Our intentions: How well councils are implementing climate change actions

9 November 2023: This performance audit will look at how well a selection of councils are putting their climate change strategies, commitments, and plans into action

Climate changes are impacting on lives and society globally and in New Zealand. These changes impact most areas of public policy and a substantial and increasing amount of public money is being spent to respond to a changing climate.

Climate change means that New Zealand is at risk of experiencing more frequent and intense extreme weather events, rising sea levels, and increased droughts, all of which have significant economic, social, and environmental consequences.

Many public organisations have climate change-related roles and responsibilities. Councils have a significant role in meeting climate change challenges and in understanding, planning for, and responding to the effects of climate change.

What we’re focusing on

Our performance audit will look at how well a selection of councils are responding to climate change. We will look at how they have translated climate change strategies, commitments, and plans into action.

To do this, we will look at how councils identify actions to respond to climate change impacts, how they are implementing those actions, and how they are reporting progress to their communities.

We have selected four councils to look at: Environment Canterbury, Christchurch City Council, Nelson City Council, and Whanganui District Council.

The difference we expect to make

We recognise that all councils are at varying stages of progress in responding to climate change impacts and face a range of issues in doing so. This work will have a particular focus on identifying examples of good practice, including effective collaboration with other public and private organisations, and in examining how lessons have been learned and how challenges have been overcome.

We anticipate that our findings will help other councils to build and maintain momentum in their response to climate change. This work will also support councils to engage more effectively with their communities about their climate change actions.

We expect to complete this work in mid-2024.

Please use the feedback form on the right if you’d like to speak to a staff member about this performance audit, make a suggestion, or ask a question.