Guidance for local government on preparing for climate change

This page contains links to three publications on preparing for climate change that can assist councils with their decision-making.

About the publications

The Ministry has three guidance manuals and summary publications on adapting to climate change. This guidance has been recently reviewed and is being updated. We released new climate projections in June 2016 and updated coastal hazards and climate change guidance in December 2017.

The three manuals are outlined below.

Climate change effects and impacts assessment

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

It aims to help identify and quantify the opportunities and risks that climate change pose for councils’ functions, responsibilities and infrastructure. It 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climate projections for New Zealand were published in June 2016 to replace the projections in the manual which are now out-of-date. These new projections need to be referred to when using the guidance.

Coastal hazards and climate change

The aim of the guidance is to assist decision-makers to manage and adapt to the increased coastal hazard risks posed by climate change and sea-level rise. Updated in December 2017, it highlights the impacts that climate change is expected to have on coastal hazards.

It details the impacts that are expected through sea-level rise, storm surge, wind and waves and has been updated to include:

  • the latest science and legislation
  • information from the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment’s 2015 report on sea-level rise and feedback from stakeholders.

It also provides a risk management framework for considering the consequences of these hazards.

There is new content on implementing a risk-based approach, adaptive planning, and community engagement:

Case Study: Hawke’s Bay Clifton to Tangoio Coastal Hazards Strategy 2120

Three councils in the Hawke’s Bay region used the Ministry’s updated Coastal Hazards and Climate Change guidance when developing the Clifton to Tangoio Coastal Hazards Strategy 2120. See the following video on their experiences of using the updated guidance. For more information on the strategy see Clifton to Tangoio Coastal Hazards Strategy 2120 []. The video was produced by Hawke's Bay Regional Council and Mitchell Daysh consultants.   

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 includes case studies to illustrate these methods.

The summary publication has information, guidance and examples to help councils incorporate climate change impacts into flood risk assessments.