Local Government New Zealand has welcomed the release of the Climate Change Adaptation Technical Working Group’s final report on how New Zealand can adapt to the impacts of climate change
The Climate Change Adaptation Technical Working Group’s (CCATWG) report recommends that New Zealand needs a national adaptation action plan, a regularly updated national climate change risk assessment, a review of existing legislation and policy to integrate and align climate change adaptation considerations and an investigation into who should bear the costs of climate change adaptation and how it can be funded.
LGNZ President Dave Cull says the report shows that a number of the CCATWG’s recommendations on adaptation meet the needs of our communities and align with what LGNZ has already outlined in its Climate Change project.
“We are pleased to see that the CCATWG’s report has picked up on the need for what local government has been calling for, particularly a national adaptation plan, engagement with communities on impacts of climate change and discussions around adaptation funding,” Cull says.
“We now need to take these recommendations further and with the Government work through the options and how to implement them in order to make real progress that will build the resilience of our communities.”
However, there are still a number of sensitive questions that central and local government must collectively discuss with businesses and communities.
“We need to have conversations about sensitive issues that we must address if our communities are to be resilient, such as how to manage the relocation of communities shown to be at risk in a national risk assessment, and whether existing insurance models are sufficient.”
In the report, the CCATWG also recommends the establishment of a centralised service that provides risk-based decision-making expertise to local government.
LGNZ’s proposal for a Local Government Risk Agency would deliver on that recommendation.
“Our proposed Local Government Risk Agency would provide comprehensive and consistent risk management expertise, knowledge and tools to local authorities across the country,” Cull explains.
“It would help to manage the risks presented and exacerbated by climate change, but also risks associated with other natural disasters such as earthquakes.
“We are looking forward to working with the Government on addressing the adaptation challenge.
“Local government’s view is that it is critical we work together to develop a national adaptation plan so that councils, industry and community can start taking a consistent approach to adaptation, and that we start conversations about who bears the cost of climate change adaptation.
“These things need to happen as a matter of urgency.”
“Real and urgent action now is critical – we can’t rest on our laurels any longer.”
Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) represents New Zealand’s 78 local, regional and unitary authorities, advocating for local democracy, developing local government policy, and promoting best practice and excellence in leadership, governance and service delivery.
The local government sector plays an important role, owning a broad range of community assets worth more than $120 billion in addition to giving citizens a say in how their communities are run.
These include 90% of New Zealand’s road network, the bulk of the country’s water and waste water networks, and libraries, recreation and community facilities.
Council expenditure is approximately $8.5 billion dollars, representing approximately 4% of Gross Domestic Product and 11% of all public expenditure.