New Zealand released its very first climate adaptation plan on 3 August 2022. According to the Government’s press release, the plan outlines the following:
- Action to address the risks identified in the 2020 climate change risk assessment, protecting lives, livelihoods, homes, businesses, and infrastructure
- A joined-up approach that will support community-based adaptation with national policies and legislation
- Providing all New Zealanders with information about local climate risks via a new online data portal
- Better information for homebuyers, with a consistent approach to recording natural hazard information on LIMs
- Embedding climate change adaptation into policies and procedures right across the Government
- A new platform to support Māori-led approaches to adaptation planning, and protection for at-risk cultural sites of significance
- Legislation to ensure a consistent approach to supporting those communities most at risk.
The Guardian reports that in August 2022, heavy rains that lasted for days on the South Island of New Zealand caused floods and landslips that forced more than 500 people to evacuate from their homes. Amid this catastrophe, more rains are forecasted in the following days.
Nelson, a city on South Island, was the worst hit. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern visited the area to see the damage and to lift the spirits of damage-stunned residents. Nelson and Marlborough regions are in a state of emergency as of writing.
Minister of Climate Change James Shaw says although climate change is a global challenge, its impacts are felt locally in communities and individual homes. Preparing for climate change will ensure safer communities and protect livelihoods, jobs, and the environment.
He also said New Zealand is “one of the first countries in the world to put into law the globally agreed target to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. The Emissions Reduction Plan we published in May – and backed with a record investment of $2.9 billion – will make sure we are playing our part to achieve this goal.”
Managed retreat for communities is also one of the possibilities for communities to adapt to the changing climate aside from raising houses and building flood defences like sea walls. To help communities to make the best decision, the government will provide them with “really good information”, Shaw says. He adds that the emphasis was on empowering local communities to determine the risks and map out the options (Cardwell, 2022).
The 200-page National Adaptation Plan conveys the priorities for the next six years and puts in one place all government actions to adapt to climate change. The plan focuses on embedding climate resilience into all government strategies and policies.
Click this link to learn more about New Zealand’s first National Adaptation Plan.
First ever climate adaptation plan lays foundation for resilient communities. (3 August 2022). Retrieved from https://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/first-ever-climate-adaptation-plan-lays-foundations-resilient-communities
Cardwell, H. (2022, August 3). ‘Blueprint for more resilient communities’: Govt releases climate adaption plan. RNZ. Retrieved from https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/472127/blueprint-for-more-resilient-communities-govt-releases-climate-adaptation-plan
Urutau, ka taurikura: Kia tū pakari a Aotearoa i ngā huringa āhuarangi Adapt and thrive: Building a climate-resilient New Zealand – New Zealand’s first national adaptation plan. (2022 August 3). Ministry for the Environment: Retrieved from https://environment.govt.nz/publications/aotearoa-new-zealands-first-national-adaptation-plan/
New Zealand authorities warn more heavy rain to hit flooded South Island. (21 August 2022). The Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/aug/21/new-zealand-authorities-warn-more-heavy-rain-to-hit-flooded-south-island