Hanna, C., White, I., Glavovic, B. (2017). Managed retreat in New Zealand: revealing the terminology, approaches and direction of local planning instruments. Report for the National Science Challenge: Resilience to Natures Challenges, University of Waikato, New Zealand.
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/14288
Severe natural hazard events, the projected impacts of climate change and development trends mean that New Zealanders and the assets and services they value and depend on, will be increasingly exposed to natural hazard risks. Managed retreat is an adaptive approach to risk reduction, where people, activities and assets are strategically relocated away from hazardous locations. For it to have an impact in practice, it is crucial that managed retreat is not just included in key planning documents, but is included in a way that provides a means to inform development decisions and supplies a clear direction to elected members, council staff, property owners, developers, infrastructure providers and the public. This report is a summary of research conducted in New Zealand as part of National Science Challenge: Resilience to Nature’s Challenges. It is designed to answer three questions: • To what extent is managed retreat included in local planning instruments? • How is managed retreat discussed in local planning instruments? • What level of direction is afforded to managed retreat in local planning instruments? Our main findings are: 1. Approximately half of RMA planning instruments in New Zealand refer to managed retreat. If they do, it predominately applies to coastal hazards, rather than other hazards, such as land instability, earthquake faults, or inland flooding. 2. There is an inconsistency of terms used, such as managed retreat, relocate, soft-engineering, withdraw or setback. In almost every case, these are not further defined. 3. While it is commonly referred to in the singular, managed retreat policy approaches can be categorised as relating to five distinct ‘categories’ in local RMA policy and plans. 4. Planning instruments applying managed retreat are providing limited direction to enable it in practice. 5. A lack of implementation support exists for managed retreat policies, particularly in relation to relocatable buildings. 6. Clear links between local planning policy and other strategic documents (e.g. infrastructure plans or spatial plans) is important for the application of managed retreat. However, it was discovered there is a low recognition and a clear lack of strategic, coordinated provisions across various planning instruments operating in the same place. For example, only 14 out of 78 infrastructure strategies referenced managed retreat terms.
Resilience to Nature's Challenges