So, Auckland has a climate plan... now what?

So, Auckland has a climate plan... now what?

8 December 2020

Limelight Rooms, Aotea Centre

5.oopm: Doors open and networking
5.30pm: Presentations begin
7.00pm: Event finishes

Auckland is in a climate emergency. 

We are already seeing the impacts of climate change in the region, such as higher temperatures, increased drought and more intense rainfall events. These impacts are expected to get more serious over time and will persist for the next several decades and beyond. At the same time, Auckland's emissions are increasing, despite the commitments we've made as a C40 City to halve the region's emissions by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050. 

How we address climate change now will affect Auckland and Aucklanders for decades to come. We must make urgent, radical changes to how and what we do as individuals, communities and businesses. Changes that have the potential to not only address our climate challenges, but also have wider positive effects, such as reducing the health impacts of transport, restoring and regenerating our urban and rural natural environments, ensuring more affordable and reliable electricity and water for all Aucklanders. 

But to get there we must all act. And fast. 

In 2019, we consulted with Aucklanders on a framework to help our city prepare for a climate-safe future. In July 2020, following the review and integration of a wide range of insights and inputs from Aucklanders, this framework was unanimously adopted as Te Tāruke-ā-Tāwhiri: Auckland's Climate Plan by the council's Environment and Climate Change Committee. In early December 2020 a fully digitised version of the plan will be launched. 

But what does this plan mean for Auckland's future? What direction does the plan provide to help reduce Auckland's fossil fuel dependence and become more climate-ready?

While people are taking personal responsibility for reducing emissions and making lifestyle changes, systems and structures set decades ago are still playing out. Incremental change will not be sufficient. The time for action is now. We need major shifts and structural changes in a range of areas, such as how Auckland grows and develops, how we get around and how we power our homes and businesses. A challenge this significant requires all sectors and individuals who helped to develop the plan - and many more - to help us deliver it. 

Alec Tang

Chief Sustainability Officer, Auckland Council

Alec Tang is Auckland Council’s Acting Chief Sustainability Officer and leads a team focussed on creating a more sustainable, resilient and equitable Auckland. The Chief Sustainability Office works across Auckland Council’s diverse operations and alongside Auckland’s mana whenua, mataawaka, communities and businesses to deliver the system shifts required for this future, from infrastructure provision and service delivery through to funding and decision making. Most recently, the office has been focused on the development and implementation of Te Tāruke-ā-Tāwhiri: Auckland’s Climate Plan which sets a path for rapid decarbonisation, in line with the region’s 1.5°C commitment, whilst also preparing the region for the impacts of climate change. Alec is a Fellow of the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment as well as a Chartered Environmentalist and has enjoyed a diverse career focussed on the delivery of sustainable solutions across business, academia and the public sector. 

Olivia Yates


Olivia is a Pākehā researcher and activist working towards climate justice. She is currently completing her PhD in Psychology at the University of Auckland, working alongside the Tuvaluan and Kiribati communities in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland to understand the implications of climate-related migration to Aotearoa. Her research is action-based, using research as a tool to work towards a just policy response to climate change. She is a member of the World Universities Network consortium on Climate-Induced Migration and was the recipient of the NZPsS Postgraduate Social Justice Award. Outside of academia, Olivia supports justice initiatives which – like all social issues – intersect with climate change. Olivia has worked for Generation Zero, a youth-led climate action organisation, is a member of Women4Climate, C40 Cities’ women-led climate mentorship programme, and is a member of Be the Bridge, a faith-based racial justice organisation. She lives with a community in Māngere Bridge who support community-led projects

Rachel Brown

Chief Executive Officer, Sustainable Business Network

The founder of Sustainable Business Network (SBN), Rachel has played a critical role in advancing sustainable business for almost 20 years. She is a regular presenter, collaborator and driver of action within New Zealand business. She provides strategic sustainability advice to countless government agencies and businesses, ranging from large corporates to small enterprises. In 2018 she was awarded the New Zealand Order of Merit for years of service to sustainable business. Rachel currently sits on the Jobs for Nature Advisory Panel and the National Waste and Resource Advisory Group. SBN is currently driving 3 major system change projects: Climate Action, Go Circular and Restoring Water. 

Johnnie Freeland

Ngāti Te Ata Waiohua, Ngai Tuhoe

Johnnie belongs to Ngāti Te Ata Waiohua, one of the kaitiaki iwi of Tāmaki Makaurau/ Auckland and Ngai Tuhoe and brings together more than 30 years’ experience of serving community and in guiding and navigating a range of Iwi, Māori community and public sector organisations in working to achieve better outcomes with Māori.    Johnnie has helped navigate a whakapapa centred response to climate change within Tāmaki Makaurau, through the Mana Whenua Kaitiaki Forum.  In partnering with the Auckland Council, together they are looking to harness the benefits of drawing on mātauranga Māori knowledge and western science to navigate a way forward for Auckland through Te Tāruke-ā-Tāwhiri Auckland’s Climate Plan.As Te Waiohua Programme Lead, he is also working with the Te Waiohua Iwi Chairs of Te Ākitai, Ngāti Tāmaoho and Ngāti Te Ata, in leading and underpinning Te Whakaoratanga I te Puhinui - Puhinui Regeneration programme alongside Auckland Council, Manurewa and Ōtara Papatoetoe Local Boards, Eke Pānuku and Kainga Ora, focused on regenerating the ecological, social, cultural and economic well-being of the Puhinui stream and its communities.

Councillor Richard Hills

North Shore Ward, Auckland Council

Councillor Richard Hills was elected from the North Shore ward in 2016.  He is the youngest current Auckland councillor and the second youngest in Auckland Council history. Cr Hills is also Auckland Council’s first rainbow councillor.As a councillor, Cr Hills is passionate around alternate modes of transport, including SkyPath and rail to the shore. He is a big advocate of public and active transport.  Cr Hills is Deputy Chair of Council’s Planning Committee, one of three committees of the whole, with the largest remit. Among others, the Planning Committee has responsibility for Auckland’s transport, infrastructure, spatial planning, water and regeneration.Prior to election as a councillor, Cr Hills spent two terms as a member of the Kaipātiki Local Board, first in 2010, with re-election in 2013. An advocate for active and public transport, Cr Halls secured the development of the Beach Haven ferry terminal and the introduction of double decker buses on Onewa Road to assist with growing demand.Before elected office, Cr Hills was a youth worker, employed across health boards in Auckland. His work focused on promoting positive health and wellbeing, positive sexual health and suicide prevention.

Rod Oram

Business Journalist

Business journalist Rod Oram contributes weekly to Newsroom, Nine to Noon, and Newstalk ZB. He is a public speaker on deep sustainability, business, economics, and innovation. Rod is a member of the Edmund Hillary Fellowship, which brings together people from here and abroad who seek to contribute to global change from Aotearoa.In Citigroup’s annual global journalism awards, Rod was the winner in 2019 in the General Business category in the Australia and NZ region for his columns in Newsroom on Fonterra; and he was the NZ Journalist of the year.In the New Zealand Shareholders’ Association Business Journalism Awards, Rod won the Business Commentary category in 2018 and 2020 for his Newsroom columns.Rod was a founding trustee and the second chairman of Ākina Foundation, which helps social enterprises develop their business models in areas of sustainability. He remains actively involved with the foundation and the ventures it supports.In 2016, Bridget Williams Books published Rod’s most recent book, Three Cities: Seeking Hope in the Anthropocene, details at

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