POL Min (06) 20/12: Helping New Zealand Prepare for and Adapt to Climate Change

Date: September 2006
Reference number:
POL Min (06) 20/12


On 13 September 2006, the Cabinet Policy Committee (POL), having been authorised by Cabinet with Power to Act [CAB Min (06) 34/36]:


1. noted that climate change is expected to result in more extreme weather events (both in terms of intensity and frequency) and broad changes to temperature and rainfall in New Zealand;

2. noted that these changes are expected to have far-reaching consequences, and that without adapting to them, the impacts of climate change for New Zealand are likely to be significant;

3. noted that work has already begun to assess the expected climate change impacts for New Zealand and to raise awareness of the need for adaptation;

4. noted that some costs and risks of impacts arising from climate change can be minimised or even avoided with proper planning at an early stage;

Work programme

5. agreed that more effort will be required across the public and private sectors to prepare New Zealand for, and adapt to, the impacts of climate change;

6. agreed that an effective adaptation work programme will need to:

6.1. assist with filling any gaps in knowledge during the ongoing refinement of climate change science and climate change impacts;

6.2. disseminate existing and new information appropriate for end-users;

6.3. engage with decision makers to increase awareness and their capacity to adapt;

7. agreed that the immediate focus of the climate change impacts and adaptation work programme should be on the following areas:

7.1. water and coastal (e.g. emergency and hazard management, such as Civil Defence and Emergency Management Group plans and Regional Council plans, flood and storm surge preparedness, and coastal management);

7.2. infrastructure investment and maintenance (e.g. asset management, design and resilience);

7.3. primary industry (e.g. sustainable agriculture, drought, floods and snow preparedness, land use change);

7.4. biodiversity and biosecurity;

Partnerships with stakeholders

8. noted that various key public and private sector agencies have both operational and regulatory functions with regard to water and the coast, infrastructure and primary industry, including local government, professional bodies of engineers, and the insurance sector, and they are willing partners;

9. agreed that officials initiate impacts and adaptation partnerships with the following priority stakeholders:

9.1. local government (including Local Government New Zealand), by looking into ways to develop existing (and possibly new) technical performance requirements, design standards, best practice codes/guidance, planning information and financial/asset management tools and by training and professional development for both officials and councillors;

9.2. the Institute of Professional Engineers (IPENZ), by looking into ways to develop existing (and possibly new) engineering performance requirements and engineering design standards (e.g. bridge design and flood event probability);

9.3 the insurance industry through the Insurance Council of New Zealand and IAG New Zealand, by looking into current technical information (described (9.1) and (9.2) above), providing industry best practice codes, and helping develop insurance packages [withheld under OIA s.9(2)(b)(ii)]

9.4 the agricultural sector [withheld under OIA s.9(2)(f)(iv)];

10 noted that the agricultural sector is also considered to be a priority stakeholder [withheld under OIA s.9(2)(f)(iv)];

Next steps

11 noted that Ministry for the Environment officials will engage with other stakeholders over coming months to raise awareness of climate change impacts and adaptation, and to identify future information needs and partners;

12 noted that the themes ‘adapting to climate change’ and ‘flood hazards’ are part of the Ministry for the Environment’s Talk Environment Roadshow, which will take place in November 2006 in 16 regional centres nationwide;

13 directed officials to include climate change risk management in existing work programmes (referred to in Appendix 1 to this minute) and identify opportunities to co-brand their work as part of climate change work programmes;

14 directed Ministry for the Environment officials report back to Cabinet by December 2006 on:

14.1 progress with coordinating adaptation-related programmes and policies across central government;

14.2 progress with central government agencies incorporating climate change risk management into relevant work programmes;

14.3 progress with establishing partnerships with priority stakeholders, as listed in Appendix 2 to this minute;

14.4 progress with broader engagement with stakeholders as listed in Appendix 2;

14.5 further detail on the climate change impacts and adaptation work programme, informed by stakeholder engagement;

14.6 any additional financial resource required to implement the work programme;

15 noted that the Minister Responsible for Climate Change Issues indicates that consultation is not required with the government caucuses and that consultation will be undertaken with other parties represented in Parliament.

Appendix 1 – Government work programmes related to climate change adaptation:

  • [withheld under s.9(2)(f)(iv)];
  • Sustainable Water Programme of Action (jointly led by Ministry for the Environment and Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry);
  • Adverse Events Policy for Agriculture (led by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry);
  • Water Enhancement policy (led by Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry);
  • Flood Risk Management Review (led by Ministry for the Environment);
  • Biodiversity guidance (led by Ministry for the Environment and the Department of Conservation);
  • Review of the National Civil Defence Emergency Management Strategy, Plan and Guide (led by Department of Internal Affairs);
  • Review of the New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement (led by the Department of Conservation);
  • Sustainable Land Management Framework (led by Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry).

Appendix 2 – Stakeholder Engagement Matrix

Partnership candidate = *

Consultation candidate = #

Immediate engagement
Stakeholder Water & Coastal Biodiversity/ Bio-security Infrastructure Primary Production & Land use Engagement
Central Government  
Ministry for the Environment* x x x x

Partnership candidate – to ‘mainstream’ adaptation into policy advice.

Preliminary consultation completed

Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry* x x   x
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet* x x x x
Department of Conservation* x x x x
Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management* x   x  
Ministry of Transport*     x  
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade*        
Ministry of Economic Development* x   x  
Department of Internal Affairs* x   x x
Transit NZ#     x   Preliminary consultation completed
Maritime NZ# x x x  
External Stakeholders
Local Government New Zealand (Partnership candidate representing Local Government)# x   x  
NIWA and other Crown Research Institutes# x x x x
Agricultural Consultants (working on adaptation)# x x   x
New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development#     x x
Insurance Australia Group (IAG)* x   x x Partnership candidate Workshop scheduled Sept 06
Local Government (with Local Government New Zealand)* x x x x Partnership candidate Workshops held May 06 MfE Roadshow scheduled November 06
Professional Bodies  
Institute of Professional Engineers New Zealand (IPENZ)* x   x   Partnership candidate Workshops: July/August 06
New Zealand Insurance Council* x   x x Partnership candidate
New Zealand Water and Waste Association#     x    
Royal Society of New Zealand for all science bodies, specifically Climate Committee# x x x x  
New Zealand Bankers Association# x   x x  
Subsequent engagement
Stakeholder Water & Coastal Biodiversity/ Bio-security Infrastructure Primary Production & Land use Engagement
Non-governmental organisations x x   x  
NZ Planning Institute x   x x  
Association of Consulting Engineers x   x    
Building Industry Authority     x    
INGENIUM – Local Government Engineers for Public Assets x   x    
NZ Society for Sustainability Engineering and Science (part of IPENZ) x   x    
Royal Society of New Zealand x x   x Workshop: 26 August
New Zealand Institute of Architects x x x    
Society of Local Government Managers x x x x  
Chambers of Commerce     x x  
New Zealand Institute of Surveyors x   x    
Federated Farmers of New Zealand x x   x [withheld under OIA s.9(2)(f)(iv)]
New Zealand Institute of Agriculture & Horticultural Science   x   x
New Zealand Forest Owners Association       x
New Zealand Bio-security Institute x x    
Foundation for Arable Research       x
Dairy Insight        
Meat and Wool New Zealand        
Grasslands Society        
New Zealand Institute of Agricultural Science        
New Zealand Agricultural Economics & Resource Management Association       x
New Zealand Water Environment Research Foundation x x      
Centre for Advanced Engineering     x    
Environment Institute of Australia and New Zealand x x      
New Zealand Association for Impact Assessment x x x x  
New Zealand Association of Resource Management x     x  
New Zealand Coastal Society x        
New Zealand Ecological Society   x      
Institute of Refrigeration, Heating & Air Conditioning Engineers (IRHACE)     x    
New Zealand Hydrological Society x x      
New Zealand Landcare Trust x x   x  
Institute of Directors x x x x  
Institute of Chartered Accountants x   x    
NZ Utilities Advisory Group (NZUAG) x   x    
New Zealand Law Society x   x x  
Resource Management Law Association x x x x