​​​​​​​​​The Sustainability Principles

Hamilton City Council committed to embed 11 sustainability principles in July 2016In December 2015 Council undertook a sustainability stocktake that presented the breadth and depth of actions that support sustainability undertaken at Hamilton City Council.

Council resolved on 19 July 2016 to adopt a set of Sustainability Principles that would underpin how sustainability is considered in the Council's decision making and operations.  

The principles are that Council:

  1. includes environmental, economic, social, and cultural considerations in its decision-making criteria.
  2. ​uses its position as a city leader to educate and influence the wider Hamilton community to embrace sustainability.​
  3. anticipates and acts to prevent or mitigate environmental degradation where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage.
  4. works with central government to deliver on national greenhouse gas emission reduction targets and supports resilience to climate change in our communities.
  5. promotes walking, cycling, public transport and other low carbon transport options.
  6. works to improve the resource efficiency and health of homes, businesses and infrastructure in our city.
  7. supports the use of renewable energy and uptake of electric vehicles.
  8. ensures that it understands, prepares for and responds to the impacts of climate change.
  9. is an integral part of regional efforts to restore and protect the water quality of waterways.
  10. works with its communities to minimise the production of waste and maximise opportunities to recycle.
  11. is an integral part of regional efforts to restore and protect biodiversity in Hamilton City.​

These principles are intended to guide Council to help deliver a sustainable Hamilton through its role as:

  • A regional leader
  • A provider of regulatory and planning functions
  • A provider of city infrastructure
  • A provider of public services
  • A good corporate citizen

The annual stocktake of sustainab​ility actions

Council committed to embed the principles into the operation of Hamilton City Council and to produce an annual sustainability stocktake to outline the actions being undertaken to support the principles.  Many of the actions are delivered in partnership with key stakeholders and the community.

The actions are also associated to one of the sustainability elements below.  The focus of Council in addressing this element is stated.

​​Climate change​

​Reduce emissions from burning fossil fuels

Prepare Hamilton for the impact of climate change


More efficient use of energy through efficient sub-divisions and buildings

Replacing energy from fossil fuels with energy from renewable sources


Address carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles

Greater focus on alternative transport options

​Land use

Focus on densification strategies that support minimises distances for infrastructure and encourages alternative transport modes


Focus on the protection and restoration of Hamilton's native biodiversity


Management of Hamilton's rivers, streams, wetlands, gullies and other water resources to protect water quality against the impact of pollution


Focus on reducing waste, promoting recycling and reducing leachates, heavy metals and emission of greenhouse gases.

Sustainability Stoc​ktake

Principle 1:
Council includes environmental, eco
nomic, social, and cultural considerations in its decision-making criteria

To ensure that the Sustainability Principles are embedded into the business of Council key decision making processes where sustainability should be considered have been identified.

Actions that support Sustainability Principle 1

Decision Making Pro​cessAction

Activity Management Plans

The Activity Management Plans (AMPs) inform the 10-Year Plan and
Infrastructure Strategy Plan. The templates for AMPs ask report writers
whether the particular service:
  • Has an impact that may cause environmental degradation?How is this impact managed or mitigated?
  • Promotes the use of low carbon transport options (walking, cycling, public transport)?
  • Improves resource efficiency? (lower energy use, use of renewable energy)?
  • Responds to the impact of climate change (manage flooding, greenhouse gas emissions)?
  • Restores or protects the water quality in waterways or does the service manage flow into waterways (stormwater)?
  • Minimises waste production and promotes recycling?
  • Restores or protects biodiversity in Hamilton (plants, animals)?
  • These questions are intended to prompt consideration of the 11 Sustainability Principles and how the activity contributes to these principles. The 2018-48 AMPs include this content.
  • Activity Management Plan development considers the Waikato-Tainui Environmental Plan objectives and policies and the review and consenting of water-related activities also seeks cultural input from Iwi and Mana Whenua.​

Business Cases

The Business Case template is currently being reviewed and a sustainability section will be included in the new format.


The Procurement Manual contains guidelines covering both environmentally sustainable procurement and the local impact of any procurement decision on the community.

Sustainable procurement guidelines include reviewing opportunities for recycle or reuse, minimising packaging, biodegradable products, efficient use of energy and water, use of environmentally-friendly products, use of durable or repairable products, and use of high performing or longer life products.

In addition, Council use the ‘Sustainability Criteria’, which is a non-priced attributed that has a minimum 2.5 percent weighting for any procurement over $100,000 in value. The ‘Sustainability Criteria’ look at any environmental accreditations the tenderer may have, any environmental or sustainability awards, the organisation’s environmental or sustainability policy and philosophy and how that would be applied to the relevant contract.​

Council Reports

​Council’s reporting template was reviewed in May 2017 and now includes a ‘Sustainability Considerations’ section. Although this section is optional, authors must consider, for decision-making reports, whether any option and/or recommendation impacts positively or adversely on the:

  • Quality of the environment; or
  • Foreseeable needs of future generations living in Hamilton.

Report writers also need to consider how the issues/project(s) addressed in the report support the 11 Sustainability Principles.​

Principle 2:  
Council uses its position as a city leader to educate and influence the wider Hamilton community to embrace sustainability

Council seeks to engage and influence stakeholders' behaviour through a range of programmes.  

Actions that support Sustainability Principle 2

Council Role/Element​Action

Climate change

Council provides annual funding of $30,000 towards Enviroschools (Toimata). This programme supports children and young people to plan, design and implement sustainability actions.

A strategy is being developed to make Hamilton Gardens carbon neutral by 2030, including indirect carbon offsets.​


The Community Volunteer Coordinator role at Council supports community planting programmes by providing education about planting with local schools, community volunteer groups, businesses and residents, coordinates funds towards planting projects, provides restoration advice for park areas (not private land) and supplies plants for volunteers to plant in parks and reserves (not private land).

Council supplies the plants and coordinates an annual planting day (Arbor Day) at Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage Park. The long-term aim of Waiwhakareke is to reconstruct the natural forest, wetland and lake ecosystems present in pre-European times. An estimated 310,000 individual plants have been planted over the 14 years of Arbor Day, with some specimens now up to five metres in height.

In 2016, 1,500 volunteers planted 20,000 plants. Arbor Day 2017 saw 12,000 native ecologically sourced plants planted at Waiwhakareke. For Arbor Day 2018, 17,600 native plants were planted on 1 June by over 1,600 people, with the theme being “Wetlands are Cool”. 

Hamilton Zoo delivers multiple Zookeeper talks per day and has an educational department that focuses on educating people about animal and environmental conservation. Supporting educational material on animal and environmental conservation is also available at 

Council acknowledges biodiversity in its catchment management planning.

Integrative Catchment Management Plans interpret catchment requirements, including the protection and enhancement of biodiversity and are required to be implemented by developers.​


Council is part of the Smart Water Programme, which is an initiative with Waikato District and Waipa District Councils’ Shared Services that aims to change the way people think about and use water. Council runs presummer awareness communication through media releases, radio advertising and the Smart Water website

Council supports the Smart Water Education in Schools Programme, which aims to increase water literacy in young people.

Smart Water Starts with You! is a fun and interactive resource for teachers of year 5-8 students. The programme is used to teach students where their water comes from, why it is one of our most important resources and how to use it smarter.


Information is available to property owners about their stormwater responsibilities to ensure environmental protection, flood hazard mitigation and prevention of the discharge of inhibitory/toxic/dangerous substances into the wastewater network.​


A Sustainability Club for Council staff was formed in February 2018 to improve Council’s internal environmental sustainability and to promote to staff what the organisation does sustainability-wise externally i.e. to ‘practice what we preach’. Setting and actioning some ‘stretch goals’ will help to move the organisation towards a more sustainable direction.

The Club emphasises the ‘bottom-up’ approach to harness staff enthusiasm to drive initiatives that are meaningful to them and in turn, provide sustained initiatives. Issues being addressed by the Sustainability Club include waste, recycling, water consumption, transport, energy usage and CO2e emissions. The Club also arranges lunchtime talks, events and activities for staff to attend on various sustainability issues.​

Principle 3:
Council anticipates and acts to prevent or mitigate environmental degradation where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage

Council has a responsibility to protect the environment from any negative impacts that could result from its operations and development of the city. The Council fulfils this responsibility by the management of air discharges, stormwater, wastewater, tradewaste discharges and through the protection of biodiversity.

Actions that support Sustainability Principle 3

Council Role/ElementAction

Climate change

Council provides emergency response to local flooding and spill events.Council has a fully functioning and trained emergency response capability that can respond to flooding or spill events. Flooding is identified as being an ‘emergency’ within the Civil Defence Emergency Management Act 2002. Adverse effects of climate change also fall within the definition of an ‘emergency’.​

Land Use​

The District Plan is one of the main tools for the sustainable land management of Hamilton and encourages densification, which supports sustainability through:

  • Minimising distances for water, waste and energy infrastructure.
  • Encouraging less use of cars, in favour of walking, cycling and using public transport.
  • Protecting the productive capacity of agricultural land.
  • Conserving native biodiversity in Hamilton.

Large scale subdivision and development proposals are required to develop Integrated Catchment Management Plans (ICMPs) and Water Impact Assessments (WIAs) and to undertake development in accordance with approved plans and assessments. These plans and assessments detail how three waters are to be managed, including water-sensitive techniques. This is then used to determine what land requires protection, and what environmental mitigation options are appropriate. ICMPs also provide the basis for renewal and capital programmes that will prevent environmental degradation.

Hamilton Park Cemetery complies with its air discharge consent and the requirement for five-yearly monitoring of mercury in the soil around the crematorium and in the water at the unnamed tributary of the Mangaone stream. Council continues to carry out the required environmental testing and reporting to the Waikato Regional Council.

Council supports the development of various Master Plans, which take into account environmental factors.

From 1920 to 2008, Council provided landfills for the city’s use at Rototuna, Cobham Drive, Willoughby and Horotiu. Although these landfills are now closed, Counicl continues to manage these sites for leachate and gas discharges in line with the resource consents for the sites.​


Council has various procedures in place for vegetation and tree removal to avoid damage to habitats, to protect riverbank stability and reduce erosion.

Council manages pest and predator control through various pest plant management programmes.

As part of the Southern Links developments, an ecological monitoring plan was developed to address impacts on native birds, fish and animals (specifically bats) and to restore natural habitats.

A major archaeological survey has been undertaken at the eastern end of Hamilton Gardens as part of the Wairere Drive extension.​


The city’s wastewater network is continually monitored, and any overflows recorded.

Council reviews its contingency plans for managing unplanned events that could have a significant negative effect on the environment.

An Inflow and Infiltration improvement programme is being undertaken to assist in network management.​

Council continues to operate a Stormwater Bylaw and the Wastewater and Trade Waste Bylaws that provide guidance on discharges and enables Council to enforce the rules in relation to discharges.

Council carries out monitoring in accordance with a citywide monitoring plan and also undertakes ICMP assessments to ensure that its three waters activities are managed to avoid environmental degradation.

Principle 4:
Council works with central government to deliver on national greenhouse gas emission reduction targets and supports resilience to climate change in our communities

There are a number of areas the Council can directly influence and support central government to deliver on national emission reduction targets. These are:

  • Encouraging use of energy efficient lighting
  • Encouraging use of public transport
  • Encouraging use of alternative emission free transport – cycling, walking
  • Encouraging a walkable city to reduce emissions
  • Improved and landfill management practices
  • Methane recovery – Wastewater Treatment Plant
  • Planting and restoration to create carbon sinks
  • Reducing the amount of solid waste disposed on land
  • Reducing emissions from industrial and domestic wastewater handling

The impact on climate change is a result of actions delivered under the other sustainability principles.​

​Actions that support Sustainability Principle 4

Counc​il Role/ElementAction

Climate c​hange

Replacement of Hamilton’s streetlights with new energy efficient LED lanterns is underway. The NZ Transport Agency is funding $4.7 million of the $5.7 million cost of the first two stages of the project i.e. Melville and Glenview. These two stages are anticipated to be completed by the end of 2018, resulting in 13,000 streetlights being replaced and a 50 percent reduction in the energy usage over standard streetlights.

Council’s contribution will pay for itself in the next few years through significant cost savings in lower maintenance and power consumption, estimated at around $250,000 annually. The remaining ten stages of the project (including replacement of decorative and verandah lighting with LEDs) is still subject to funding approval. Council gave careful consideration to the type and colour of the new LED lights due to increasing evidence that white light at night can have an environmental effect on insects and bats, while also having the potential to affect the day/night cycles of mammals i.e. the 'circadian rhythm'. The 'warm white' colour of the LED light selected, which looks slightly yellow in colour, has a lower environmental impact. LED lighting also provides a better quality of light and colour contrast, resulting in increased road user visibility and road safety.

Waste minimisation is also a priority and specialised recyclers will ensure disposal of the old lights has no impact on landfill. Aluminum components are recycled into ingots for foundry applications, while the glass is separated and recycled into glass wool for home insulation.​

Principle 5:
Council promotes walking, cycling, public transport and other low carbon transport options

Council works with the community and stakeholders to raise awareness of travel options and influences travel behaviour through plans, strategies and educational initiatives. Both Access Hamilton and the Biking Plan support alternative transport routes.

Actions that support Sustainability Principle 5

Counc​il Role/ElementAction


Council is a partner/stakeholder in the national Smart Travel carpooling website , a platform which allows commuters to match their travel plans with other people who are travelling to save time, money and reduce congestion. Due to technical and usability issues with the current platform, the national group is looking at potential replacements and the app has not so far been strongly promoted.

Council promotes the following programmes:

  • ​Love Your Bike Day, an annual cycling promotion event.
  • Cycle Safety Campaigns i.e. various programmes run by the Road Safety Coordinator.
  • Bike Hamilton - summer biking campaign.

Council contributes to the national cycle skills training framework development.

Council supports the Happy Feet Programme in preschools (targeting 3 to 5-year old children) that encourages caregivers to park and walk a short distance (the last 2 to 5 minutes of the journey) to the preschool, through the provision of resources, safe route maps and support for events.

The Happy Feet programme aims to:

  • Promote 'active trips' to preschool as a safe, healthy and enjoyable transport option.
  • Help shape a healthier active future generation.
  • Raise an early awareness of the Walking School Bus programme.
  • Ease congestion at preschool gates.
  • Improve safety on the roads.
  • Assist in reducing air pollution.

There are currently 24 centres participating in the programme.

Refer the Happy Feet Programme website link

Council supports walking school buses with resources, safe route maps and support for volunteers. Thirteen buses are currently in operation.

Council has a Primary School Active Travel Co-Ordinator role supporting schools that promote active travel options.

Council has partnered with the NZ Transport Agency and the Waikato Regional Council to provide a collaborative approach to transport network management in Hamilton. The focus is to provide proactive management of the transport network, coordinate planned and unplanned events and incidents, provide better information to travelers, and optimise the network for sustainable multi-modal use.

As part of this process, a co-located operations room was established in the new Genesis Building on Bryce Street with City Safe and Civil Defence. This facility is only used by Council’s Transportation Unit for major events on the transportation network e.g. it was used during the recent SH1 closure of Kahikatea Drive, where staff coordinated traffic management, communications, detour routes, optimisation of traffic signals etc. It also coordinated updates to the public via social media and ATOC (Auckland Transport Operations Centre).

Such activities will reduce congestion and vehicle emissions, promote sustainable transport options such as walking and cycling, and promote low carbon transport modes such as electric vehicles.

Council supports Government’s intention to progress work and provide substantial funding (around $75 million) towards a proposed start-up rail service between Hamilton and Auckland.

As part of its commitment to support the service, Council has made land purchases (around $6 million) in close proximity to ‘The Base’ retail complex to provide a rail station and a future park and ride facility.

Government funding is dependent on approval of a Strategic Business Case and a Detailed Business Case. The indicative start date for the rail service is September 2019.

The $7 million Western Rail Trail Cycleway was opened in April 2017 and is now an integral part of Hamilton’s 150km biking network. The 2.7km off-road shared path connects the south-western suburbs of Hamilton with the city centre, using the rail corridor and is one of the key projects in Hamilton’s Biking Plan. Almost 40,000 journeys were recorded in the first three months of opening. The Trail won the ‘Big Bike Bling’ Award at the 2017 ‘Bike to the Future’ awards.

The $1.8 million Hamilton Gardens underpass connecting through to Hamilton East was opened in October 2017 and has markedly improved pedestrian and cycle access in this vicinity.

Public transport facilities such as bus stops and shelters, accessible platforms, and bus priority at traffic signals are provided by Council to promote and facilitate public transport as a sustainable mode of travel.

Solar bus stop lights are currently being trialed.

The initiative known as ‘Smart Hamilton’ is underway to leverage innovation, technology and insight to serve our community by making Hamilton more liveable, optimise resources and create sustainable economic growth. Projects that form the programme include smart parking initiatives, electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, (EV charging is free at the Caro Street carpark, next to the municipal building) and online services to make it easier to do business with Council.

Council promotes Electric Vehicle (EV) uptake by enabling the rollout of fast charging stations, signage and promotion of events. A public website is also being developed to assist in the ongoing uptake and information provision about EVs.

In association with Council’s electricity supplier Contact Energy, Council trialed two EVs over a month commencing 16 March 2018. While there are currently no plans for Council to purchase EVs, the trial allowed Council to understand the practical considerations of operating EVs and provided staff the opportunity to 'get behind the wheel' of this new technology.

Council provides staff with two bike sheds (located in the underground carpark - one on the upper level and one on the lower level). Bike stands are also provided at Council’s public buildings e.g. the main municipal building, WaterWorld, libraries etc.

Five electric bikes and two kick scooters are available for staff to use for work-related trips/off-site meetings.

Hamilton Zoo has implemented practices that reduce the use of vehicles for collection of vegetation for animal feed. In addition, there are three different sites across the Zoo that are planted with “browse-able” trees i.e. being “browse-able” means that the trees aren’t toxic to animals.​

Land Use

The Hamilton Urban Growth Strategy promotes sustainable city development through a balance of greenfield and brownfield development. The target is 50% brownfield growth and is Council has achieved 48% over the last 10 years.

The Hamilton Urban Growth Strategy (HUGS) promotes sustainable city development through a balance of ‘greenfield’ and ‘infill’ development, with the target being 50 percent infill growth. HUGS has achieved 49 percent infill development between 2007 and 2018 (years ended June).

New developments are required to provide an Integrated Transport Impact Assessment as part of the consent process. These assessments show how particular developments affect the transport network.​

Principle 6:
Council works to improve the resource efficiency and health of homes, businesses and infrastructure in our city

Council uses a range of regulatory and educational tools to promote resource efficiency across the city.  Within its own facilities, Council has implemented an energy management programme and water demand programme to reduce water loss.

Actions that support Sustainability Principle 6

Council Role/ElementAction

Climate change

Council, through its Eco Design Advisor (EDA), provides a free service to any Hamilton resident by providing advice to help people improve the thermal performance of their building.

The EDA also consults on water, waste and toxicity issues in buildings. A secondary role is to provide education to the public and industry through workshops on the following topics:

  • Energy reduction.
  • Thermal performance of homes.
  • Water, wastewater and stormwater.
  • Waste reduction.
  • Health and toxicity.
  • Green technologies e.g. the EDA is on the organising group of the New Zealand Green Building Council. Three events were held in Hamilton in 2017, with a further three planned for 2018.

The EDA completed 485 customer interactions (in-home consultations) and held 49 Eco-workshops between January 2017 and June 2018.

Council does not charge consent fees for solar panel installations.

The increasing use of e-Resources at the Libraries reduces the carbon cost and environmental impact of physical book production, distribution and disposal. Libraries now has a target of purchasing 30 percent of its collection in electronic format by 2020 and are well on their way to achieving this. The Central Library’s temporary closure in November 2017 impacted the ability to monitor energy savings over the past year. Prior to the closure, Libraries was experiencing ongoing savings.​


Council continues to implement its in-house Energy Management Programme, which has been in place since 2001. The programme focuses on Council's largest energy users and has resulted in millions of kilowatt hours of energy saved. Key focuses are monitoring and reporting of energy performance, selection of major energy using plant based on life cycle analysis and use of lower carbon energy sources where possible.

The in-house Energy Management Programme will be updated in 2018/19 to include a Carbon Emissions Reduction Programme.

Council included energy efficiency in building design when carrying out seismic upgrades at the Water and Wastewater Treatment Stations. This involved occupancy sensor technology and changes in building fabric to minimise heat loss.

City Waters successfully trialed a type of wastewater pump that is ‘smart’ and uses less electricity. The pump also reverses to reduce/clear blockages, which has saved staff callouts. After the successful trial, this type of pump was installed at another troublesome site. The primary benefit is clearing rags from the impellor to reduce callouts due to blockages, with energy efficiency a secondary benefit.

As part of the upgrade of the Ruakiwi, Dinsdale and Hamilton South reservoir sites, ‘solatubes’ were installed for daytime lighting in the roof design of each building to reduce energy usage.

Significant opportunity remains to improve energy efficiency in large buildings owned by Council by shifting to demand responsive control systems and utilising cloud-based analytics to detect malfunctions of building systems and processes at an early stage. The Building Management System Strategy is being updated to realise these benefits.

Achievements in 2017 include better detection of malfunctioning building systems, business case approval of the city-wide LED streetlight upgrade, improved utilisation of biogas at the Wastewater Treatment Plant (displacing carbon rich natural gas), and specification of demand control for lighting and air-conditioning in the municipal office building, with a pilot trial completed in June 2018.

As at July 2018, annual energy management savings were 6,893,000kWh, avoiding an estimated $493,500 per annum in energy costs. This is referenced to a 2011/12 baseline. Two of the key contributors are:

  • The use of bio-gas at the wastewater treatment plant to displace natural gas for heating.
  • The partial upgrade of the city’s streetlights to LED luminaires.​


Council partners with the NZ Transport Agency to align major roads (e.g. the Hamilton Ring Road and Waikato Expressway) to ensure they are designed to efficiently manage road traffic and minimise environmental impact.

Council uses GPS in its fleet cars to encourage/assist with fuel economy and emissions.

Monitoring of fuel use and gas emissions has improved significantly due to improved reporting by the new third-party fleet management contract with Fleetpartners/Fleetsmart.

Reports provide a number of comparisons of fuel consumption/gas emissions between the four participating local councils as part of the Waikato Local Authority Shared Services (WLASS) Joint Fleet initiative.

Also included is a comparison with Fleetpartners national fleet averages by vehicle types and is intended to enable identification of excessive fuel use.

The average fuel use by Council's car and utility fleet for the year ended June 2018 was 9.98 litres per 100km, against a target of 10 litres/100km. The average fuel use by Council's light truck fleet for the year ended June 2018 was 26.7 litres per 100km. Improvements in vehicle fuel efficiency and the ongoing turnover of older vehicles should see continued improvements in average fuel usage.​

Land Use

All burial plots dug to depth to allow two casket burials and four ash interments to encourage more efficient usage of available land.


Hamilton Gardens provides an environmental educational resource through the Sustainable Backyard Garden.

All maintenance yard food scraps at Hamilton Gardens are composted in the Sustainable Backyard Garden worm bin. Kitchen waste from local restaurants is used in the Sustainable Backyard Garden and shredded paper is used in the chicken coop and then used as garden mulch.​


The District Plan promotes efficient use of water through rules which require the incorporation of water efficient measures such as low flow fittings for new developments and the use of non-potable water. 

Council adopted Hamilton’s second Waste Management and Minimisation Plan in April 2018, which includes a key focus on education and improving the kerbside rubbish and recycling service. This will comprise introduction of a new kerbside collection service to Hamilton homes (in July 2020) and the ability to recycle plastics 3-7, alongside the 1-2 already collected. The new service includes four bins that will have colour coded lids i.e. a smaller red lidded bin for general rubbish (120 litre), a 240 litre yellow lidded bin for recyclables, a smaller lime green lidded bin for food scraps and the existing crate for glass.

Council funds waste reduction and minimisation programs for our community through the annual $50,000 contestable waste fund.​


The District Plan promotes efficient use of water through rules which require the incorporation of water efficiency measures such as low flow fittings for new developments and the use of non-potable water.

Regular reviews are undertaken of the water balance and benchmarking against other municipal suppliers. Council maintains population growth projections to assist with predicting associated water demand.

Council undertakes analysis of sector specific water use and appropriate demand management interventions.

A Smart Water Assessment Criteria and Certification Programme is undertaken to encourage water efficiency at commercial and residential developments.

Water restrictions Level 1 - 4 are applied to manage water consumption and educate the public on water use.

Council undertakes a Mains Renewal Programme to maintain the infrastructure in good condition and mitigate potential water losses in the network.

The Cemeteries bore water system has now been upgraded to provide a more sustainable irrigation option for the cemetery.

Quality data is made available by Council to assist third parties to reduce risk of damage to the water, wastewater and stormwater network.

Council uses sector-specific consumption targets and key performance indicators to manage water use.

A Water Loss Programme is implemented across the water network to understand and manage network losses.

Ongoing measurements are undertaken to provide an understanding of current average and peak water usage.

Water conservation measures are in place for Turf Services at H3 sites - irrigation reduction and warm season grass type usage.

Over the next three years Hamilton Zoo will be working on developing a plan for the ongoing management of stormwater and ponds. A monitoring programme of nutrient and microbial contamination of the Zoo’s ponds will be a key component of this plan.

Council has progressed investigations into SMART water metering for existing commercial metered properties. This technology would provide the ability to better understand and manage water use as well as an opportunity to work collaboratively with high water users to minimise overall demand.

Council​ has a Water Master Plan which sets the direction for supply of water into the future. Part of the Water Master Plan involves zoning the water network to allow better ability to track leakage.​

Principle 7:
Council supports the use of renewable energy and uptake of electric vehicles

Council has initiatives that review the energy sources for its facilities. It is also working with partners to support infrastructure for the introduction of electric vehicles.

Electricity accounts for 68 percent of Council's energy, of which 81 percent is generated from renewable energy i.e. New Zealand’s electricity generation profile was 81% renewable for that year. Council’s remaining sources of energy supply are natural gas (26 percent) and fuel (6 percent). Collectively, this means that 55 percent of ’s energy is from renewable energy and 45 percent from non-renewable energy. In comparison, 52 percent of Council’s energy was from renewable energy in 2012.​

Actions that support Sustainability Principle 7

Council Role/Element​Action


A major initiative that supports renewable energy uptake is the use of biogas generated from the digestion process at the Wastewater Treatment Plant. The biogas is used in a gas boiler and displaces natural gas that would otherwise be required. It can provide up to 95 percent of the site’s heating requirements when biogas is in good supply. In addition, heat is recovered from the site’s gas engine jacket water to further support heating requirements at site. Council  has also progressed an Optimisation and Efficiency Strategy at the Pukete Wastewater Treatment Plant to explore options in maximising renewable energy production onsite as well as exploring options to minimise energy consumption onsite.

The $10.7m refurbishment of the Waterworld Aquatic Centre that commenced in February 2018 will utilise electric heat pumps to control air temperature. This will displace the existing practice of hot water heating in the air heating circuits and in turn reduce natural gas usage by the boilers. Customers will see new heating, ventilation and air conditioning above the 25m, 50m and diving pools, new LED lighting above the 50m pool and new ceiling tiles.

Lights in the Hamilton Gardens Information Centre, foyer and offices have been replaced with lower energy LED lights.

Council trialed two electric vehicles (EVs) during March 2018. While this was primarily intended to assess the compatibility of electric and hybrid vehicles with Council driver expectations, it also enable Fleet Management to understand service-user reaction to the changed driving modes required with EVs.

Fleet Management has participated in a number of discussions with WLASS councils and fleet advisors and the general view (supported by vehicle suppliers) is that the opportune time to invest in pure EVs (rather than hybrid types) will occur around 2019-2020 when battery technology reaches a point where the vehicle cost equates to a conventional fuel vehicle.

A business case on EVs is to be carried out in 2018 to determine the best use of such vehicles in Council’s fleet.​


An Electronic Vehicle charging station was installed in the Caro Street carpark in conjunction with WEL Networks. Discussions are also underway to install EV charging stations at Hamilton Lake and Hamilton Gardens. It is also proposed to have one overarching Licence that covers all EV charging sites that are located on Council owned land.

Traffic Signal lanterns have been replaced with LED lights to reduce power consumption and reduce maintenance requirements.​

Principle 8:
Council ensures that it understands, prepares for and responds to the impacts of climate change

Climate change is a global phenomenon largely outside Hamilton's control. However, we must be aware of the implications of climate change on the city and prepare for the impacts of climate change events.

Actions that support Sustainability Principle 8

Council Role/ElementAction
Climate change

The District Plan addresses anticipated climate change impacts in Hamilton through flood hazard mapping. This mapping was based on detailed modelling that factored in climate change effects resulting from increased rainfall volumes and duration. Consideration of these matters during the resource consent process in relation to climate change adaption takes the form of identifying flood levels and overland flow paths and guiding development away from building areas that would be subject to frequent flooding.

Structure plans determine the pattern of growth and are designed to improve sustainability outcomes through the inclusion of items such as transport corridor general location and hierarchy, public reserves and links, areas for preservation, protection or restoration/enhancement, and development intensities for residential or other activities.

Council’s wastewater service is planning for climate change by exploring ways to manage the effects climate change will produce i.e. it is expected there will be an increase in the frequency of rainfall events, meaning we need to cater for the additional amount of stormwater that can enter into the wastewater network during such rain events.

Integrated Catchment Management Plans are required to deal with predicted climate change of warmer temperatures and greater rainfall.

Street tree species guidelines have been approved and include as a requirement that species selection of park and street trees now takes into account effects of climate change, particularly warmer summers.

Principle 9:
Council is an integral part of regional efforts to restore and protect the water quality of waterways

‘Healthy Rivers’ is a proposed Waikato Regional Plan change to give effect to the Vision and Strategy for the Waikato River and National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management. It aims to make water quality of the Waikato and Waipa rivers and their tributaries swimmable and safe for food collection over a period of 80 years and targets four contaminant types. Council ​is currently assessing implications of the proposed water quality targets and how the city will need to respond to these targets.

Contaminate discharges to Hamilton’s waterways must be managed to protect water quality and the waterway’s ecological functions.​​

Actions that support Sustainability Principle 9

Council Role/ElementAction


Continue to protect riparian areas through the requirement to have esplanade reserves and strips along the Waikato River and lakes as part of subdivision and development.

Programme of integrated catchment management plan development which includes assessment of stormwater contaminant loading and best practicable options for contaminant control.

Council regularly measures water quality in the Waikato River at 10 key points as it passes through the city. The water quality of Lake Rotoroa, Rotokaeo and Horseshoe Lake is also measured.

Water quality in city streams is also measured after an event where it is deemed that it may cause adverse effects on the environment.

On new development sites, Council promotes stormwater soakage to ground to minimise runoff into the river.

All treated water that enters the river from the wastewater network is managed to comply with resource consent conditions.

Leachate is pumped from the city’s closed landfills and is then treated at the Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Council continues to maintain, renew and retrofit operational storage to the wastewater network to ensure dry weather overflows do not occur.

Programmes of work to minimise wet weather overflows are also undertaken.

The wastewater network has operational storage to reduce the likelihood of overflows.

New stormwater ponds are designed to capture silt (and entrained heavy metals) to divert these materials away from waterways. In addition, the use of planted wetlands assists in reducing concentrations of nitrogen (nitrates) and phosphates, further enhancing water quality.

Council provides a wastewater system that is managed in a way that does not unduly impact on the environment by continuously improving asset condition assessment as well as predictive and preventative maintenance to ensure assets remain operational.

Emergency and response plans are in place to manage any overflow, restore the service, and clean up the environment.

Monitoring of the wastewater network and overflows are recorded and appropriate actions taken as required.

Actions that encourage restoration of gully systems support this filtering ability of Hamilton’s gullies and ultimately improves water quality in the streams that flow into the Waikato River. Council undertakes restoration of gully systems to minimise erosion and impacts of sediment on water quality.

Principle 10:
Council works with its communities to minimise the production of waste and maximise opportunities to recycle

Council has a statutory responsibility to promote effective and efficient waste minimisation. Waste and volumes may be reduced through better waste minimisation techniques, new technologies, and a greater understanding of what may be recycled, what may be reused and changing our waste behaviours.

Actions that support Sustainability Principle 10

Co​uncil Role/ElementAction


A Contestable Waste Minimisation Fund has been implemented and is now in its fifth year of operation. The Fund supports the vision and goals of the Waste Management and Minimisation Plan by promoting or achieving waste minimisation in Hamilton.

‘Fight the Landfill’ is Council’s waste minimisation brand and householder and community education programme. The programme aims to inform the city about the impact of what residents put out on the kerbside each week and how it’s affecting the environment. It promotes waste minimisation through kerbside recycling collection and resource recovery at the Transfer Station and the Hamilton Organic Centre.

Hamilton Park Cemetery entered into an agreement in 2015 with Speciality Metals Ltd in Christchurch to recycle remaining metals, with the consent of families. The payment for the recycling is donated to Canteen (which supports young people living with cancer).

Council is working with the site contractor to investigate how to increase the demand for the Hamilton Organic Centre products.

Sludge produced from the wastewater treatment process (approximately 12,000 tonnes per annum) is transported to a vermicomposting facility where it is mixed with paper pulp, which is then laid in rows where it is left to break down and compost using worms.

Regular servicing of aerated wastewater systems is used in areas at Hamilton Zoo not serviced by a sewer main to reduce contamination.

The Hamilton Zoo works with an external provider that composts their hoof stock animal waste. The Zoo also provides visitors with reused maps and encourages these to be returned at the end of their visit.

Libraries is extending their recycling practices to the public as well as staff areas, which commenced in 2018. This includes changing all bins to recycling bins (waste, paper, glass etc).

At the Museum, the sorting of plastic, glass and paper for recycling is active practice. The printing of brochures is kept at minimal levels, with visitors encouraged to return unwanted brochures at the end of their visit. Biodegradable stickers are now produced for paid-entry exhibitions, meaning that if customers drop their sticker on the footpath after leaving the Museum, the sticker dissolves once it rains.

There has been a shift to the use of eco-friendly products such as water-based paints in exhibition areas at the Museum.

The Hamilton Gardens Café is phasing out single use plastics such as straws, cutlery and moving to more sustainable options.

FMG Stadium Waikato sorts waste and recycles products at its events.

There is ongoing promotion of the reducing waste to landfill initiative for the municipal building through use of worm bins and recycling options. Currently the municipal building has 15 worm bins. There is also a worm bin at the Wastewater Treatment Plant and two at the Duke Street depot. Concentrated liquid fertiliser from the worm bins is available to staff to purchase for use in home gardens.

Council requires contractors to dispose of any building materials/refuse in the most environmentally-friendly manner feasible.

A Harvest Market Table for excess home garden produce of Council staff is provided on the third floor of the municipal building. This encourages use of local food, low food miles and fresh food.

A trial of recycling household batteries commenced in the municipal building in January 2018, with more than 16 kilograms diverted from landfill by June 2018. This service is paid for by donations from the Harvest Market Table (current costs are between $5-$7 per kilogram, based on the type of battery).

Batteries are then taken to the ‘Go Eco Waikato Environment Centre’ in Frankton. From there they are collected by the South Waikato Achievement Trust who sort the batteries. Lithium batteries and silver button batteries are recycled, while alkaline batteries are encased in concrete to stop leaching into the environment.

Since February 2017, tea bags for staff in the municipal building cafeteria are now purchased without a paper packet (and also without string/tag) to reduce waste at no additional cost. 

All used toner printer cartridges, drums and fusers are recycled as part of the Fuji Xerox New Zealand Ministry for Environment-accredited Product Stewardship Scheme (which achieves a re-use and recycling rate of over 99.5 percent for the equipment they receive).​

Principle 11:
Council is an integral part of regional efforts to restore and protect biodiversity in Hamilton City

Hamilton City covers 11,080 hectares and has 1,129 hectares of open space owned and/or administered by Council.  This makes up around 10 per cent of the City's land area. The city has an extensive network of gully systems that are important holders of Hamilton's native biodiversity.  The city's natural areas include remnant forests and wetlands, significant nature areas and streetscape.

Protection of Indigenous biodiversity within Hamilton, managing any further loss to areas of biodiversity value and restoring and enhancing sites is critically important. At least 10 percent of remnant habitat cover is needed across a landscape in order to protect biodiversity and maintain the functions of ecosystems. Currently only 1.5% to 2% of Hamilton is covered by ecologically significant habitat.​

Actions that support Sustainability Principle 11

Council Role/Element​Action


A Local Indigenous Biodiversity Pilot Project process was developed in accordance with the Waikato Regional Policy Statement to provide the most appropriate combination of regulatory and non-regulatory tools to help restore and enhance Hamilton’s biodiversity. The objective is to test a range of concepts, processes and tools for subsequent use to increase the level of biodiversity in Hamilton from 1.5-2.0 percent to 10 percent over time.

This is a partnership between Council and the Waikato Regional Council and involves Tangata whenua, landowners, and other key stakeholders. The Pilot Project commenced in September 2016 and was completed in July 2018, with funding split between both councils. It was decided at the 30 October 2018 Community Services Committee meeting to continue and complete the Pilot Project.

Hamilton is one of the few cities in New Zealand that still supports a resident population of long-tailed bats. Project Echo aims to gather information on bat distribution throughout Hamilton. This project is supported by Council, the Waikato Regional Council, the University of Waikato and the Riverlea Environment Society Inc.

Council has procedures in place when removing trees to avoid damage to habitats e.g. Hamilton Gardens monitors bat activity prior to any large trees being felled or pruned.

Landcare Research is undertaking extensive surveys of wildlife and advising Hamilton Gardens on appropriate pest control measures.

Council is a partner in Project Halo, which aims to bring native birds, such as tui and bellbirds, back into Hamilton. The 'Halo' is a ring drawn around Hamilton, which takes in key sites where tui breed. It has a radius of approximately 20km, as this is how far tui will fly to feed. Bellbirds have been sighted in Hamilton Gardens.

The Open Space Provision Policy provides input into the subdivision process, with developers required to plant street trees as part of their subdivisions, which Council then monitors. Council planted approximately 375 street trees between January 2017 and June 2018. The Open Space Provision Policy was reviewed and approved at the 7 June 2018 Community and Services Committee meeting.

Fish barriers are being removed throughout Hamilton as part of the Comprehensive Stormwater Discharge Consent held with the Waikato Regional Council. Eighteen fish barriers have been identified for further action. Removal will be a long-term project, with 2-3 being removed per year. Some of the work required to remove the barriers is quite extensive and costly. It is not just a matter of removing obstructions, but design and construction of structures or in some cases lowering of culverts.

Noxious weeds (e.g. wooly nightshade) are also regularly removed from Council’s waterways.

Council, with support from WRC Project Watershed, has been undertaking extensive gully restoration in Mangaiti Gully and Mangaonua Gully with 50,000 plants being planted this season.

Regeneration of native vegetation within Hamilton Park Cemetery Gully Areas occurs through an ongoing programme.

Council continues to restore the 65.5-hectare Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage Park and implement the Management Plan. Working with its partners, 33.5 hectares of the park have been planted in eco-sourced native plants to date. Council has approved extending Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage Park by a further 5.1 hectares in the north-eastern corner, protecting more land for ecological restoration in perpetuity.

A habitat assessment of the Mangakotukutu Gully is being undertaken. This includes ecological assessment for the wider gully network and will identify concept restoration projects.

Hamilton Zoo has an active breeding programme that contributes to New Zealand’s fauna conservation.​

Good Corporate Citizen

Council promotes ecological restoration through growing plants for the city from eco-sourced seeds at the Hamilton Gardens nursey.

Council's Community Planting Programme is often supported through the staff Community Day Scheme, where many staff volunteer to plant trees.

Honey Bee project – 45 hives are installed on three Council sites (Hamilton Zoo, Hamilton Gardens and the Taitua Arboretum). Each hive comprises around 45,000 bees. Hamilton Gardens receive a consignment of honey for bees hosted on site. This is then labelled with Hamilton Gardens label and sold in the café. All profits go to Hamilton Gardens.

Hamilton Gardens has partnered with the New Zealand Tourism Sustainability Commitment, which aims to see every New Zealand tourism business committed to sustainability by 2025. To deliver on this, the Gardens must achieve ambitious economic goals while sharing the overwhelming benefits with supportive host communities, contributing to restoring, protecting and enhancing their natural environment, and continuing to be a high-quality destination of choice for domestic and international travelers. Refer the Sustainable Tourism website for further information.​

Page reviewed: 30 Oct 2019 3:29pm