Climate change adaptation technical working group

New Zealand needs to be better prepared to adapt to the effects of climate change. To help achieve this, in November 2016 the Government asked a group of technical experts across the public and private sectors to provide advice on how New Zealand could adapt to the effects of climate change.

Recommendations report

This is the group's second and final report. It provides recommendations for the actions New Zealand needs to take to build resilience to the effects of climate change, while growing the economy sustainably.

Stocktake report

The Stocktake report is the first report prepared by the Climate Change Adaptation Technical Working Group. It summarises the expected impacts of climate change on New Zealand over the medium and long term, takes stock of existing work on adaptation and identifies gaps in New Zealand’s current approach.

About the adaptation group

Adaptation expert Dr Judy Lawrence co-chairs the group alongside Penny Nelson, Ministry for the Environment’s Deputy Secretary, Environmental Performance, Innovation & Climate. The group's members are experts in sectors that are exposed to or require an active response to the impacts of climate change. They include representatives from central and local government, iwi, banking, insurance, engineering, science and agriculture. Group members have been appointed for a term of 18 months.

See Terms of reference [DOC, 21 KB]

Group members

Climate change adaptation technical working group members
Dr Judy Lawrence (Co-chair)

Dr Judy Lawrence is Senior Research Fellow, Climate Change Research Institute, Victoria University Wellington.

Judy has a PhD in Public Policy on the adequacy of institutional frameworks and practice for climate change adaptation decision-making. She has led research on community vulnerability, resilience and adaptation to climate change, and on climate change impacts and implications for decision-making with regional and local government and sector stakeholders.

Judy currently leads the Cascading Impacts and Implications, and the Adaptive Tools and Measures Projects in the Deep South National Science Challenge and contributes to the Resilience Governance and The Living Edge (coastal) Projects in the Resilience National Science Challenge.

Her collaborations internationally have brought new adaptive pathways planning approaches to New Zealand resource management, now being adopted by councils. Since 2005, Judy has been Director of PS Consulting Ltd, a strategy and policy consultancy in science, climate change adaptation and related governance and institutional issues. Before this she was Director of the New Zealand Climate Change Office at the Ministry for the Environment and has held a range of senior positions across government and in research. 

Penny Nelson (Co-chair)

Ms Penny Nelson holds policy responsibility for climate change, the marine environment and hazardous substances and new organisms. This includes oversight of the Environmental Protection Authority. She is also responsible for environmental monitoring and reporting, the Ministry’s interests in the science system, New Zealand’s commitments to international environmental agreements, and leadership of the Natural Resources Sector.

Penny brings a strong focus on building partnerships across sectors and a wealth of leadership experience in government, business and the scientific community including the Sustainable Business Council, Ministry for Social Development, Dairy NZ and Landcare Research.

Penny has returned to the Ministry, having worked here between 1998 and 2004. Penny holds a Masters of Science (Hons) in Resource Management from Lincoln University and a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Political Science and English Literature from Otago University.

Frances Sullivan, Principal Policy Advisor, Local Government New Zealand

Ms Frances Sullivan joined Local Government New Zealand in 2008.

She provides advice, sector advocacy, and stakeholder management in the key areas of building regulation and earthquake-prone building policy, climate change, emissions trading, natural hazards, flood risk management, solid waste, biosecurity, biodiversity, and the New Zealand Aid Programme. Frances previously worked for Environment Canterbury as a Programme Manager for land, pests, water, and air and the regulation group. 

James Hughes, Climate and Resilience Specialist, Tonkin + Taylor

Mr James Hughes has recently joined Tonkin + Taylor as a climate and resilience specialist. Before this he worked for engineering design experts AECOM (1999‑2017).

James has been involved in roles ranging from design and construction of major civil engineering projects through to strategic studies focusing on risk, resilience and sustainability. Much of James’ recent work has focused on the areas of resilience to hazards (including climate change), risk assessments, and project sustainability.

He has been involved in a wide range of projects within the broader urban resilience field including the Rockefeller 100 Resilient Cities Project, climate change adaptation studies, and infrastructure resilience assessments. Recently he has been helping Local Government New Zealand develop risk management frameworks for consultation as part of the proposed Local Government Risk Agency. He has written and presented extensively on topics relating to risk and resilience as they apply to infrastructure, the built environment, and communities. 

Bryce Davies, Senior Manager Government and Stakeholder Relations, IAG

Mr Davies led the development of the first Resilient New Zealand report on the role that businesses can play together to help New Zealand be better prepared for, and recover from, future natural disasters. Resilient New Zealand was set up by engineering, banking, insurance, telecommunications and aid organisations to identify, champion and advocate ways New Zealand can be more resilient to natural disasters.

Before IAG, Mr Davies held roles across the insurance and banking sectors. 

Bruce Wills, farmer and businessman

Mr Bruce Wills and his family farm sheep and cattle on the hills north of Napier and run a small on-farm tourist business. Before farming he spent 20 years in banking and investment in Hamilton, Wellington and Auckland.

Bruce has a strong focus on the environment, and is a previous Hawke’s Bay Farm Environmental Award winner. He was the National President of Federated Farmers from 2011 to 2014. He currently holds governance roles with Ravensdown, QEII National Trust, Horticulture NZ, Motu Economic & Public Policy Research, Todd Foundation, Primary Growth Partnership P2P, Our Land and Water (National Science Challenge) Cape to City, NZ Poplar & Willow Research Trust, Resilience to Nature’s Challenges (National Science Challenge), and ApicultureNZ.

Dr Sam Dean, Chief Scientist, Climate and Atmosphere Centre, NIWA

Dr Sam Dean is an expert on the drivers of climate variability in New Zealand and Antarctica, particularly human-induced climate change.

His research has identified the contribution of human-induced warming to intensifying current New Zealand weather extremes like droughts and floods. Recently he has been part of a team investigating the interactions between Antarctic sea-ice, atmospheric circulation, and the Southern Ocean.

Sam joined NIWA in 2006 after working as a researcher at the University of Oxford, UK. He began his role as Chief Scientist in 2015, and now oversees NIWA’s climate change and hazards science.

Kirk Hope, Chief Executive of BusinessNZ

Mr Kirk Hope is Chief Executive of BusinessNZ, New Zealand’s largest business advocacy body, advocating for New Zealand’s success through sustainable market-led growth. 

Kirk previously led the New Zealand Bankers’ Association and Financial Services Federation after holding a range of senior positions at Westpac, including Head of Government Relations and Regulatory Affairs. A barrister and solicitor with a master’s degree in law focused on regulation of financial services, Kirk also holds a postgraduate honours degree in political science. For five years he was a member of the Commercial and Business Law Committee of the New Zealand Law Society.

Tina Porou, Lead Technical Advisor to the Iwi Advisors Group

Ms Tina Porou is of Ngāti Porou and Ngāti Tūwharetoa decent. Ms Porou is the Lead Technical Advisor to the Iwi Advisors Group and has previously been a member of the Climate Change Iwi Leaders Group (now a part of Pou Taiao – Iwi Leaders Group). Tina is the founding director of Poipoia and holds board of governance positions on the Lake Taupo Forest Trust, the Wharerata Forest Company, and the Pahiitaua Incorporation.

Tina’s former roles include head of Sustainability, Environment and Communities at Contact Energy and she has been on the board of various entities including the Waste Minimisation Board for the Ministry for the Environment.

Tina was announced as a Blake Leader in the Sir Peter Blake Trust 2015 leadership awards and is a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

Dr Gavin Palmer, Director
– Engineering, Hazards and Science, Otago Regional Council

Dr Gavin Palmer has been Director of Engineering, Hazards and Science at the Otago Regional Council since 2013. 

Before that he held the position of Director Environmental Engineering and Natural Hazards for nine years. In this role he leads work on considering how best to minimise the risk of natural hazards in the Otago Region (such as flood hazards in South Dunedin). This work includes consideration of the effects of climate change on natural hazards.

Gavin has 25 years work experience in the areas of flood protection, land drainage, stormwater management, and natural hazards. He has had technical and management roles within Waikato Regional Council, Auckland City Council, and Watercare Services Ltd.

Gavin is a member of the Institution of Professional Engineers of New Zealand.