Management Framework

The international programmes New Zealand has committed to sets the context for national policy and direction for managing natural hazards and adapting to climate change, which councils then implement. In addition, there are some overarching legislative responsibilities and requirements which councils (both regional and city) must comply with.

This diagram shows how more than one piece of legislation or national policy can apply when local government is undertaking its role or function.


Decision making

The Local Government Act 2002 (LGA) provides a general framework, obligations, restrictions and powers for councils to operate. The LGA requires councils to give regard to the avoidance or mitigation of natural hazards when performing its role in making decisions and undertake financial planning for risk reduction activities. These requirements encompass both present and anticipated future circumstances , with a need to take into account the foreseeable needs of future generations. There is no statutory responsibility under the LGA for councils to protect property from encroachment from the sea, but councils may choose to do so as part of this decision-making process.

Any decision making undertaken under the LGA, or the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA), needs to take into account the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi. This includes the need to consult with Māori to meet the principle of partnership.


Communicating known hazard information

Under the Local Government and Official Information and Meetings Act 1987 (LGOIMA) district councils are obliged to issue Land Information Memoranda (LIM) on request. This must include information known to the council on (amongst other things) the potential hazards related to the site.

Sections 31-35 of the Building Act 2004 also requires councils to issue Project Information Memoranda (PIM) on request. A PIM must include information likely to be relevant to the building work that identifies each special feature of the land concerned including potential natural hazards.

Regional councils also provide a Land Information Request (LIR) as requested. LIRs are not prepared under any legislation, but like LIMs and PIMs provide known natural hazard information that is held by the Regional Council on a particular site.


Regulation of buildings

The Building Act 2004 regulates building work and can be used to manage natural hazard risk through:

  • performance standards in the building code;
  • refusal of building consent where the land is exposed to multiple hazards, or will accelerate or worsen adverse effects, unless the building can be adequately protected.

Section 72 of the Building Act offers a solution to the Council refusing a building consent by allowing, in certain situations, an owner to take the risk of building on such hazardous land but requires that a warning is placed on the legal title. This warns future property owners of the potential hazard, and reduces the liability for the Council and for EQC if there is damage to the land as a result of that hazard.


Regulation of land use and subdivision

The RMA is the key tool for managing natural hazard risk. The management of significant risks from natural hazards must be recognised and provided for, and all decisions must have particular regard, among other things, to the effects of climate change. This is achieved through the regional and district policies and plans, and the associated resource consent process.

The NZCPS states objectives and policies to achieve the purpose of the RMA while managing the coastal environment. This includes managing coastal hazard risks, taking climate change into account, by locating new development away from areas prone to such risks, considering responses, including managed retreat, for existing development and protecting or restoring natural defences to coastal hazards . The NZCPS is required to be ‘given effect to’ in district or regional plans, and must be had ‘regard to’ in decisions on resource consent applications. Regional policy statements, regional coastal plans and district plans must give effect to the NZCPS (sections 62(3), 67(3) and 75(3) of the RMA).

The Canterbury Regional Policy Statement 2013 (CRPS) provides direction, priorities and outlines responsibilities for natural hazard management. In some instances it directs district and regional plans to include rules relating to either Environment Canterbury or Christchurch City Council functions. The Regional Coastal Environment Plan for Canterbury (RCEP) manages activities in the coastal marine area (CMA), while the Christchurch District Plan manages new development, subdivision and land use.

This diagram shows where the different RMA plans apply to the coast and land. The coastal marine area (CMA) is the area below Mean High Water Springs. This line changes over time depending on how coastal processes change the land and coast interface.

Under the RMA, Council RMA planning documents must be reviewed every 10 years , but because of the permanence of buildings and development regulated through these tools, they often seek to achieve strategic outcomes for the next 50-100 years.


Financial, asset management planning

Through the Long Term Plan (LTP) and asset management planning process (covering 10 years), councils must make decisions about:

  • what level of natural hazard protection will be provided (in the case of flood protection works); or
  • what level of event assets are to withstand (in the case of network infrastructure) in the next 10 years.

An infrastructure strategy is prepared as part of an LTP (every three years). While the LTP and asset management planning only plans for the next 10-years, the infrastructure strategy is required to plan for at least 30 years which includes consideration of the resilience of infrastructure in the event of natural disasters, sea level rise and climate change.

In addition, various tools are available to manage council assets and services, and to protect communities from natural hazards. These include:

  • Using powers under the LGA to make bylaws, and stop roads
  • Establishing special rating areas under the Local Government (Rating) Act 2002
  • Using powers under the Soil Conservation and Rivers Control Act 1941 and Christchurch Drainage Act 1951 for flood protection and control works
  • Using the Public Works Act 1981 which allows central government or councils to acquire private land for public purposes
  • Development of reserve management and development plans under the Reserve Act 1977


Emergency Management Planning

The Civil Defence and Emergency Management Act 2002 (CDEMA) requires councils to co-ordinate and participate in risk reduction, readiness, response and recovery through regional Civil Defence and Emergency Management Groups.

Civil Defence and Emergency Management group plans are developed at the regional level and focus on co-ordination, having systems in place, and encouraging communities to achieve acceptable levels of risk. These can be supplemented by community resilience plans which can apply to a specific area or group outlining how they as communities and individuals will support each other, and how the Canterbury Civil Defence and Emergency Management Group will support them during reduction, readiness, response and recovery. There is no community resilience plan for Southshore and South New Brighton as yet, however there is an opportunity to develop one in future with the Christchurch Civil Defence Emergency Management Team.


Regeneration

The Greater Christchurch Regeneration Act 2016 (GCRA) aims to facilitate the regeneration of the Greater Christchurch area following the 2010 and 2011 Canterbury earthquakes and provides additional powers to central government and councils to expedite this process where necessary, and to manage and make decisions regarding the future use of residential red zoned land.

Regenerate Christchurch is responsible for determining the future use of the red zone. For the Ōtākaro Avon River Corridor red zone land this is being undertaken through the development of the Ōtākaro Avon River Corridor Regeneration Plan. The future of the red zoned land at South New Brighton and Southshore will be influenced by the Southshore and South New Brighton Regeneration Strategy, and ideas for its use will be gathered through the process.


Adaptation

There has been a recent push nationally among researchers, practitioners and agencies for a more coordinated approach and better tools to assist with adapting to climate change.

The discussion document on the Zero Carbon Bill was recently consulted on, and proposed a number of tools to support adaptation decision making including providing more national direction through a national adaptation plan and national climate change risk assessment, and reporting requirements.

The Ministry for the Environment guidance on coastal hazards and climate change provides councils with a recommended best practice process to undertake adaptation with communities. This process is being used to develop the Regeneration Strategy for Southshore and South New Brighton.


Guidance

There is a range of best practice guidance for councils to manage natural hazards (such as potentially liquefaction prone land), preparing for climate change, and to implement the NZCPS coastal hazard objectives and policies. It is anticipated that more guidance will be provided in future as understanding of natural hazard risk and adaptation for climate change in the New Zealand situation improves.

The international programmes New Zealand has committed to sets the context for national policy and direction for managing natural hazards and adapting to climate change, which councils then implement. In addition, there are some overarching legislative responsibilities and requirements which councils (both regional and city) must comply with.

This diagram shows how more than one piece of legislation or national policy can apply when local government is undertaking its role or function.


Decision making

The Local Government Act 2002 (LGA) provides a general framework, obligations, restrictions and powers for councils to operate. The LGA requires councils to give regard to the avoidance or mitigation of natural hazards when performing its role in making decisions and undertake financial planning for risk reduction activities. These requirements encompass both present and anticipated future circumstances , with a need to take into account the foreseeable needs of future generations. There is no statutory responsibility under the LGA for councils to protect property from encroachment from the sea, but councils may choose to do so as part of this decision-making process.

Any decision making undertaken under the LGA, or the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA), needs to take into account the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi. This includes the need to consult with Māori to meet the principle of partnership.


Communicating known hazard information

Under the Local Government and Official Information and Meetings Act 1987 (LGOIMA) district councils are obliged to issue Land Information Memoranda (LIM) on request. This must include information known to the council on (amongst other things) the potential hazards related to the site.

Sections 31-35 of the Building Act 2004 also requires councils to issue Project Information Memoranda (PIM) on request. A PIM must include information likely to be relevant to the building work that identifies each special feature of the land concerned including potential natural hazards.

Regional councils also provide a Land Information Request (LIR) as requested. LIRs are not prepared under any legislation, but like LIMs and PIMs provide known natural hazard information that is held by the Regional Council on a particular site.


Regulation of buildings

The Building Act 2004 regulates building work and can be used to manage natural hazard risk through:

  • performance standards in the building code;
  • refusal of building consent where the land is exposed to multiple hazards, or will accelerate or worsen adverse effects, unless the building can be adequately protected.

Section 72 of the Building Act offers a solution to the Council refusing a building consent by allowing, in certain situations, an owner to take the risk of building on such hazardous land but requires that a warning is placed on the legal title. This warns future property owners of the potential hazard, and reduces the liability for the Council and for EQC if there is damage to the land as a result of that hazard.


Regulation of land use and subdivision

The RMA is the key tool for managing natural hazard risk. The management of significant risks from natural hazards must be recognised and provided for, and all decisions must have particular regard, among other things, to the effects of climate change. This is achieved through the regional and district policies and plans, and the associated resource consent process.

The NZCPS states objectives and policies to achieve the purpose of the RMA while managing the coastal environment. This includes managing coastal hazard risks, taking climate change into account, by locating new development away from areas prone to such risks, considering responses, including managed retreat, for existing development and protecting or restoring natural defences to coastal hazards . The NZCPS is required to be ‘given effect to’ in district or regional plans, and must be had ‘regard to’ in decisions on resource consent applications. Regional policy statements, regional coastal plans and district plans must give effect to the NZCPS (sections 62(3), 67(3) and 75(3) of the RMA).

The Canterbury Regional Policy Statement 2013 (CRPS) provides direction, priorities and outlines responsibilities for natural hazard management. In some instances it directs district and regional plans to include rules relating to either Environment Canterbury or Christchurch City Council functions. The Regional Coastal Environment Plan for Canterbury (RCEP) manages activities in the coastal marine area (CMA), while the Christchurch District Plan manages new development, subdivision and land use.

This diagram shows where the different RMA plans apply to the coast and land. The coastal marine area (CMA) is the area below Mean High Water Springs. This line changes over time depending on how coastal processes change the land and coast interface.

Under the RMA, Council RMA planning documents must be reviewed every 10 years , but because of the permanence of buildings and development regulated through these tools, they often seek to achieve strategic outcomes for the next 50-100 years.


Financial, asset management planning

Through the Long Term Plan (LTP) and asset management planning process (covering 10 years), councils must make decisions about:

  • what level of natural hazard protection will be provided (in the case of flood protection works); or
  • what level of event assets are to withstand (in the case of network infrastructure) in the next 10 years.

An infrastructure strategy is prepared as part of an LTP (every three years). While the LTP and asset management planning only plans for the next 10-years, the infrastructure strategy is required to plan for at least 30 years which includes consideration of the resilience of infrastructure in the event of natural disasters, sea level rise and climate change.

In addition, various tools are available to manage council assets and services, and to protect communities from natural hazards. These include:

  • Using powers under the LGA to make bylaws, and stop roads
  • Establishing special rating areas under the Local Government (Rating) Act 2002
  • Using powers under the Soil Conservation and Rivers Control Act 1941 and Christchurch Drainage Act 1951 for flood protection and control works
  • Using the Public Works Act 1981 which allows central government or councils to acquire private land for public purposes
  • Development of reserve management and development plans under the Reserve Act 1977


Emergency Management Planning

The Civil Defence and Emergency Management Act 2002 (CDEMA) requires councils to co-ordinate and participate in risk reduction, readiness, response and recovery through regional Civil Defence and Emergency Management Groups.

Civil Defence and Emergency Management group plans are developed at the regional level and focus on co-ordination, having systems in place, and encouraging communities to achieve acceptable levels of risk. These can be supplemented by community resilience plans which can apply to a specific area or group outlining how they as communities and individuals will support each other, and how the Canterbury Civil Defence and Emergency Management Group will support them during reduction, readiness, response and recovery. There is no community resilience plan for Southshore and South New Brighton as yet, however there is an opportunity to develop one in future with the Christchurch Civil Defence Emergency Management Team.


Regeneration

The Greater Christchurch Regeneration Act 2016 (GCRA) aims to facilitate the regeneration of the Greater Christchurch area following the 2010 and 2011 Canterbury earthquakes and provides additional powers to central government and councils to expedite this process where necessary, and to manage and make decisions regarding the future use of residential red zoned land.

Regenerate Christchurch is responsible for determining the future use of the red zone. For the Ōtākaro Avon River Corridor red zone land this is being undertaken through the development of the Ōtākaro Avon River Corridor Regeneration Plan. The future of the red zoned land at South New Brighton and Southshore will be influenced by the Southshore and South New Brighton Regeneration Strategy, and ideas for its use will be gathered through the process.


Adaptation

There has been a recent push nationally among researchers, practitioners and agencies for a more coordinated approach and better tools to assist with adapting to climate change.

The discussion document on the Zero Carbon Bill was recently consulted on, and proposed a number of tools to support adaptation decision making including providing more national direction through a national adaptation plan and national climate change risk assessment, and reporting requirements.

The Ministry for the Environment guidance on coastal hazards and climate change provides councils with a recommended best practice process to undertake adaptation with communities. This process is being used to develop the Regeneration Strategy for Southshore and South New Brighton.


Guidance

There is a range of best practice guidance for councils to manage natural hazards (such as potentially liquefaction prone land), preparing for climate change, and to implement the NZCPS coastal hazard objectives and policies. It is anticipated that more guidance will be provided in future as understanding of natural hazard risk and adaptation for climate change in the New Zealand situation improves.