The saying that the only constant in life is change rings especially true right now, with central government working on several reform programmes that will have a significant impact on local government and our communities. In this monthly column, I’ll provide updates on major reforms and explain how you can have your say on these important changes.

Climate Action Week starts on Saturday (4 June), so this month’s column focusses on the Government’s plan for Aotearoa New Zealand’s climate change response and a new Emergency Management Bill that will impact the way we support our regional Civil Defence team. 

Climate change

The Government’s first national adaptation plan is out for consultation and looks at how New Zealand will respond and adapt to the impacts of climate change. You can make a submission here before they close on 3 June.

The plan focuses on three areas:

  • Reforming institutions to be fit for a changing climate

  • Providing data, information and guidance to enable everyone to assess their own climate risks

  • Embedding climate resilience across government strategies and policies.
The adaptation plan will work alongside the emissions reduction plan, which was released on 16 May and sets out how our nation will progress towards the goal of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. That plan covers transport, energy, buildings, waste, forestry, and agriculture, and there is naturally much within it that local councils are being asked to work on.

A good example is a target to make sure most New Zealand homes have access to a kerbside food waste collection by 2030. We may be well on our way to achieving this, as we ran a trial version in 2021, but there is still plenty to do to provide the service right across the City.

Council is making a submission on the draft plan, which is due to be finalised in August 2022.

Civil defence changes

The Government’s new Emergency Management Bill seeks to strengthen New Zealand’s emergency management system so that:

  • Communities better understand risks and are better prepared to respond to and recover from emergencies

  • Iwi and Māori participation is recognised, enabled and valued

  • The emergency management system is well-coordinated, high-performing and enjoys widespread trust

  • Impacts of emergencies on people, the economy and the environment are reduced.

Nelson City Council and Tasman District Council are jointly responsible for supporting our Civil Defence Emergency Management team when an emergency occurs. Recent examples include both councils' support during the Pigeon Valley forest fires and our COVID-19 response.

Council and the public will be able to make a submission towards the end of the year when the Bill is released.

– Chief Executive Pat Dougherty