Council Staffer on Climate Trip to Kansas

26 August 2011

Wellington City Council Infrastructure Planning Engineer Nicci Wood has been selected to represent New Zealand on an exchange fellowship to the United States on climate change and community sustainability.

The fellowship involves a four-week exchange, starting in September, to the city of Mission - within the metropolitan area of Kansas City. It is run through the New Zealand Society of Local Government Managers (SOLGM) and the International City / County Management Association (ICMA) - the society's sister organisation in the US.

Miss Wood will study the current introduction of an enhanced bus service on main transit corridors to better serve the communities of Mission - a city that has earned a reputation for environmentally-sustainable initiatives. 

City Council Chief Executive Garry Poole says Miss Wood's involvement in this programme is invaluable to future decisions that Wellington City needs to make around climate-change adaptation and risk management.

Miss Wood is one of six New Zealanders chosen for the exchange programme. "It is a wonderful opportunity for Nicci to be chosen as an ambassador for Wellington," says Mr Poole. "Wellington City has been at the forefront of climate change in New Zealand, with the development of a Climate Change Action Plan and work to make the city's infrastructure more resilient against the expected effects of climate change."

The exchange programme, funded by the US State Department, allows local government officers who are committed to advancing sustainability and climate change activities within their local authorities and communities to study the same issues and responses in the US.

Miss Wood's experience at Wellington City Council is varied and includes:

  •  promotion of and the use of green infrastructure for stormwater management
  • ecosystem protection and land development
  • policy and planning for climate change adaptation,including sea level rise.

The State Department funding enables ICMA to undertake an international exchange programme with four countries: Australia, China, Indonesia and New Zealand.

New Zealand will host up to four US fellows, who will spend time with community groups and government officials, and participate in short-term internships.  

Miss Wood will travel alongside Blair Dickie from Waikato Regional Council and Paul Chambers from Auckland City. Both will spend time looking at sustainable energy projects in Palo Alto, California.

Dale Meredith from Otago Regional Council, Mark Clews from Hastings District Council and Geoff Wilkinson from Palmerston North City Council were in the first round of the international exchange in April this year.