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Climate change and rural communities: 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 rural communities, 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 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 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 rural 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.

Rural communities are often more exposed and isolated than others, making them more at risk of extreme climate events and slow onset changes. Access to disaster response and recovery support can be more limited.

Rural communities tend to rely heavily on resources like productive land and water supplies for activities such as agriculture and horticulture. Climate change impacts both the availability of resources and the productivity of land-based industries.

Extreme weather events and climate-related risk can create long-term disruption in communities, even to the extent of communities needing to temporarily or permanently relocate away from a high-risk area. Rural communities can be particularly affected by the resulting disruption of social networks and support services.

Many Māori live in rural areas and have strong connections to the land, environment, history and taonga that can be at threat from 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:

Natural environment

The ‘Natural environment’ chapter concerns Aotearoa New Zealand’s land, freshwater and marine environments, and includes all flora and fauna from the mountains, lakes and rivers to native forests, coasts, oceans and farmlands. A thriving natural environment is intrinsic to New Zealand’s lifestyle, industry, wellbeing and cultural identity. An action that might interest you is:

  • Implement the Water Availability and Security programme: this programme will help primary sector businesses and rural communities adapt to increasingly variable freshwater supply. Taking its lead from the National Policy Statement on Freshwater Management, it will help restore and maintain the health of fresh waterways and support ways to reduce demand and make the best use of available water supply.


This chapter sets out how we’ll support all communities around New Zealand, including rural communities, to adapt to climate change now and in the future. This recognises that different communities face different risks and vulnerabilities. Actions that might interest you include the following:

  • Raise awareness of climate-related hazards and how to prepare: to help communities understand hazards, know what to do before and during an emergency event, and make emergency preparedness a part of everyday life, this programme will involve increasing public education campaigns and tailored resources.
  • Expand current funding for proactive community resilience: this programme will seek to expand the funding provided to Māori to build their community resilience through the COVID-19 pandemic and plug funding gaps for communities to carry out long-term resilience plans. Funding would be decentralised by expanding the scope of funds provided through Whānau Ora.
  • Build community resilience through social cohesion: improve inclusion and participation in society and build community resilience to lessen instability and isolation caused by climate change. The aim is to support the understanding of diversity within and across communities to allow everyone to feel safe and belong, and to access opportunities.
  • Connect communities to wider response and recovery support: this action will continue work with central and local government, communities, iwi, organisations and others to support effective and integrated disaster response and recovery. This allows for communities to be assisted through disaster events by networks that are locally led, regionally coordinated and nationally supported.

Economy and financial system

This chapter focuses on limiting the impacts of climate change on all sectors of our economy, including exports, local economies, supply chains and insurance. The ultimate goal is a high-wage, low-emissions economy that adapts and is resilient to a changing climate. Actions that might interest you include:

  • Continue delivering the Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures Fund: the fund supports innovative projects that design and test new approaches and solutions to risks, such as climate change, in the primary sector.
  • Identify the impacts of climate change on regional economies: this work will involve modelling the economic impacts of a changing climate on regional economies and providing guidance for assessing climate impacts in local economic decision making. This will help regions make informed assessments of their risks in their planning processes and reduce their exposure to climate-driven economic disruptions. Regional economic preparedness will also be bolstered by other proposals in the national adaptation plan, such as the Māori-led partnership.

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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