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Climate change and Pacific peoples: 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 Pacific peoples, 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, 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 helps us adapt to what is happening today and better prepares us for future risks.

The national adaptation plan sets out what actions the Government will take over the next six years to help all 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 Pacific communities, on the draft plan. We want to 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 property, risks to our infrastructure and economy, like broken roads or water supply, and risks to 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.

Pacific peoples are very experienced in responding to extreme weather events.  These events and land inundation will increase significantly across the Pacific region due to climate change. This will have a direct and significant impact on Pacific nations, from their physical, cultural and mental wellbeing, to their livelihoods, to where they are able to live.

As climate impacts become more severe, Pacific communities in Aotearoa will also be affected. Pacific peoples often have more crowded households and less financial resilience, making them more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. In New Zealand there will be more frequent extreme storms and floods, which could damage some homes, churches, workplaces and infrastructure. In some cases, families and communities may need move away from high-risk or disaster-struck areas and resettle in new suburbs.

New Zealand will also experience more extremely hot days – which can create health risks for people with underlying health problems and for people who work outside. 

As extreme weather events become more frequent because of the locked-in impacts of climate change, it’s important that the national adaptation plan meets the needs of Pacific communities and reflects your voices and experience.

Please give us your feedback

Please take the opportunity to have your say on the national adaptation plan. You can make a submission until Friday 3 June. 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:

Communities

This chapter sets out how we’ll support all communities around New Zealand, including Pacific communities, to help them adapt to climate change now and in the future. Actions in this chapter that might interest you include:

  • Expand current funding for proactive community resilience: this programme is about increasing funding to communities to adapt to climate change and its future impacts. It would expand the community funding provided during COVID-19, provide funding for communities to carry out their own long-term plans, and make more funds available through Whānau Ora.
  • Implement the Climate Migration Action Plan: this plan aims to support Pacific peoples to live in their own countries where possible, and to grow and thrive even when climate change impacts mean displacement or migration. Important values include retaining social and cultural identities for Pacific peoples, determined with and by the communities themselves.

Homes, buildings and places

This chapter is about how to protect and maintain the stability, safety and cultural and personal value of our homes, marae, urban environments and community spaces in the face of climate change impacts. Actions that might interest you include:

  • Work with community housing providers to enable effective climate hazard response: this action is about reducing climate-related risks for community housing properties and tenants. Community housing providers will get better data and information, and an action plan will be developed for emergency management and long-term adaptation in community housing properties. Partnerships with Māori and Pacific community providers will ensure connections to whenua and places of cultural value are reflected in the plan. 
  • Build property resilience: this action involves researching the impacts of climate change on different types of housing and possible adaptation strategies; guidance to homeowners and occupiers about managing climate change impacts and risks; and a framework to help building owners, developers and builders identify climate risks and understand their building’s adaptation requirements.
  • Design methodology for risk assessments of public buildings: this is about making sure risk assessment of public buildings considers things like cultural and heritage values, and includes important ‘social infrastructure’ like hospitals, churches and schools.

System-wide actions

This chapter is about ensuring adaptation work across all sectors is well coordinated, has the right legislation and institutions to support it, and is based on clear, accessible data and information about climate change and risk. An action that might interest you is:

  • Implement the programme Climate Crisis—Defence Readiness and Response: this programme will explore the links between climate change and security, and how climate change will influence future Defence Force operations. It identifies actions the Defence Force can take on climate change and sustainability and emphasises the importance of working with and learning from our Pacific communities to understand and respond to climate impacts.

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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