The Ministry for the Environment is working on an array of climate change adaptation-related plans, legislation and guidelines which have direct relevance to local government. We outline some important developments below.

Guide to local climate risk assessments

The Ministry for the Environment has created a guide that sets out a climate change risk assessment framework for local use. The guide provides a standard approach for undertaking climate change risk assessments, while allowing flexibility to reflect local values. The methodology is broadly consistent with the National Climate Change Risk Assessment Framework and is written mainly for local government representatives to lead and implement, in partnership with local iwi/Māori on behalf of communities.

A local government working group and a Māori caucus and panel have directed the development of the guide, providing insights and feedback throughout the process. The Ministry’s aim is to review and update it over time, building on learning from those undertaking local risk assessments over the coming months.

Three webinars are in development to support use of the guidance, which will be held in the next couple of months. We will share information about these webinars as soon as it is available. Please feel free to submit any feedback you may have to the Ministry by email.

National Adaptation Plan

The Ministry for the Environment has advised, and asked us to share, that they are required by the Climate Change Response Act 2002 to publish the National Adaptation Plan by August 2022 (this being two years after the publication of the first National Climate Change Risk Assessment).

They expect to consult on a draft National Adaptation Plan in early 2022. The exact timing of that consultation period will be confirmed in due course.

Climate Change Adaptation Act

The Ministry’s intention is that consultation on the National Adaptation Plan will inform thinking on the Climate Change Adaptation Act (CAA). This is the one of three Acts proposed to replace the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA), the others being the Natural and Built Environments Act (NBA) and the Strategic Planning Act (SPA).

The Climate Adaptation Act (CAA) will support New Zealand’s response to the effects of climate change. It will address the complex legal and technical issues associated with managed retreat and funding and financing adaptation.

This article from The Conversation provides some background to the proposed Climate Adaptation Act, including what it aims to address, and possible future directions.

Engaging with your community on climate change

Although it has been developed for use in the United Kingdom, this guide ‘Public engagement and net zero - How government should involve citizens in climate policy making’ may be useful to councils as they consider how to work with their communities gathering consensus on how to reduce emissions and adapt to climate change. 

If you have any questions regarding any of these developments, please contact Raymond Horan, Deputy Chief Executive.