Kāpiti welcomes national plan for adapting to climate change
A new national plan for adapting to climate change provide valuable support for councils and communities struggling with the costs and complexities of preparing for environmental and social challenges caused by our changing climate, Kāpiti Coast District Mayor K Gurunathan says.
“The plan includes actions that will directly support issues we’ve been dealing with in Kāpiti, such as changing legal requirements for land information memoranda (LIMs) so people are better informed about natural hazard risk when buying a property.
“This will give councils greater certainty about what information to include on LIMs, including linking to a suite of information and data portals about the risks, which are also being developed as part of the plan.”
Mayor Gurunathan said the plan explicitly acknowledged that local government is on the front line of climate change.
Councils have statutory responsibilities to avoid or reduce the effects of natural hazards and must have regard to the effects of climate change when making certain decisions. Councils are also responsible for emergency management and improving community resilience through public education and local planning.
“This all adds up to a big ask of local communities, especially those like ours whose sole income is from our ratepayers rather than big income-earning public assets like ports.
“It makes complete sense that data, tools, information and funding is shared or comes from better resourced and skilled central government agencies.”
Council coastal manager Lyndsey Craig said the plan aligned well with the goals and activities of the Takutai Kāpiti coastal adaptation project.
“This and the recent MfE interim guidance on the use of new sea level rise projections shows that Takutai Kāpiti aligns with national direction and puts Kāpiti on the map as leading the charge in a tangata whenua, Council, community-based approach to coastal adaptation.
The plan provides useful guidance and information to assist Kāpiti’s efforts to develop a strategy for managing coastal hazards caused by sea level rise or the increasingly wild and unpredictable weather due to climate change.
“A key goal for our project is to reduce or eliminate exposure to risk for public assets and infrastructure. The national plan is an important acknowledgement that we’re not the only community dealing with this.
“It will apply economies of scale to crucial data and projections and create legislative and institutional changes that we need to support local adaptation planning and action,” Ms Craig said.
“It acknowledges our feedback that smaller, less well-resourced local councils with small ratepayer bases may require additional central government support for adaptation planning and implementation but at this stage doesn’t provide any certainty for us on funding.
“However, it’s good to see actions in the plan such as setting national direction on natural hazard risk management and climate adaptation through the proposed new National Planning Framework show how vital this work is – it’s not just a ‘nice to have’ and no longer anything we can ignore.
“Crucially, it will provide guidance, framework and funding which will elevate te ao Maōri and mātauranga Māori into the overall climate response. This will enrich our understanding of coastal hazards and climate impacts on our community and embed iwi knowledge and tikanga in all our decisions.”