Greenhouse gas emissions dropped in 11 of New Zealand's 16 regions last year

Greenhouse gas emissions dropped in 11 of New Zealand's 16 regions in 2022, newly released data shows. 

The figures, which were published by Stats NZ on Tuesday, revealed Waikato had the biggest drop between 2021 and 2022, down 2069 kilotonnes (13 percent). 

This was followed by Northland, down 540 kilotonnes (13 percent), and Manawatū-Whanganui, down 271 kilotonnes (4.8 percent).

Between 2021 and 2022, emissions in the Waikato region from electricity, gas, water, and waste services decreased 1760 kilotonnes (39 percent), while emissions from agriculture, forestry, and fishing fell by 277 kilotonnes (3.5 percent).

Stats NZ environmental-economic accounts manager Stephen Oakley said the drop in Waikato was largely due to less coal being used to generate electricity. 

"The reduction in industrial emissions from Waikato accounted for just over 70 percent of the total decrease in industrial emissions in 2022," Oakley said.

In 2022, Northland's emissions decrease was driven by manufacturing, down 498 kilotonnes (33 percent), largely due to oil refining in the area stopping. Emissions from agriculture, forestry, and fishing were also down 38 kilotonnes (2.0 percent).

The regions with the largest increases in emissions were:

  • Taranaki, up 171 kilotonnes (3.4 percent)
  • West Coast, up 100 kilotonnes (9.8 percent)
  • Hawke's Bay, up 33 kilotonnes (1.0 percent).

Taranaki's increase was driven by mining, up 201 kilotonnes (33 percent), due to increased oil and gas production. This follows a decrease in the previous year, which was driven by a large decrease in emissions from the region's electricity, gas, water, and waste services industries.

Household emissions decrease in most regions

Household emissions are also down in 10 out of 16 regions, driven by falling transport emissions. 

In 2022, household emissions accounted for approximately 12 percent of New Zealand's total emissions, with the remainder coming from industry. Total household emissions across all regions decreased by only 2.7 kilotonnes (0.03 percent) in 2022. 

Waikato had the largest increase in household emissions, up 63 kilotonnes (5.5 percent), largely due to an increase in household transport, which made up 91 percent of its household emissions last year. 

The largest decreases in household emissions came from:

  • Auckland, down 23 kilotonnes (0.9 percent)
  • Manawatū-Whanganui, down 21 kilotonnes (4.5 percent)
  • Taranaki, down 14 kilotonnes (6.6 percent).

"In 2022, other factors that may have influenced changes to household emissions include shifts in everyday behaviour resulting from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the impact of fuel and public transport subsidies, and evolving trends in working from home," Oakley said.