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Climate Adaptation Law Reform: a lot of argument still to come

Policy Quarterly (Feb 2022)

New Zealand’s existing law and policy is not adequate to provide for appropriate adaptation to the effects of climate change. The government has adopted recommendations to replace the current Resource Management Act with a new suite of resource management laws, including for climate adaptation. The recommendations include bold measures to ensure that people and property are not subject to climate hazards in the future, and for funding mechanisms to enable the required changes. Much policy is still to be developed but the potential exists for better adaptation planning and decisions, with more certainty and lower litigation risks. This article summarises the proposed reforms and comments on how well they provide what is needed for better climate adaptation laws.