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Appendix 5: Climate change in plans – Checklist for contents

Statute Name of plan Duration of plan Purpose Checklist for contents

Local Government Act 2002

Long-term Council Community Plan

10 years, but reviewed every 3 years. Can be changed when an annual plan is prepared.

Describe community outcomes for the district or region.

Provide a long-term focus for local authority decisions.

Provide financial estimates to manage council/ community assets.

Are the long-term implications of climate change identified anywhere in relation to community outcomes? Is any statement clear and able to be measured or monitored? If not, is there a comment explaining why not?

How is the time frame of climate change effects handled? Is there adequate explanation of the need to act within the framework of the current plan, although effects may become apparent only during the preparation of future plans?

Are adaptive responses to potential climate changes identified in relation to specific assets or activities (water supply, wastewater, stormwater, roading, pest management, parks and reserves management, etc.)? Are these responses specific and targeted to the asset?

If a change in level of service, or additional capacity, is planned owing to climate change (ie, requirements will be beyond the level of service or capacity based on other considerations), is this explicit and explained?

Are other programmes or plans relating to climate change identified (eg, biosecurity, biodiversity) and details and budgets specified?

Is a monitoring regime relating to the aspect involving a climate change response identified and are mechanisms, costs and duration foreshadowed?

Are the levels of uncertainty involved in the forecasts of climate change explained, and an estimate of the uncertainty provided?


Annual Plan


Support the Long Term Council Community Plan in integrated decision-making and co-ordination of the local authority resources; and provide an annual budget and funding impact statement for the local authority.

Are the budget requirements, in relation to climate change responses identified in the Long Term Council Community Plan, explicitly followed through

  • for development, maintenance and management of specific assets?

  • in terms of any investigation or research needs for the year?

  • in terms of ongoing monitoring?


Annual Report


Report on the Annual Plan, measuring activities and expenditure against desired community outcomes and sustainable development.

Are specific Annual Plan provisions relating to climate change reported appropriately, including asset management?

If the expected outcome has not been achieved, has this been explained?

Resource Management Act 1991

Regional Policy Statement

10 years, but can be reviewed or changed at any time.

Achieve the sustainable and integrated management of natural and physical resources, by providing an overview of a region’s resource management issues, policies and methods.

Is climate change and its effects identified as a regional issue requiring a response?

Does the Policy Statement explain the national policy context?

Does the Regional Policy Statement specify the time horizon for different types of decisions on climate change and its effects?

Does the Regional Policy Statement give pointers for the formulation of regional and district plan contents relating to managing the effects of climate changes?

Are the respective roles and responsibilities of the regional and district councils in managing natural hazards in the region set out?

Does the Regional Policy Statement promote consistency of approach towards climate change by local authorities within the region and across boundaries with neighbouring regions?

Does the Regional policy Statement promote public education as a method of response to climate change and its effects?

Does the Regional Policy Statement promote avoidance or limitation of damage and costs from natural hazards, including those exacerbated by climate change, such as:

  • sea-level rise

  • increased rainfall intensity

  • increased incidence of severity or drought

  • wind events?

Does the Regional Policy Statement include provisions for monitoring the effects of climate change, and any relevant statements of environmental outcomes?


Regional plans

10 years, but can be reviewed or changed at any time.

Achieve the integrated management of natural and physical resources; managing and controlling land for soil erosion and natural hazards; managing and controlling water resources and beds of rivers and lakes; and managing and controlling the coastal marine area.

Depending on the plan ...

Is climate change and its implications identified as an issue? If it is not, is there a valid explanation for why not?

Are the approach and policy for climate change consistent with the Regional Policy Statement?

Are there one or more objectives relating to climate change, which are adequately explained and integrated with policy and rules?

If there are rules or methods that relate to or rely on climate change as a partial or complete justification for their existence (eg, water allocation, flood design clearances, prohibiting building areas), is the provision clearly explained?

Are there any decision-making criteria related to taking the implications of climate change into account? Are these explained?

Are there provisions for monitoring relevant to climate change effects, and relevant statements of environmental outcomes as a result of the provision(s)?

Is there a specific commitment that the council will keep up-to-date with changing understanding of climate change and its implications?


District Plan

10 years, but can be reviewed at any time.

Integrated management of the effects of use, development and protection of a district’s natural and physical resources; and control of land in relation to natural hazards.

Is climate change identified as an issue in the District Plan with adequate explanations?

How is the issue expressed in terms of objectives and policies?

Is the approach and policy for climate change consistent with the Regional Policy Statement?

Have areas of enhanced risk (eg, hazard zones, building lines) due to climate change been identified, with appropriate policy and rules?

Do the decision-making criteria relating to natural hazards refer to climate change and its implications?

Civil Defence Emergency Management Act 2002

Civil Defence Emergency Management Group Plan

5 years, but can be reviewed sooner.

Developing an integrated community-based response to the sustainable management of hazards.

Has the risk management analysis taken into account changes due to climate change?

Does the recognition of the effects of climate change reflect the current level of uncertainty in the region and adopt a cautious approach as a result? If not, is this explained?

Does the plan include a specific commitment to keep up-to-date with changing understanding of climate change and its implications, including any relevant local monitoring or liaison?

Plans under other legislation, and/or plans that have no specific statutory basis

For example, Reserve Management Plans, Asset Management Plans, Catchment Management Plans, Landcare and Biosecurity Management Plans

Usually no set times. Plans should state their review periods.

A range of purposes.

Plans should explain their purpose through stated objectives and policies.

Depending on the plan ...

Are there any statements or provisions relating to climate change and managing the effects?

If there are, are these appropriately linked to aspects of the plan that have long-term consequences (eg, a Reserve Management Plan may appropriately incorporate climate change considerations in relation to species choice for major planting programmes, or recognition of increased drought or flooding in design and subsequent maintenance costs of playing fields; Asset Management Plans may include expectations of changed levels of service needed in the future due to climate change; Landcare Plans may identify aspects such as reduced soil moisture in an area and promote a gradual shift in types of production/management as a response).

What monitoring regimes are incorporated?