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Climate change and disabled people: Have your say on the draft national adaptation plan

We’re consulting on a draft national plan to help Aotearoa New Zealand adapt to and minimise the harmful impacts of climate change.  

We’re asking for feedback from all communities, including disabled people, on the draft plan. 

Consultation will close at 11:59pm on 3 June 2022.   

Read the full consultation document and the draft national adaptation plan, and have your say.

The national adaptation plan

The Government is putting together a new plan to help New Zealanders adapt to the effects of climate change now, and better protect us against changes to come. Many impacts are already with us, with unstable and unpredictable weather, worsening floods, droughts and storms, changes in the environment and rising sea levels around coastlines. Some changes are already locked in and can’t be reversed, which is why the Government is creating a plan that will help us adapt to what is happening today and better prepare us for future risks.

The national adaptation plan sets out what actions the Government will take over the next six years to help New Zealanders adapt and thrive in a changing climate. It has actions relevant to every sector and community in New Zealand, and addresses the priority risks that need action now.

We’re asking for feedback from all communities, including disabled people, on the draft plan. We want to understand how climate change impacts you and make sure the final plan, due to be published in August, has your input.

Managing risk now and for the future

In 2020, the National Climate Change Risk Assessment set out the main risks New Zealanders face from the impacts of climate change up to 2026.

These include risks to people, like health or losing possessions, risks to our infrastructure and economy, like broken roads or water supply, our natural environment and future generations.

The National Adaptation Plan is an all of government plan about what we will do to manage these risks, as we adapt to a different and changing climate.

Why this plan affects you

Everyone is affected by climate change. But some people are more vulnerable to the damaging effects than others. We must make sure the national adaptation plan meets their needs.

Some disabled people will face greater barriers to evacuation during climate-related events. They may also be more vulnerable to impacts like excessive heat, cold or damp, and rely on power for life-supporting equipment.

If a community needs to move, temporarily or permanently, because of climate change risk, people with physical disabilities and limited mobility will need accessible locations and housing. Some people will need stronger support for the process of settling into a new home and location.

Climate-related events and the slow onset of other impacts like sea-level rise can also disrupt social communities, networks and support services that are vital to the everyday life and wellbeing of disabled people.

It’s important that the national adaptation plan takes these things into account and provides what disabled people need to adapt to the impacts of climate change.

Please give us your feedback

We want to know what you think of the actions within the national adaptation plan and to hear your suggestions about what may be missing or not needed.

You might want to focus on the following chapters and actions:


The ‘Communities’ chapter sets out how we’ll support all communities around New Zealand, including disabled people, to help them adapt to climate change. Actions in this chapter that might interest you include the following.

  • Develop a Health National Adaptation Plan: this would involve identifying all groups that are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and making sure the health sector can plan for meeting their needs as part of any adaptation.
  • Continue with the reform of the health and disability system: the health and disability system is being restructured to be simpler and more coordinated. This will allow for better and more consistent care that’s shaped by the voices of consumers, communities and whānau, and much stronger institutional partnerships with iwi and Māori.


The ‘Infrastructure’ chapter covers sectors like transport and energy. It sets out what we need to do to ensure our physical infrastructure, like roads and water supply, can withstand the impact of climate change. One of the actions in this chapter is to:

  • Develop a methodology for assessing impacts on physical assets and the services they provide: this is to ensure that, when a physical piece of infrastructure is damaged in a climate event, the assessment of the damage and its effects covers the effect on all groups including disabled people.

Let us know what you think of the plan

Please take the opportunity to have your say on the draft national adaptation plan. You can make a submission until Friday 3 June. We want to hear your views on how well the plan meets your needs.

Read the draft national adaptation plan

Read our consultation material

Read the plan summary

Make a submission

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