Sensible solutions to flood risk must be supported

18 August 2022

LGNZ is backing IAG’s pragmatic and sensible solutions to help reduce flood risk in the country.

Local Government NZ (LGNZ) is backing IAG’s pragmatic and sensible solutions to help reduce flood risk in the country.

“Tens of thousands of New Zealanders live in houses that are prone to flooding,” says LGNZ’s Chief Executive Susan Freeman-Greene.

“With one-in-100-year weather events becoming increasingly common, we need immediate solutions rather than waiting for years to put plans into place.

“Councils, residents, and emergency services around the country are on the frontline when it comes to dealing with the effects of climate change.

“Many councils are already mapping out flood prone areas, but we need a more cohesive approach.

“Today, one of New Zealand's largest insurers, IAG, released its three-step plan for reducing risk in flood- prone New Zealand areas.

“The insurance sector, and other sectors at the coalface such an engineering, working alongside local government is a crucial part of the response.

IAG’s plan calls for a joint central and local government and private sector project to build a mutual understanding of priority flood-prone communities, a National Policy Statement to stop building in flood-prone areas and a national programme to prioritise investment in flood protection.

“A partnership approach is the only way forward if we want to make some serious progress when it comes to climate change.

“This will mean the insurers, technical experts, central and local government being more open to sharing data and information and making tough decisions in the interest of our communities.

“It’s no secret that flood risk is a much more immediate threat than the likes of sea-level rise. It’s happening right now, more frequently, and councils and communities are all at different stages of preparedness.

“The Government’s recent development of a National Adaption Plan and parts of the Resource Management Reforms are promising, but we could be waiting the best part of a decade to see any practical changes bed in.

“Local government has already put forward a number of solutions to climate change and adaptation, including the Te Uru Kahika business case for central government co-investment in flood protection infrastructure.

“It’s great to see the insurance industry building on that work and local government is right behind these pragmatic solutions.

“The plan put forward today offers a clear pathway for industry, central and local government to work together on those short-medium term solutions as the longer-term actions are progressed via the National Adaptation Plan.

“We urge the Minister of Climate Change and Minister for the Environment to take a serious look at the solutions on the table. They are practical and manageable. If we don’t deal with flooding with a sense of urgency, we risk more New Zealanders losing their lives,” Susan Freeman-Greene said.