New Zealand

Coastal hazards and climate change: Guidance for local government


This guidance supports councils to manage and adapt to the increased coastal hazard risks posed by climate change and sea-level rise. It:

  • provides information on the effects of climate change on coastal hazards, incorporating the latest science and relevant legislation, information from the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment’s 2015 report on sea-level rise, and feedback from stakeholders
  • recommends a new ‘pathways’ approach to adaptive planning that is dynamic and flexible. It is designed to be used when there is uncertainty about future physical conditions affecting the coastal environment
  • contains new sections on collaborative approaches to engaging with communities (which is central to the adaptive planning approach) and local government roles and responsibilities
  • outlines a 10-step decision-making process that councils and communities can follow when planning for the effects of climate change on coastal hazards.

This 2017 guidance is an update of the 2008 edition. The previous edition was more of an engineering manual, and the new edition contains more information for planners and for use in the planning process.


Appendices to the guidance are available as a separate document.

Read the appendices [PDF, 4 MB].

Supporting material

Preparing for coastal change: A summary of coastal hazards and climate change guidance for local government

Preparing for coastal change fact sheet series