Government launches plan for climate change adaptation

The Government has today released its plan to support Aotearoa New Zealand adapt to the impacts of climate change. 

Urutau, ka taurikura: Kia tū pakari a Aotearoa i ngā huringa āhuarangi | Adapt and thrive: Building a climate-resilient New Zealand is the country’s first national adaptation plan (NAP). It sets out government’s response to the risks our communities, built-environment, economy and natural environment will face as a result of a changing climate.  

The work, led by the Ministry for the Environment, is the result of collaboration across government, and incorporates feedback from a wide range of stakeholders including, iwi/Māori, local government, industry, and community groups.  

Te Waihanga led the development of the NAP’s infrastructure chapter. This chapter sets out actions that are intended to improve resilience in existing infrastructure, and ensuring new infrastructure is fit for a changing climate. There are also actions to develop a strategic response to climate change, including the development of adaptation plans, at the sector level.

Actions build on the work already underway by Lifeline Utilities, which have the obligation under the Civil Defence Emergency Management Act to be able to function, during and after an emergency, even if at a reduced level.  

There are 17 infrastructure-specific actions in the NAP including:  

  • Developing guidance for assessing risk and impact on physical assets and the services they provide – to support asset owners to understand climate risks to their service delivery  
  • Integrating adaptation in Treasury decisions on infrastructure – to incorporate the full cost of adaptation over the life of an asset into decision-making. 
  • Developing and implementing the Waka Kotahi Climate Change Adaptation Plan -- which will outline how Waka Kotahi will adapt to climate change through the design, delivery, operation and use of the land transport system.

Rautaki Hanganga o Aotearoa, the New Zealand Infrastructure Strategy, recognises the importance of the NAP in helping prepare our infrastructure for the challenges climate change will present.

Read the national adaptation plan on the Ministry for the Environment’s website.(external link)