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Local government

Local government includes regional, city and district councils. These councils are responsible for the welfare of their communities. The way communities use and generate energy makes a difference to their well-being. Local government has an important part to play in this and has particular responsibilities to ensure the sustainable management of energy resources within their communities.

Their two main roles are:

Local government responsibilities include long term planning for their communities, and managing natural and physical resources in line with those plans.

Resource Management Act 1991

The Resource Management Act 1991 requires local government decision makers to have particular regard to the efficiency of the end use of energy, the effects of climate change, and the benefits to be derived from the use and development of renewable energy resources. These matters are relevant to the consideration of resource consent applications for renewable electricity facilities for example and when council policy statements and plans are reviewed or changed.

When planning for energy efficiency and renewable energy under the RMA, councils are also required to have regard to the New Zealand Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy (NZEECS) as it is a statutory document produced under the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act 2000. The NZEECS contains the 90% renewable electricity target by 2025 and the 9.5 PJ direct use target along with a range of energy efficiency objectives and targets.

Policy statements and plans can promote energy efficiency in the built environment and through urban form and settlement patterns that integrates land use and transportation and provides for a range of transport modes and technologies. RMA planning documents must also give effect to the National Policy Statement for Renewable Electricity Generation which gives clear government direction on the benefits of renewable electricity generation. View the media release. More information is available on the Ministry for the Environment's website.

To meet the RMA requirements for renewable energy it is important to understand the energy resources in a particular area. Find out more information on planning for renewable energy resources under the RMA.

Regional energy strategies

A regional energy strategy looks at the whole spectrum of energy resources and demand-side opportunities available within a specific region. A number of regions are developing energy strategies.

EECA and other government agencies have information about energy use and potential renewable energy resources at both a national, regional, and local level, which can help in developing these regional plans.

Read the current strategies:

  • Auckland Council is developing the regions first Energy and Climate Change Mitigation Strategy to achieve the Auckland Plan vision of transforming Auckland into a sustainable, low carbon and energy resilient city. The strategy is a response to climate change and greenhouse gas emissions in Auckland. It will bring benefits and opportunities for our economy, enhance the environment and improve the liveability of the city. For more information, contact Auckland Council (09 301 0101).
  • The Northland Energy Forum's Strategic Plan, released in early 2012, aims to grow Northland's economy through a reliable, sustainable, diverse, and economic supply of energy. For more information about the strategy, contact Enterprise Northland (09 438 5110).
  • The Bay of Plenty Regional Energy Strategy was launched in December 2011 by Bay Connections, a group comprising local organisations, industry sectors, and representatives from local and central government. The Strategy is aimed at creating a foundation for individuals and business in identifying and successfully pursuing opportunities available from the region's sustainable resources. For more information about the strategy, contact Bay Connections (0800 884 881 x8350).
  • The Southland Energy Strategy was adopted in 2011 to replace the 2003 strategy. The Strategy was developed with key stakeholders and identifies key opportunities with regards to energy generation, storage and use. It provides a high level overview of areas of risk which will need to be addressed while considering the opportunities, in order to maintain economic, cultural and social wellbeing, as well as protect the region's environmental values. For more information about the strategy, contact Venture Southland (03 211 1400).
  • The Waikato Regional Energy Strategy, which was launched in August 2009, provides a comprehensive map of the Waikato's current energy resources, and a range of recommendations on ways in which the region's energy resources could be further developed. For more information about the strategy, contact Environment Waikato (07 859 0851).

Long term council community plans

Long term council community plans are important documents, providing a framework for direction and priorities. The following guidelines have been developed to help councils factor in energy efficiency and renewable energy when developing these plans. Read the guide to energy and long term council community plans.

Resources to assist local government

EECA can help local government:


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