Guidance for local government on preparing for climate change

This page contains links to publications on preparing for climate change that can assist local government decision-making.

About the publications

The Ministry reviewed the three guidance manuals and their summary publications on adapting to climate change during 2014. The guidance was reviewed due to significant developments in international science and domestic policy relating to climate change adaptation since the current guidance was published. 

The guidance manuals are being updated in a staged approach, beginning with new climate projections released in June 2016 and coastal hazards guidance released in December 2017.

Climate change effects and impacts assessment

This guidance provides projections of the expected physical impacts of climate change, both at the national level and for regions around New Zealand.

It is designed to help identify and quantify opportunities and risks that climate change poses for local authorities’ functions, responsibilities and infrastructure. It also demonstrates how to incorporate climate risk assessment into local government regulatory, assessment and planning processes to reduce vulnerability to the impacts of climate change.

New climate projections for New Zealand were published in June 2016 to replace the projections in the manual which are now out-of-date. The rest of the manual  ̶  which  provides guidance on how to interpret and apply the climate projections, undertake risk assessments and incorporate the projections into planning decisions  ̶  remains relevant to the new set of projections.

Coastal hazards and climate change

This guidance, updated in December 2017, highlights the impacts that climate change is expected to have on coastal hazards.

The guidance supports decision-makers to manage and adapt to the increased coastal hazard risks posed by climate change and sea-level rise. It details the climate change impacts that are expected through sea-level rise, storm surge, wind and waves. It has been updated to include the latest science and legislation, as well as information from the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment’s 2015 report on sea-level rise and feedback from stakeholders.

The guidance also discusses a risk management framework in which to consider the consequences of these hazards. There is substantial new content on implementing a risk-based approach, adaptive planning, and community engagement.

Tools for estimating the effects of climate change on flood flow

This guidance details the key effects of climate change on flooding and presents methods for estimating changes in rainfall, flow rates and inundation.

It also includes some best practice case studies to illustrate these methods.

The summary publication also provides good practice information, guidance and examples to help local authorities incorporate climate change impacts into flood risk assessments.