Latest NIWA Report Confirms High Local Sea Flood Risk

Two years ago I wrote an article about a  NIWA report which confirmed that Thames was in the top 10 of the most at risk towns and cities in New Zealand from sea level rise.

TCDC had received this report two years earlier in 2015 but has kept it secret and has made no effort – even 4 years later – to inform residents of Thames, or other high-risk peninsula coastal communities of the high level of risk many face.

Now, an even more accurate assessment of the risk of sealevel rise has just been published by NIWA which comes to the same conclusion –

Small towns in Thames-Coromandel have comparable exposure to sea level rise as large urban areas. 

This risk to Thames Coromandel urban centres is most acute under present MSL and up to 0.3m of sea level rise – in other words the risks that can occur today, or with the sea level rise projected to occur soonest and with certainty, in the next few decades.  Here is the direct quote from the report –

“Territories with relatively small urban populations (i.e. <10,000 people) on low-lying coastal land, including Thames-Coromandel District and Hauraki District, have comparable built land area exposure to large urban areas between present-day MSL and +0.3 m SLR.”

Will TCDC release the data from this latest NIWA report to the public and properly inform local residents about the risks they face?

Judging from TCDC’s past behaviour, and the PR spin they have weaved around their proposals for Shoreline Management Plans, the prospect of TCDC telling the truth about the risks people face locally seems pretty remote.

For evidence – take a look at this media release on Council’s website about their Shoreline Management Plan project.  It’s full of flowery language about a “journey to sustainable coastal communities”.

But there is not one single reference to sea level rise and only one muted reference to climate change.

And incredibly the stated aim of the project is to only provide a definition of risk in “general terms”.  Which of course is a nonsense.  What is required is accurate mapping which defines the present-day and future risk to an individual property/certificate of title so that owners and potential purchasers can make an informed decision about risk.

This level of detail has already been provided by dozens of other regional and territorial authorities around New Zealand.  Just last week Tauranga City released detailed sea flood maps showing the risk to individual properties and has notified over 5000 landowners of the risks they face from sea level rise.


Please, please TCDC stop magnifying your tardy efforts on coastal hazards as “leading the way in New Zealand”.  Nobody is fooled by yourself-congratulatory nonsense.  You are at least five years behind most other coastal councils with your hazard mapping and it will be at least another three – five years before you produced hazard maps which are already available to residents of most other coastal councils.