Murihiku Tukuwaro Kore

Net Zero Southland

To support and enable Murihiku Southland to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

Net Zero

The Aotearoa New Zealand Government has committed to reaching net zero emissions of long-lived gases by 2050, and to reduce biogenic methane emissions between 24- 47% by 2050.

The first emissions reduction plan contains strategies, policies and actions for achieving the first emissions budget, as required by the Climate Change Response Act 2002. In doing so, it also outlines how the country intends to play their part in global efforts to limit warming to 1.5˚C above pre-industrial levels. 

Great South measures regional emissions annually and the most recent report Southland Regional Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory for 2021 shows there is a progressively downward trend, which is positive. This reduction in emissions is expected to continue as large-scale decarbonisation projects are completed and as coal use at Huntly is progressively phased out.

Murihiku Southland currently contributes 9.2% of Aotearoa New Zealand’s net emissions, which is a reduction from 9.7% from the emissions recorded in the 2018 baseline year.

The economic mitigation pathways analysed in the Net Zero Southland report (2021) established a baseline for carbon abatement and models a technology and agricultural pathway. It also highlights the importance of all sectors being actively engaged in driving the reduction of emissions. The report shows that decarbonisation investment is almost entirely NPV positive and that net zero emissions is achievable in Murihiku Southland without creating economic and/or social shock. It follows the Global Protocol for Community-Scale Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventories (GPC), which is considered the current best practice mode.

Achieving Net Zero requires implementation of a strategic pathway which is aligned with other planning – particularly transport, tourism and agriculture. This pathway must be communicated to others acknowledging that many need to play a part.

Next Steps


In Progress

"For more timely release of data from Government to inform emissions assessment and reporting."

  • Great South and the region's Councils will continue to advocate for improved and more timely released data.

In Progress

"That one emissions calculator is agreed for Aotearoa New Zealand, becoming the basis of all emissions planning and verification processes."

In Progress

"More enabling policy and legislative change."


"To expand the Waihōpai Invercargill Decarbonisation Contestable Fund to include all of the region."

  • This Fund is no longer available.


In Progress

"That there is consideration of regional coordination through a Regional Climate Change Group."

In Progress

"Development of the Regional Sustainability and Climate Change Information Portal."

  • Great South and Environment Southland (alongside the Regional Climate Change Inter-Agency Group) are looking to develop this portal in 2024/25.

In Progress

"For continued annual monitoring and reporting on regional emissions."

  • Great South produces the annual Regional Emissions Report which is based on emissions sources national guidance and international protocols.

In Progress

"That the findings of the Farm Carbon Abatement Pilot are considered."

  • Great South is currently exploring opportunities.

In Progress

"Great South to expand the Murihiku Southland Decarbonisation Programme."

  • Great South is currently exploring partnerships with a number of organisations to expand this Programme.

Not Yet Started

"That there is a clear action plan and appropriate resourcing to review and consider the implementation of the Net Zero Southland report, including continued strong partnerships with the private and public sector."

  • Net Zero Southland will be reviewed and updated in 2024/25 by Great South.  This will include consultation with wider industry and local government and technical analysis considering the continued operation of the Tiwai Smelter.