Transitioning Taranaki to a lower carbon economy is seen as an important strategic issue for the region’s businesses, Venture Taranaki’s latest 6-monthly business survey has found.

In addition to a range of standard questions about business outlook, the May 2018 survey polled businesses on their attitudes towards a number of lower-emission concerns and activities, finding that 72.4% of respondents either support or strongly support New Zealand seeking ways to transition to a low emission future while preserving incomes.
 
“While the need to start thinking about and planning to reduce emissions was widely understood, specific actions for the region to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions spanned legislative responses, generating more renewable energy, reducing waste, changing farming practices, and educating consumers and producers,” said Dr Anne Probert of Venture Taranaki.
 
Alongside this, the response to the announcement of an end to new offshore oil and gas exploration permits was polled, with a total of 61.3% either disagreeing or strongly disagreeing with the policy as an effective step in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, while 13.9% supported it. 21.3% neither agreed nor disagreed with the policy.
 
In terms of that policy’s impact – either positive or negative - on Taranaki businesses, 20.6% had felt a direct impact already, while 28.0% expected an impact in the next 2-5 years, while 20.6% anticipate they will feel the effect in five or more years. Only 25.2% of Taranaki businesses feel there will be no impact from that decision.
 
When asked about steps to reduce agricultural emissions, technology and evolving land-use practices were seen as important strategies for the future.
 
Businesses were also asked about their actual or anticipated uptake of electric vehicles, with 3.7% already using EVs, 4.6% looking to move to EVs in the near future, and 40.7% expecting to be using EVs in two years or more. 26.9 percent don’t expect to move to an electric vehicle, while 24% are unsure if they’ll do so. The price of EVs and anxieties about their range and charging were seen as the biggest barriers to more EV use, as were wider questions about the true carbon footprint of electric vehicles.
 
“Ultimately there was a desire by many to see the transitioning to a low-emissions economy depoliticised, and genuine progress made. Harnessing technology and innovation to make changes was also seen as a pivotal role,” Anne said.
 
The survey is sent to a cross-section of 1,500 Taranaki businesses, across a range of sectors, sizes and locations throughout the region. It has been conducted every six months since 1999.