Adaptation and local government

This page outlines local government’s role in helping New Zealand prepare for and adapt to climate change. 

Local government's role

Each part of the country will be affected differently by climate change so preparing for and managing the risks is carried out by local government. They are best placed to know what is appropriate for their region.

Requirements under the RMA

Under the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) local government is required to consider the effects of a changing climate on their communities. They are also required to incorporate climate change into existing frameworks, plans, projects and standard decision-making procedures. A climate change perspective is now integrated into activities such as flood management, water resources, planning, building regulations and transport.

The Quality Planning website has a guidance note that provides:

  • an overview of how particular regard may be given to the effects of climate change
  • information on expected climate change effects in New Zealand
  • advice on methods for considering and addressing climate change effects under the RMA.

The effects of climate change under the Resource Management Act - A quality planning guidance note [Quality Planning website]

Ministry guidance

The Ministry for the Environment provides resources to assist local government to better understand and take into account climate change effects when carrying out their day-to-day operations. This guidance was reviewed in 2015 and is now in the process of being updated.

Guidance for local government on preparing for climate change

Sources of funding

Local government can apply for funding for environmental projects from the following funds:

Community Environment Fund
A source of funding for community and local government projects that make a positive difference to the environment.

Envirolink funding [Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment website]
A source of funding for advice and research on environmental projects.