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Is your whenua affected by natural hazards?

The Government is considering a new National Policy Statement for identifying natural hazard risk and how this may impact built development on the whenua.

Have your say on this proposed policy by November 20. 

The proposed National Policy Statement on Natural Hazard Decision-making (NPS-NHD) is a policy framework which would guide councils on how to include natural hazard risk in planning decisions in their rohe.  

That means understanding how likely it was to be affected by a natural hazard such as flooding, earthquakes, land slips, tsunami and sea level rise from a changing climate.

The proposed framework will affect whenua Māori, and the consultation document acknowledges that a disproportionate amount of whenua Māori is exposed to risk from natural hazards.

There will be some difficult decisions in the coming decades as climate change impacts take hold, and there needs to be care taken that Māori aren’t disadvantaged any further by polices aimed at addressing these impacts – but that they are also physically safe.

The NPS-NHD proposes that councils, as decision makers, be required to undertake specific engagement with whenua Māori owners when new development on that land is proposed.

The Māori Trustee estimates that three-quarters of the land she administers is in low-lying areas and within 1km of the coastline, putting it at risk of flooding, liquefaction, and inundation from rising sea levels or coastal storm surges.

The current practices of regional and local government for managing the impact of natural hazards on people and property is considered to lack consistency and has not reduced risks from natural hazards in terms of climate change.

The proposed policy statement would require, for any new development on whenua Māori, that land be assessed for risks from natural hazard and then classified as either high, medium or low risk.

It’s proposed that new development on land deemed high risk should be avoided unless the risk can be reduced to a “tolerable level”.

You can look up your whenua on the Natural Hazards Portal to get some information on the natural hazards it might be at risk of.

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