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Be prepared – Government has been given the hard word

The inescapable conclusion from the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment’s second report on rising sea levels is that both central and local government must start planning now, says Labour’s spokesperson on Climate Change Megan Woods.

“The fact is that over 9,000 New Zealand homes lie less than 50 centimetres above the spring high tide line. As the Parliamentary Commissioner has said while there is no need to panic we must start to act with urgency and we must do this carefully.

“We are talking about people’s homes which are also their financial security. Government and local councils now have to work together using a strong scientific base to engage with local communities in a sensitive way.

“All the Parliamentary Commissioner’s recommendations need to be enacted by the Government immediately. The Government also needs to look at how other countries  are handling this issue.

“Labour has called for a Climate Commission along the lines of the Britain’s Committee on Climate Change which has been influential in developing coastal policy to deal with sea level rise.

“Government itself  has also been warned that there is a serious fiscal risk in sea level rise. The Parliamentary Commissioner has recommended the establishment of a working party to start looking at what’s needed.

“This report  should be a wakeup call for the Government that partisan politics don’t wash when it comes to climate change. We are all in this together.

“The days of quibbling about whether sea level rises are real are over. We need action now,” says Megan Woods.