NZ Releases the 2024 Coastal Hazards and Climate Change Guidance

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When addressing the existential problem of climate change, mitigating its effects through slashing GHG emissions obtains much of the focus.

However, as we are now experiencing the effects of climate change through the severity and frequency of extreme events, adapting to climate change has become a crucial part of climate change policy worldwide.

Climate change and warming temperatures from increased GHG emissions are also causing sea levels to rise. In New Zealand, sea levels are rising at 3.5mm per year on average, caused by ocean thermal expansion, melting glaciers, and melting polar ice sheets. According to

NZ SeaRise, a five-year research programme funded by the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment Endeavour Fund, many of the country’s most populated regions such as Auckland and Wellington, sea level rise along its coasts are happening faster due to the vertical land movement of the up and down movement of land. The Vertical land movement, which in some areas is going up while others are subsiding, adds up and even doubles the rate of sea level rise.

The consequences of the sea level rise on New Zealand’s coasts and its impacts on its coastal cities and communities call for plans and preparation to help communities, planners, businesses, and infrastructure providers adapt equitably and effectively to coastal hazards and climate change.

New Zealand’s Ministry for the Environment released a guidance document to help ensure coastal hazards and climate change are factored into coastal area planning. The 2024 Coastal Hazards and Climate Change Guidance, published on 29 February 2024, updates the 2017 guidance.

What’s new in the 2024 Guidance?

The latest guidance incorporates the NZ SeaRise research programme’s updated Aotearoa sea-level rise projections released on 2 May 2022. These projections combine the 2021 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) sea-level data downscaled to New Zealand with localised rates of vertical land movement (VLM) around the coast. The result is estimates of relative sea-level rise (RSLR), or sea-level rise relative to the local landmass. This information is critical for planning and implementing hazard and risk assessments and climate adaptation approaches locally in our complex and dynamic coastal environments (Coastal Hazards, 2024).

Who is the guidance for?

The coastal hazards and climate change guidance is for practitioners involved in land-use planning, resource management, building consenting, asset and flood risk management, and infrastructure planning. It’s a valuable tool for helping decision-makers consider the potential effects of climate change, now and in the future, based on the latest scientific information.

How to use the guidance?

“This guidance follows a 10-step decision cycle. The steps allow for both short- and long-term planning, adaptive pathways and decision-making for coastal areas that are or will be affected by coastal hazards and climate change. Adaptation is an iterative process. Iterations within the process can be driven by experience of hazard events and observations of progressive changes, new climate information and projections; reappraising early signals (warnings) and triggers (decision points); and social, cultural and economic change. The steps can be worked through either sequentially or in the order that makes the best sense for your specific problem and process, allowing you to loop back to earlier steps if readjustments are needed. The guidance is intended to help only, and local authorities must use the most appropriate processes and methods for their region or district.” (Coastal Hazards, 2024).

Click the link to Download or read the Ministry of the Environment’s 2024 Coastal Hazards and Climate Change guidance.


Sea level is rising faster than we thought. (2022, May 1). NZ Sea Rise. Retrieved from

Ministry for the Environment. 2024. Coastal hazards and climate change guidance. Wellington: Ministry for the Environment. Retrieved from

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