Wellington Mayor Kerry Prendergast is encouraging Wellingtonians to turn off their lights in support of Earth Hour on Saturday, 29 March.
Earth Hour, a World Wildlife Fund (WWF) initiative aimed at fighting climate change, was launched last week in Christchurch. While Christchurch is this year's official host city for New Zealand, Wellington is eager to participate.
"Earth Hour is a fantastic way for Wellingtonians to show their commitment to fighting climate change. Every little bit helps and if we all turn off the lights for just one hour we all can make a difference. Wellington's vision is to become the first carbon-neutral Capital in the world, we must do everything we can to make that vision a reality," she says.
"We will be signing up as an official partner of WWF in this initiative next year and put some resource behind it. This year we will be leading by example and turning off our lights," Mayor Prendergast says.
Earth Hour will begin at 8.00pm on Saturday, 29 March. It started in Sydney last year and was a resounding success with the city's energy usage dropping by 10 percent. Lights on famous landmarks - the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge - were turned off for an hour and businesses and residents joined in. This year cities across Europe, North America, Asia, Australia and New Zealand are joining in.
Wellington City Council will register as a participant of Earth Hour and will look at what lights it can turn off. This could include the external lighting at swimming pools, libraries, recreation centres and other Council-owned buildings and the lights in the trees in Oriental Bay and Civic Square.
Climate Change Portfolio leader Cr Ray Ahipene-Mercer says Earth Hour is a great way of showing how much we care about the planet.
"Safety will obviously play a part in this and we will be keeping the street lights, traffic lights and other essential lighting on during Earth Hour and obviously there will be situations where people need to keep their lights on, but we hope Wellingtonians will get behind this great initiative."
Earth Hour website