Huringa āhuarangi
Climate change

Local government sees and deals with the impact of a changing climate first hand, including its impact on infrastructure, businesses and people’s lives.

With collaboration, commitment and planning, local government can lead communities in adapting to climate change, building resilience and reducing their emissions. Climate change is a complex, long-term challenge that requires immediate and persistent action.

Through our policy submissions and engagement, we've been urging the government to create more ambitious and directive plans to tackle climate change, including, for example, through the Government’s first National Adaptation Plan and Ministry of Transport’s Pathways to Net Zero by 2050 consultation.

We’ve advocated strongly for local government to be provided with tools, frameworks and resources to support them to take adaptation and mitigation action. The Inquiry into community-led retreat and adaptation funding is a critical opportunity to develop options for an enduring climate adaptation framework that addresses roles, responsibilities and funding arrangements.

Of particular importance is our call to central government to work in partnership with local government and provide tangible support to communities in the transition to a low-carbon economy.

We're also focused on supporting councils to build community resilience through adaptation and mitigation action. Councils are on the frontline of responding to the changing climate. That’s why we’ve commissioned work to help councils understand their obligations to continue to provide services-related infrastructure in areas that may be affected by climate change, and potential liability consequences, and guidance on the climate change considerations that councils should factor into their long-term plans.

We’ve supported the work Te Uru Kahika/the Regional Sector has done to develop a business case for central government co-investment in flood protection infrastructure.

Our work to date

The timeline below summarises activity to date.

October 2023

We submitted on the Environment Committee’s inquiry into community-led retreat and adaptation funding.
Read our submission: Inquiry into community-led retreat

October 2023

We commissioned guidance to support councils to factor climate change into their long-term plans.
Read the guidance: Climate Change Reform and the Impact on Local Government A guide for 2024 – 34 Long-Term Plans

August 2023

We submitted on the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet’s discussion document: Strengthening the resilience of Aotearoa New Zealand’s critical infrastructure system.

Read our submission: Strengthening the resilience of Aotearoa New Zealand Critical Infrastructure

August 2023

We wrote to Ministers asking for changes to support voluntary buyouts.
Read our letter: Important need for legal certainty for councils undertaking voluntary buyouts

June 2023

We made a submission on the Climate Change Commission’s Draft Advice on the Second Emissions Reduction Plan.

Read our submission: Reduction Plan Guidance Submission

February 2023

We advocated for changes in council requirements to publish information about natural hazards on LIMs.

Read our submission: Disclosure of Natural Hazards Information on LIMS

Our work advocating for changes to LIMs is summarised in the report Review of Land Information Memorandums, Achieving Best Practice.

June 2022

We submitted on the draft National Adaptation Plan.

Read our submission: Adapt and thrive: Building a climate resilient New Zealand Draft National Adaptation Plan

June 2022

We submitted on the Government’s first emissions reduction plan.

Read our submission: Te Hau mārohi ki anamata, towards a productive, sustainable and inclusive economy.

November 2021

We submitted on the Government’s Emissions Reduction Plan consultation document.

Read our submission: Emissions Reduction Plan.

August 2020

We produced a series of case studies that share best practice and explored some of the challenges that councils face when having tough conversations with climate change affected communities.

Read case studies on community engagement on climate change adaptation here.

August 2019

We produced guidance for councils on assessing the exposure of their infrastructure to sea level rise and inland flood risk.

Read the guidance Exposed: Climate change and Infrastructure.

January 2019

We released our research paper Vulnerable: The quantum of local government infrastructure exposed to sea level rise, provides a picture of the type, amount and replacement value of local government owned infrastructure exposed to sea level rise.

Read the research Vulnerable: The quantum of local government infrastructure exposed to sea level rise

March 2019

A paper for presentation to the “Climate Change Adaptation” session at the Rural and Provincial Sector Meeting.

Read the paper Climate change litigation: who’s afraid of creative judges?