Community desires better environmental health for future generations
The message from Wellington communities is loud and clear, Greater Wellington needs to prioritise better environment health as part of its 2021-2031 Long Term Plan (LTP).
Over half of the 1,086 people taking part in the regional council's LTP pre-engagement survey rated 'Protecting and enhancing our environment' as an extremely important priority to for Greater Wellington to focus on over the next ten years.
Penny Gaylor, chair of Greater Wellington's Environment Committee, says reflecting our communities' values on the environment as a fundamental part of whanau, whakapapa (ancestry) and wellbeing is important.
"Leaving the land for future generations in a better state than we found it, is highly valued. The reality we are facing in this generation is that the environment has already suffered significant degrading - we have to halt that and recover our natural environment. This also speaks to our diverse communities who have different cultural connections to the land and the recognition that the natural environment plays an integral role in everyday life.
"Investing in the environment is viewed as an investment in personal and generational wellbeing. Our region sees the benefits our parks, forests and natural resources provide - and that a healthy environment in turn creates opportunities for healthier ways of life," says Cr Gaylor.
Adrienne Staples, deputy chair of Greater Wellington, says the perception of wellbeing is also linked to reshaping the regional economy following the impacts of COVID-19.
"Our community want to reduce the negative impacts on people's way of life, they want jobs to be safeguarded, families to be supported and the continuation of investment into reforestation, revegetation and restoring native forest to support the ecosystem," says Cr Staples.
The results from the survey spark optimism that our region's response to COVID-19 is an opportunity to invest in the environment and the people - this is a chance to make the region a better place and in turn create more jobs.
Thomas Nash, chair of Greater Wellington's Climate Committee, sees an opportunity for more people to find work helping rebuild the region's natural infrastructure - forests, wetlands and waterways.
"There are good examples of this already with the jobs for nature environmental programmes that provide opportunities to learn new skills in environmental protection and enhancement, and climate positive action.
"Across the board people are telling us that they value the natural richness of our beautiful region. They want to reverse any degradation of the land and waterways in our region and they are quite rightly looking to Greater Wellington to lead the charge. With support from communities and backing from volunteers, who already are dedicating their time and expertise in local areas and communities, we know we can get results," says Cr Nash.
The public consultation on the 2021-31 Long Term Plan is expected in March this year. Members of the public can have their say by registering at Have Your Say.
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