Rising seas could hit $20 billion of homes

Press Release – Green Party

Rising seas could hit $20 billion of homes The National Government is gambling with New Zealanders futures by not preparing now for rising seas, which MPs were told threatens up to $20 billion worth of New Zealand homes, the Green Party said today. …Rising seas could hit $20 billion of homes

The National Government is gambling with New Zealanders futures by not preparing now for rising seas, which MPs were told threatens up to $20 billion worth of New Zealand homes, the Green Party said today.

Talking at a select committee hearing today, the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Dr Jan Wright estimated it could cost up to $20 billion to replace buildings within 150 cm of spring high tides, which could be affected by sea-level rise.

In her November 2015 report, “Preparing New Zealand for rising seas”, Parliament’s environmental watchdog recommended the Government establish a working group to assess and prepare for the economic and fiscal implications of sea level rise. This is a recommendation the National Government has thus far rejected.

“The National Government is refusing to face reality and the real costs of rising seas and an unstable climate. It needs to start preparing for the cost of protecting and replacing people’s homes, infrastructure and businesses that will be damaged by rising seas,” said Green Party environment spokesperson Eugenie Sage.

“Finance Minister Bill English has simply dismissed talk of sea level rise as ‘speculative’ and ignored the Commissioner’s advice to start planning for the big fiscal and economic costs of rising seas.

“The National Government’s climate denial is going to cost New Zealand enormously in the long run. It’s irresponsible for the Government to ignore sea level rise, in the hope that might make it go away.

“New Zealanders expect their government to be preparing for long-term problems, but right now the National Government is choosing to kick this $20 billion can down the road,” Ms Sage said.

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