MEDIA RELEASE: Planning for the impact of future sea level rise applauded

November 20, 2015

The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment report is to be applauded for identifying the importance of planning for the future by immediately starting to deal with the impact of sea level rise in cities and towns areas around the country, the New Zealand Planning Institute (NZPI) says.

Chair Bryce Julyan says in the wake of a new Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment report just released, it is clear New Zealand coasts need to plan and prepare for expected sea level rise as a result of global climate change.

The NZPI is particularly supportive of the report that recognises the need for sound scientific assessment, engagement at a number of levels and planning to help inform decisions going forward, Julyan says.

“This is a long term issue and we applaud the recognition that planning now is key to a resilient and sustainable future - this will enable practical solutions to be developed, while raising and awareness and developing realistic expectations.

“The report acknowledges that one size may not fit all - it isn’t just about avoidance and risk aversion. Regional and local circumstances will vary. However what is welcomed is that planning now will enable resilient land use choices for our cities, businesses and infrastructure. Key parties need to get together including central and local government supported by environmental science and planning inputs particularly.

“This also needs involvement of communities, property owners, infrastructure agencies, development agencies and insurance providers and iwi. The NZPI endorses the need to plan for the future now and we support all the recommendations in forming the basis of discussion going forward including the acknowledgement of the importance of accurate data to inform understanding, risks and probabilities.

“We need to look at number of ways of engaging and would support a core steering group, perhaps with working parties and possibly annual national conferences around this. Most of the recommendations involve central government direction and guidance and the need for central government leadership with local government, community and planning and environmental input.”

The Parliamentary report has emphasised the importance of Government engaging local government, infrastructure providers, coastal residents and landowners, and insurance companies and banks. NZPI says it recognises this as an issue that will affect everyone, directly or indirectly, physically, socially, and economically.

Julyan says so much of New Zealand’s major cities and towns are based on the coast. About three quarters of New Zealanders live within 10 kilometres of the coast and 65 percent within five kilometres of the coast. That’s a whole lot of our national population, communities and infrastructure around our coastal edges and coastal waterways that are potentially affected and need to be re-evaluated in terms of long term planning. The NZPI has a strong involvement with resilience planning.

“Our members will be at the forefront of this discussion. We welcome the recommendations for planning to start at a national level to help align our thinking and support local government and other agencies in addressing this issue that affects all of us,” he says.


For further information contact NZPI chair Bryce Julyan on 27 440 5464 or Make Lemonade media specialist Kip Brook on 0275 030188.