The RMA Quality Planning Resource

Managing common hazards over council boundaries

Some natural hazards are site specific while others may cover large areas and cross local authority boundaries. Local authorities with overlapping hazard issues can work collaboratively to manage hazards in their districts or across a region/s. It is also necessary to determine together which council is responsible for:

  • researching and providing the key information on each natural hazard (and what should the information consist of)
  • identifying and mapping each hazard, and how to go about sharing this information
  • carrying out public education and communication campaigns
  • planning for and managing each aspect of hazard risk, including responding to hazard events (under the RMA as well the CDEM Acts)     
  • developing and implementing hazard mitigation plans for particular hazards.

These responsibilities can be formalised by agreements or memorandums of understanding between authorities on hazard management responsibilities and roles, or outlined in the regional policy statement. Triennial agreements under the LGA are tied into the Regional Policy Statement (RPS) preparation process by Clause 3A of Schedule 1 of the RMA. They require a more collaborative process for the development of RPSs, and provide a possible means around which relationships can be built between regional councils and territorial authorities.

Wherever possible, local authorities should collaborate so that an area-based approach to hazard management can be taken. Note that while this guidance note considers the response to hazards within the context of the RMA, collaboration may include a coordinated response across more than just the RMA, particularly for territorial authorities.

Other techniques that can assist integration include:

  • pooling resources between councils
  • adopting and formalising agreements as to responsibilities

Addressing multiple, inter-related hazards

It is important to adopt an all hazards approach. One hazard event can trigger a range of secondary hazard consequences to manage. For example, an earthquake can trigger landslides and changes to water courses leading to flooding. In this regard, response to a significant emergency more often involves a series of specific incidents or consequences that requires a level of general contingency planning.

For risk reduction steps, consideration should be given to how hazards may interact and result in higher levels of risk (in terms of either likelihood or severity). For example, in assessing slope stability for a development it may seem satisfactory except when factoring in a known earthquake risk for the area.

Overlaying various hazard information within GIS or similar systems can be used to identify and address multiple risks in specific locations.