Climate change adaptation and local government

The role of councils in helping us prepare for and adapt to climate change. MfE work, guidance and funding sources to help councils adapt to climate change.

Role of councils in preparing for and adapting to climate change

Under the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) local government is required to consider the effects of a changing climate on communities. It is 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.

Quality Planning website

One of the changes introduced by the Resource Legislation Amendment Act 2017 is that “the management of significant risks from natural hazards” is a new matter of national importance in section 6 of the RMA.

Case studies underway to understand issues councils face when responding to climate change

MfE is looking at the experiences of Hawke’s Bay and other councils in dealing with climate change. The aim is to see what national-level changes (legislative changes, funding models etc) may be needed to assist councils and their communities to respond to climate change impacts. 

This work will also inform recommendations made by the Resource Management Review Panel to Government, and other work programmes. 

MfE and Hawke’s Bay Regional Council have developed the first case study. It investigates challenges with the implementation of the Clifton to Tangoio 2120 Coastal Hazards Strategy. 

Information to assist councils to understand and plan for climate change impacts 

We released new climate projections for New Zealand in June 2016 and updated guidance on coastal hazards and climate change in December 2017.

Guidance for local government on preparing for climate change

Sources of funding for environmental projects

Community Environment Fund
Funding for community and local government projects that make a positive difference to the environment.

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

Reviewed:
20/04/20