Associate Minister of Local Government, Kieran McAnulty, has today introduced legislation to empower councils to share better information about natural hazards with the public.
The Local Government Official Information Amendment (LGOIMA) Bill will make it easier for Councils to share clear and concise information in Land Information Memorandum (LIM) reports, allowing property owners and buyers to easily access information on natural hazard risks affecting properties, the Minister said.
“In Aotearoa New Zealand all our communities are at risk of severe weather and natural hazards be it flooding, earthquakes, or landslips,” he said.
“Severe weather events are becoming more severe and more frequent due to climate change so it’s essential the public have the information they need to build resilience.
“There are serious issues with how LIM reports currently disclose natural hazard information.
“LIMs can often be hundreds of pages long and refer to detailed technical reports, which the average person doesn’t have the time or expertise to read. Councils may also not include helpful summaries or clear explanations for fear of legal action.”
Mr McAnulty said the Bill will fix these issues by providing clearer requirements for councils for natural hazard content in the LIM while also limiting council liability when sharing natural hazard information on LIMs in good faith.
“This amendment is a critical action under the National Adaptation Plan as it will empower the public to make informed choices on where they build their future.”
“The Government is also using this opportunity to align the withholding and certification processes of the LGOIMA with the Official Information Act (OIA).
“Adding conclusive withholding grounds to LGOIMA will align the Act with the OIA and allow the intelligence agencies to share sensitive information with councils to help them manage security risks, including cyber threats and foreign interference,” he said.
The Bill will soon be open for public submissions and is expected to pass into law in 2023.