Two recent stories in local papers illustrate how serious climate change impacts, have encouraged landowners to take the law into their own hands. In Kaiaua an illegal stop bank has been built to try and hold back coastal inundation, and an illegal groyne has been placed on the beach at Flaxmill Bay in an attempt to reduce erosion.
Equally disturbing is the inconsistent stance and double standard of Waikato Regional Council. In Kaiaua WRC insist that the illegal stopbank is removed and requires the correct legal process to be followed. Meanwhile, at Flaxmill Bay WRC will not be taking any enforcement action and will allow the illegal sandbag structure to remain on a public beach. An illustration of the political clout of wealthy coastal property owners.
There are two takeaways from this –
- impacts on landowners from climate change are happening now. They are not some far distant concern in 2050 or 2100. In Kaiaua and other places recently badly affected by coastal flooding owners now have $5000 excesses on their insurance policies.
- WRC need to get their act together, be consistent, and enforce the existing law. If they don’t then dozens more landowners will soon be taking the law into their own hands and building illegal “protection structures”, and making a mockery of the RMA and our planning laws.