LGNZ backs IAG's three-step plan, urges government to do the same

LGNZ backs IAG's three-step plan, urges government to do the same | Insurance Business New Zealand

LGNZ backs IAG's three-step plan, urges government to do the same

Local Government NZ (LGNZ) has announced its support for IAG’s three-step plan to help reduce flood risk in the country. 

With tens of thousands of New Zealanders living in homes prone to flooding and one-in-100 severe weather events becoming increasingly common, LGNZ said the country needed more “immediate solutions” than plans that took years to put into place.

“Many councils are already mapping out flood-prone areas, but we need a more cohesive approach,” said LGNZ chief executive Susan Freeman-Greene. “Today, one of New Zealand's largest insurers, IAG, released its three-step plan for reducing risk in flood-prone [areas]. The insurance sector – and other sectors at the coalface such as engineering – working alongside local government is a crucial part of the response.”

IAG’s three-step plan called for a joint government and private-sector project to build a mutual understanding of priority flood-prone communities, a national policy statement to stop building in flood-prone areas, and a national programme to prioritise investment in flood protection. 

Freeman-Greene agreed that a partnership approach was the only way forward for the country to make serious progress on climate change.

“This will mean the insurers, technical experts, central, and local government being more open to sharing data and information and making tough decisions in the interest of our communities,” she said.

LGNZ recognised that flood risk was a much more immediate threat than sea-level rise. But while the recent development of a National Adaptation Plan and the Resource Management Reforms was promising, LGNZ reminded the public that it could be waiting “the best part of a decade” to see practical changes set in.

“The plan put forward today offers a clear pathway for industry, central, and local government to work together on those short-medium term solutions as the longer-term actions are progressed via the National Adaptation Plan,” Freeman-Green said. “We urge the minister of climate change and minister for the environment to take a serious look at the solutions on the table. They are practical and manageable. If we don’t deal with flooding with a sense of urgency, we risk more New Zealanders losing their lives.”

Local government has offered some of its own solutions to climate change and adaptation, as well, including the Te Uru Kahika business case for central government co-investment in flood protection infrastructure.