions reduction targets, including in the transport, energy, waste, and building and construction sectors
- urban environments are well-functioning, developed in an integrated way, resilient to natural hazards and the effects of climate change, make the best use of existing infrastructure and deliver a range of wellbeing outcomes including improved liveability and accessibility to employment, active and public transport, education, services, community and cultural facilities, open space, parks and amenities
- when we need to build, we do so using low-emissions initiatives and construction methodologies that consider carbon impacts across the lifecycle – from construction to use, maintenance and end-of-life.
The ERP and associated materials, including an accessible summary, can be found on the Ministry for the Environment website(external link).