The National Adaptation Plan has been released by Government. NZPI submitted on this plan, through consultation in recent months, along with the parallel consultation on managed retreat. 

National Adaptation Plan

In launching the plan (which follows the country’s Emissions Reduction Plan), Climate Change Minister James Shaw said that there had been New Zealanders throughout the country experiencing the increasing impact of climate change. 

On the Ministry for the Environment website, he said: “We’re used to planning long term for earthquakes. We have systems and regulations in place to manage those risks. We have information that we need to be prepared. Now we’ll be taking the same approach to climate change.”

Two years ago, the Government published a National Climate Risk Assessment 2020, a document which pinpointed the areas in Aotearoa at greatest risk during climate change. This identified 43 priority risks, and the plan published today is intended to put in place a framework to address those risks.

The reason for the Adaptation Plan is ultimately that New Zealand does not have the legislation or coordination across Government needed to adapt to climate change, following decades of inaction. There is a need to start from scratch.

Key points from the Plan include:

  • The plan is for six years; and it anticipates that every six years a new risk assessment and plan will be completed by He Pou a Rangi – Climate Change Commission.
  • The Plan includes over 120 actions, which respond to the risks raised by the Climate Change Risk Assessment 2020.
  • Treasury will be publishing for the first time the total cost of climate change to the country as a whole.
  • The Plan will also provide data newly accessible to New Zealanders, so they can assess climate risk and make adaptation decisions. Part of this will include a risk, resilience and climate information portal. NZPI’s submission advocated strongly for such a portal.
  • LIM reports will be required to carry more hazards and risk information on climate change. The detail on what will be on LIMs is not finalised.
  • A Māori Climate Platform will be established, so that Māori can better participate in actions, policy design and also to support hapu and iwi in climate adaptation and mitigation plans.
  • The Plan promotes better consideration of risk in planning decisions, including when deciding where to locate developments and infrastructure. It also encourages consideration of adaptive responses to climate change impacts in planning decisions. NZPI supports this and is looking forward to more guidance and support for this important aspect of planning.
  • Helpfully, the Adaptation Plan includes direction on which climate change scenarios to consider in planning decisions.
  • Proposed new infrastructure will have a new resilience standard or code applied to it. Treasury decisions on new infrastructure or upgrading existing infrastructure will include new considerations on risk. NZPI supports these requirements.
  • Waka Kotahi’s Climate Adaptation Plan will be implemented so that climate resilient transport networks and journeys may result.
  • The Adaptation Plan anticipates that some communities may have to retreat and says costs will be shared between banks, insurance companies, property owners and local and central government. New legislation to support managed retreat, including funding, is being considered under the Resource Management and Local Government reform programmes.
  • Work is being undertaken on flood insurance, including ways to support access and affordability of flood insurance.
  • The Plan says that resilience will be built into other Government policies, plans, and decision-making.

The introduction into the House of legislation dealing with managed retreat (to be called the Climate Adaptation Act), scheduled for later next year, is a key action of the Adaptation Plan.

This is one part of the triadic resource management legislative reform taking place and is the one with the greatest focus on adaptation to climate change. Following our initial submission on managed retreat, NZPI will continue to take opportunities to influence and shape the new legislation from a practice point of view.

Our submissions