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‘Responses to effects of climate change need government funding support’

Waikato Regional Council says the Government should be prepared to stump up funding to support local authorities in community adaptation planning and implementation.

Councillors shared the sentiment as they considered the council’s submission to the Environment Select Committee’s inquiry into options for community-led managed retreat and adaptation funding at its November meeting of the Strategy and Policy Committee.

Recommendations from the inquiry will support the development of the Climate Change Adaptation Bill which is anticipated to provide guidance on funding models.

The council’s submission points out the need to have in legislation mechanisms that provide reliable access to central government funding as it recognises the needs of communities will be different as they confront the effects of climate change.

Policy Implementation Team Leader Alejandro Cifuentes told councillors the main funding mechanism is currently through a beneficiary pays approach and is actioned by local government.

He said a system that can provide funding avenues will lead to equitable opportunity of access and also recognises the limitations of specific communities to pay for adaptation planning and implementation.

Waikato regional councillor and Strategy and Policy Committee Chair Warren Maher said this was an opportunity to advocate for outcomes that will support local government to respond to increasing demands for assistance with adaptation planning.

“We need to be in a position where we can further enable communities to respond to the risks linked to natural hazards that are exacerbated by climate change,” said Cr Maher.

The council’s submission makes recommendations based on its experience working collaboratively with territorial authorities and iwi in community adaptation long term planning.

“We are working to meet the challenges of adapting to natural hazards risk in a changing climate, but the reality is there are capacity and resource limitations,” said Cr Maher.

“Councillors also discussed and generally agreed that the burden of paying for adaptation should not fall solely to communities. Central government needs to stump up with funding.”


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