Journal or chapter

Sea level rise and local government: Policy gaps and opportunities

Policy Quarterly (2020)

Local authorities in New Zealand have a significant responsibility to their communities for managing the effects of sea level rise due to climate change.

However, while most local authorities are well engaged and have a clear understanding of issues arising from sea level rise, 73% report that their organisations do not receive enough direction from central government on how to respond.

Territorial authorities in particular are seeking a stronger lead, such as legislative reform, clearer and more directive policy, clarification of responsibilities, or a national environmental standard on coastal hazard management.

Central government direction is seen as critical to achieve a nationally consistent and equitable approach for coastal communities.

This article summarises how this could be addressed, and identifies key challenges facing local government in adapting to sea level rise and climate change.