Coastal Restoration Trust of New Zealand

Coastal Dune Ecosystem Reference Database

Coastal communities hazard mitigation Conference Paper

P. Blackett, T. Hume
Journal / Source
Coastal Communities Natural Disasters Conference
Publisher / Organisation
New Zealand’s coastal environment is dynamic, diverse and under constant change. This physical setting coupled with increasing coastal development and escalating coastal property values is leading to considerable conflict around how we value the coast as a place to live and spend leisure time, the desire to protect natural character, spiritual and cultural values, the demand for additional subdivision and how we address coastal hazards. The debate is influenced by public risk perception contained within the current legislative context and the strong sense of private property rights. Technical experts contribute to and confound the debate through differences in hazard mapping and conflicting paradigms of coastal management and we have to work in the context of past ‘mistakes’ that has put coastal property in hazardous locations. More importantly, coastal communities are increasingly active both in participating in future planning discussions and forming lobby or action oriented groups to take steps towards erosion mitigation. This can have both positive and negative environmental outcomes, which means the role of the community group and their relationships with other agencies are especially important. This paper will discuss elements of the debate over coastal erosion mitigation based on recent surveys of coastal communities in New Zealand. We describe the key factors important in determining outcomes including the role of power, value of relationship building, resource availability, local authority alignment, and the necessity of good scientific input, and also identify some issues relevant to the insurance industry.