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LGNZ bring more tools to climate emergency fight

LGNZ is equipping councils with another key policy tool to help them gear their communities up for the impact of climate change with the release of the Exposed: Climate change and infrastructure guidance document.

Designed to provide councils with a consistent approach for assessing community asset exposure to sea level rise and inland flood risk, ‘Exposed,’ follows on from the ‘Vulnerable’ report, which highlighted the billions of dollars of local government infrastructure at risk from sea level rise.

“We’ve seen a number of councils declare climate emergencies, and this is another tool for them to use to better understand the impacts and prepare accordingly,” says LGNZ President Dave Cull.

“Some councils have been accused of overreacting to climate change and not having a plan of attack, which couldn’t be further from the truth. As a sector local government is leading the charge when it comes to climate change adaptation in New Zealand.”

“Our ‘Vulnerable’ report gave a clear picture of what is exposed to sea level rise risk, and both this report, as well as LGNZ’s previous resources have enabled more informed council decision making on climate change.”

“We know that the complexity of assessing the risks that climate change poses can be extremely daunting. That’s why this guidance document creates a step-by-step process for developing an exposure assessment.”

“This tool is a further step towards ensuring we have a complete and fit-for-purpose set of policy tools available to councils so that they can have evidence-based conversations with communities about how they adapt to the risks of climate change.

“Our goal with this work programme is to ensure that in 50 years’ time communities don’t regret the decisions that were made - or not made - today.”

The ‘Vulnerable’ report detailed the type, amount and replacement value of local government owned infrastructure exposed to sea level rise, revealing almost $8 billion at risk from 1.5 metres of sea level rise.

This followed the Climate Change and Natural Hazards Decision Making Toolkit released by LGNZ in May 2018, while Jack Hodder QC’s Climate change litigation – Who’s afraid of creative judges? legal opinion gave councils a gauge of the litigation risks that they face by choosing to recognise or ignore climate change-related risks in their decision-making.

“Communities have been vocal on the need for a national response to climate change, and councils across the country have recognised this in many ways.”

“LGNZ is still hoping to see national direction on climate change adaptation, but even without it, LGNZ will continue to step up the level of resourcing for councils, who are on the frontline of the battle against climate change,” continued Mr Cull.

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