Waves Add To Flooding Risk From Sea Level Rise

Not a Big Surf Break at Whitianga.

But Waves Still Worsen Sea Flooding Risks.

In recent blogs on the latest Ministry for the Environment Guidelines on climate change and sea-level rise and on the proposed extension of the Whitianga Waterways project I used the Waikato Regional Council coastal inundation tool.  The tool is very useful in illustrating the potential flooding effect of sea level rise on coastal communities around the Peninsula.

One of the flaws with the inundation tool is that it does not include wave effects.  Therefore, the potential effects shown in the inundation tool may tend to underestimate the severity of the sea flooding.  Continue reading

Holding Back Sea Level Rise With A Pen

Council’s Delusional “coastal environment line”

(you Canute be serious !)

When reviewing the Resource Consent application by Whitianga Waterways I discovered the bizarre maps in the Thames Coromandel District Plan which purport to define the “coastal environment”. These maps are of critical importance because the highly directive Government’s New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement (NZCPS) only applies to land within the coastal environment. The NZCPS has very comprehensive policies directing all Councils to take account of climate change and sea level rise for the next 100 years at least.

The District Council maps are bizarre because the coastal environment line is drawn around all of the Peninsula coasts but the line comes to an abrupt stop and excludes the three major towns of Thames, Whitianga, and Whangamata. Why would the Council wish to exclude these towns from the coastal environment? One possible explanation is that the Council does not wish to be bound by the comprehensive policies in the NZCPS and therefore does not wish to have to account for climate change and sea level rise when considering new and existing development within those three towns. Continue reading

Sea-Level Rise – Should Whitianga Waterways Be Expanded?


New Government Guidelines on Sea Level Rise are a Gamechanger

The new Ministry for the Environment’s Guidelines on Sea Level Rise which were mistakenly released last week are a game-changer for Thames-Coromandel District Council and Councils throughout New Zealand.  New coastal “greenfield” development such as subdivisions will now have to be “stress tested” out to at least 2150 against a sea level rise of at least 1.9 m above current high tide levels.  A case in point is the Resource Consent application (SUB/2017/26) recently lodged by Whitianga Waterways for 72 new canal housing lots.  This application and many others like it will have to be assessed right now, against this new benchmark of a potential sea level rise of 1.9 m. This crucial decision-making must be made today, not next year or next decade.   Councils can no longer pretend that climate change and sea-level rise is something that future councils must deal with.

Continue reading

Mangrove Removal Bill – Futile and Flawed

Local Mangrove Removal Bill Takes Chainsaw To Legal Rights

For over a decade a debate has raged in some local communities between those who regard mangroves as an invasive weed and others who appreciate their ecological role as coastal nurseries. Now the Thames-Coromandel and Hauraki District Councils want a local Bill passed in Parliament for the sole purpose of enabling mangrove removal. One law just for mangroves and one law for everything else? 

The Bill absurdly attempts to nullify the Resource Management Act and all other laws controlling mangroves. Pardon? Really?  This is not a serious and credible effort to resolve the issues.  Instead, it has the hallmarks of a populist but futile attempt to appear to be “doing something”?  

The “weed” versus “nursery” arguments have been well rehearsed.  But the vital role mangroves play as a natural shield against storm tide surges, erosion, and sea-level rise has largely been ignored.   Continue reading

MSM on Latest Sea Level Rise Guidance

Minister Refuses to Say When Guidance Will Be Released 

It was very gratifying that David Fisher, senior reporter for the New Zealand Herald reported on the revelation in my previous blog about the early unintended release of Ministry for the Environment guidelines on sea level rise.

David Fisher is one of the best investigative journalists in New Zealand. He is an expert in the use of the Official Information Act, and when he obtains a document he is often willing to publish the full unedited version on the Herald website. This was the case here with the Herald publishing a full copy of the Ministry PowerPoint presentation I located, including the Ministry’s latest projections for sea level rise. Continue reading

Blunder – Mistaken Reveal of Government’s Latest (Already Outdated) Sea-Level Rise Projections

The latest all-important Ministry for the Environment Guidelines for Local Authorities on Climate Change have been prepared in strict secrecy.  They are held under a tight embargo until the Minister gives his approval for their official release. But key elements of the guidelines, including the latest Ministry projections for sea-level rise have mistakenly been made public in a PowerPoint presentation by the Ministry recently given to the Waikato Natural Hazards Forum.  The Forum published the slides on the Forum’s public website, from where I was able to download a copy of the presentation.  The Minister Nick Smith will likely be thoroughly pissed off about this breach of information security – the projections were meant to be hush hush until he made his grand announcement. Continue reading

Climate Change Slow Learners #1

36 years ago UK Doco Warned of Consequences

Collectively what a bunch of idiots we humans are.  We ignored the warnings about global warming and climate change made almost 40 years ago in 1981 – yes – 1981.   

In 1981 UK’s commercial TV channel, ITV, broadcast an hour-long documentary, Warming Warning. Follow the link to watch excerpts now available on YouTube.   Continue reading