Northland Growth Study highlights importance of climate-resilient economic development

The Green Party is pleased to see the impacts of climate change taken into account in the Tai Tokerau Northland Growth Study Opportunities Report, released today.

“It’s great to see that the authors of this report are thinking about climate resilience in regions like Northland that are likely to experience increased droughts and floods due to climate change,” Green Party economic development spokesperson James Shaw said.

“I hope the Government acts on the report’s findings that droughts and floods will increase and that ‘improving resilience’ is important for Northland’s wellbeing.”

The report states that Northland has experienced droughts or floods in three of the last four years, and that ‘climate change is expected to increase the frequency of these weather events in Northland.’

It finds that much of Northland’s soil is either too sandy to retain moisture, peat-based and therefore prone to becoming too wet, or too dry, for resource-efficient farming. This is a ‘cause for concern’, the report finds, particularly because ‘the topography of Northland does not allow for large-scale storage or irrigation schemes’. Because some water catchments are ‘nearing, or over estimated maximum allocation limits’, alternative and sustainable economic development opportunities are needed.

“The report’s emphasis on investing in education and training, protecting Northland’s natural beauty and leveraging it for tourism, smarter and cleaner farming, high-tech and high-value manufacturing, and adding value to timber products rather than exporting them as raw logs is commendable,” said Mr Shaw.

“Inequality, unemployment, and child poverty are very real concerns in Northland. In light of the climactic impacts on Northland’s environment, it’s smart that the study identifies the environmental limits on agricultural development and finds opportunities for sustainable economic development that aren’t just based around dairy intensification and oil drilling.”

“I urge the Government to support this kind of sustainable and climate-resilient approach to economic development in Northland.”