So what would a managed retreat from rising sea levels look like? Lynn Grieveson takes a look at how the Dunedin City Council is trying to avoid the mistakes of Kapiti Coast and Christchurch by educating residents in the former marshland of South Dunedin about the risks of rising sea levels, and by proposing to make new homes relocatable.
Councils will have to think much more carefully before they allow housing developments on flood plains and in low-lying coastal areas because of little-noticed reforms buried within the latest changes to the Resource Management Act (RMA). And, although these reforms don't apply to existing homes, councils are becoming more aggressive about adding information to LIMs warning property buyers of the risks of flooding in severe weather events or due to rising water levels.
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The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Jan Wright, has warned bach and beachside home owners, banks, insurers and the Government to factor in a 'baked in' 30 cm increase in sea levels into their financial calculations for the next 35 years and beyond.