This paper investigates climate change adaptation and mitigation planning responses of New Zealand communities, using an online survey of local elected representatives. Climate change is affecting New Zealand through changes in precipitation patterns, increases in temperature, changes to the frequency and duration of droughts, sea level rise, and the increased occurrence of extreme events. These impacts highlight the vulnerability of key economic activities, communities, and infrastructure. As environmental and socioeconomic vulnerability varies with place, local level climate change policies are important tools to increase resilience when faced with a changing climate. The research survey, targeted towards local elected representatives, unpacks local scale climate change planning efforts across the country, as well as decision-maker perceptions of barriers and motivations in the area of climate change planning. Findings suggest that increasing local-scale responses hinges on public perception of the urgency of climate change, which is heavily influenced by national priorities. Furthermore, support for national level responses is limited by a collective view of climate change as an issue of an uncertain future, rather than one of present concern. Thus, the inclination to act at the local level is to some extent undermined by slow national action.