Rising sea levels could deliver you a sea-front property, but they can only see the down-side

The Media party and the left-wing parties are all in a massive slather about climate change again, because some old bag has decreed that sea levels MIGHT rise by 30cm in coming DECADES.

The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment is urging the government and the private sector to figure out how to avoid home owners’ equity plummeting due to climate change.

The commissioner, Dr Jan Wright, believes the country is facing about 30cm of sea level rise over the next few decades. On top of that, storm surges are likely, making buildings that lie within 50cm of high tide vulnerable.

There are 13,000 buildings in New Zealand that fit that criteria, including 8800 homes. The replacement cost of all of the buildings is estimated to be $3 billion, and that doesn’t include the cost for infrastructure, such as roads.

The enormity of the issue needed to be thought about in monetary terms, as well as the impact it would have on the environment, she said.

A working group consisting of local and central government and the private sector, such as insurance and banking, was needed, she said.

A plan was crucial so problems like negative equity could be avoided.

“We do insurance in an annual way, every year you pay for your insurance again. If insurance companies decide to stop or the premiums become unaffordable … then you could be looking at a case where the mortgage, which of course is a 30-year one not an annual year one, is more valuable then the value of the house, and that’s a negative equity issue.”

Central government needed to sort out its guidance and direction on the matter down to local level, she said.

What a load of crap.

Where do I even begin? Well, let’s start with where I live.


That’s my front lawn, right by the sea. The tide at Whangaparaoa is about a 3m tide on any given day…and she is saying it MIGHT increase by 30cm. I wouldn’t even notice it most days.

About the only time I would notice it would be at a king tide. But, the Council can always chuck more rocks at the sea wall.

Look at the fanciful claims. Jan Wright thinks all the buildings at risk, and presumably that would mean my house, will have to be replaced and she’s used a great big scary number. Let me tell you that a 30cm rise in sea levels…and that is mean sea levels…won’t be knocking down my house any time soon.

Even if it does happen, and that is most unlikely, then it would only happen in a great big storm, at high tide, on a king tide…for about two hours either side of high tide…twice a day…for three days each time a king tide rocks around. The reality of that coinciding is about once per year, after having lived here for a couple of years. On top of that the storm wouldn’t cover the whole country…and if it was a massive storm the damage caused by the sea would be tiny compared with the damage caused by flooding from torrential rain and wind damage, especially if it was a tropical cyclone.

This is just scaremongering. In any case, I know a few Dutchmen who know a thing or two about keeping the sea back…it isn’t that hard.

In ten years time when the planet has failed to warm and we are experiencing colder winters as a result of another little ice age, Jan Wright will likely be dead and no one will remember her predictions of doom and gloom.


– Radio NZ


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  • Terry

    Look at today’s date! There’s no fool like an April fool.

    • Dan

      Dr Wrights report was reported yesterday and was published in November last year.

      • NeverMindTheBoll


  • Dan

    It is all too easy to play around with computer models and put in all these “what ifs.” Even though to write a computer model takes a program and algorithms that must make a lot of assumptions. It is also too easy to take these wild predictions and turn them into policy. The danger is that if insurance companies believe the tripe then that will affect the price of beach beaches (which according to some MRS are for riches anyway).

    Dr Wright did harp on about 1.5 metres in the report which is well beyond even what the IPCC and UN boffins predict. It is an extreme outlier.

    I don’t know about you, but I am sick and tired of the threat of what may happen. Can’t we just simply enjoy life and do what we have done for millions of years – adapt?

  • MarcWills

    That would explain why the Messiah, Obama, has bought a seafront property in Hawaii for his retirement. He must believe his own predictions …surely.

  • cows4me

    Jan’s been listening to this guy for to long.

  • murrayirwin

    Jan Wright is only an apprentice level alarmist. If she were any good – it would 13 meters – see http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=11614424

  • phronesis

    3 Billion is peanuts compared to the costs to the economy of high energy prices and renewable energy subsidies.

  • SteveWrathall

    Global sea levels are rising ~3 mm/year and have done since accurate satellite measurements have been available. There is no evidence this is increasing. That’s 30 cm per century. In order for Jan Wright’s prophesy of 30 cm in “a few decades” to come true this rate would have to at least triple and it would have to have started yesterday.

  • Hugh Webber

    What Jan Wright continues to fail to realise is that even if she was right her assumption of uniformity around the country is completely wrong! In some places the land level is rising (I give you Christchurch and Wellington for a start) and the land rise, combining slow land level rises with occasional earthquakes, outpaces the sea level rise. She needs to study the detail more conscientiously instead of issuing global alarmist warnings.

    • NeverMindTheBoll

      Yes, well, when the big one hits Wellington then we’ll get a good uplift – the 1848 & 1855 biggies effectively created Evans Bay Parade, Oriental Parade, the Hutt Rd to Petone (indeed, it also drained Petone & the Basin Reserve).

      But then, Jan Wright is the Commissioner for the Environment, not the Commissioner for earthquakes.

  • Sagacious Blonde

    Knowing the time it takes process anything through Council, I’d better get started on the Resource Consent process for my seaside sections here in Morrinsville right now if I want to cash in.
    There are computer models that have all but the back hills inundated – lol

  • Seriously?

    Dr Wright’s point is a good one, well made, and set in measured tones. Whatever the cause is (the report is not about climate change), sea levels are rising, they have been for some time, and we ought to consider how we are going to react to that as a large number of homes are on land that may not be sustainable in the long term.

    I heard her on the radio and she stressed that we don’t need to react now, there is plenty of time to do something, but we do need to start thinking about what we are going to do.

    It may just be things such as not building new homes in those areas. But the biggest risk is probably to stick our heads in the sand.

    She is hardly some uninformed old lady given a role as a political favor. She has a physics degree from Canterbury, a Masters degree in energy and resources from Berkeley in California, and a PhD in Public Policy from Harvard.

    I’m sorry, but if it comes down to whose advice to take seriously…

  • Montys mum

    Most of us will be dead and buried by then, so we wont have to worry…..

  • Day Day

    The former Mayor & her eco cronies at KCDC attempted to turn the beachfront community into run down ghetto. Where buildings could not be easily maintained or new ones constructed. Thank goodness that community had the resources to prevent that occurrence.

  • Dave

    To the Alarmists, i offer by way of rebuttal, the recently departed Dr Robert Carter, Bob as he is known, has refuted most of the climate change claims including rising sea levels. The main reference to the rising sea levels is in fact a gauge in Auckland harbor, and its not rising as the alarmists claim.

    I suggest looking at this you tube clip from Bob, particularly from 18.00 on.


  • rua kenana

    Seems a case of caveat emptor, let the buyer be aware of the implications of their buying decision.
    If anyone has the expectation of being able to use their waterfront house for only a couple of decades, they’ll presumably adjust their price offer for the house accordingly.
    Similarly with farming or other waterfront land.
    So should the whole country, i.e. taxpayers, be responsible for paying for bad buying decisions by individuals? With the internet as an information resource, information, correct or otherwise, on alleged rising sea levels is the same for all of us.

  • Jonat

    We just need to convince the Auckland council that if we keep waiting, eventually Eden Park will be along the waterfront.

  • Aucky

    I have quoted this example previously. In 1981 our family purchased a property a couple of hours out of Auckland and a portion of the back garden backs on to a tidal estuary. Around 1984 we had a record king tide and we planted a marker in the back lawn to indicate the highest point that the water reached. Thirty two years on and that marker has never been touched by seawater again.

    • Sea level rise is very selective, it is more prevalent in the islands and you must be in one of those areas that doesn’t have it yet.

      • Aucky

        How come NIWA and their fellow climate change wonks never measure sea levels in areas that don’t have it yet then? Could it be that they are being selective rather than the sea level rise?

        • No, couldn’t possibly be that, they wouldn’t try to fudge the number would they? they are scientists (or are supposed to be)

      • WeaselKiss

        And I bet those A-rabs that spent billions on making ‘The World’ and ‘Palm Island’, (the sand islands near Dubai) will be hoping this rising sea level malarky does not apply to them!

      • Kapow!

        Do you mean all of that sea level rise shown in these graphs from the Australian BOM?

    • Davo42

      Thanks for your practical experiment, nice to see some actual facts as opposed to the rising sea level myth.

    • johcar

      I used to catch the Birkenhead ferry to work for the first ten years of this century. The wharf used to house a mast-maker (can’t remember the company name).

      When Fullers demolished the old building to build their new terminal, it made visible the seaward end of the wharf that had been previously inaccessible to the public.

      This part of the wharf, at high tide, is only a few centimetres from the walking surface of the wharf and was obviously designed this way to assist with installing masts on boats/yachts some 40 or more years earlier.

      Even now, despite all this global warming/climate change, except in storms/king tides, the water level does not cover the top of that surface.

      So much for rising sea levels!!

  • Mark156

    Computer model=guess

  • Disinfectant

    Last night Choice TV showed a Horizon documentary about global warming.
    Scientists have drilled down into the Greenland ice-cap and retrieved tens of thousands of years of climate records.
    What they discovered has completely changed their views. It was always thought that climate changed slowly. But this is not the case. Huge variations take place in a matter of years, both warming and cooling.

  • Pete

    I do not see either local or central government having anything useful or necessary in the matter of private property being affected by long term sea level rise. As a ratepayer and taxpayer I have no desire to pay for or subsidise remedial work on private property or never ending planning for what may happen.

  • Ruahine

    Just import a few more Dutch men and especially Dutch women. Two problems solved for the price of one.


    Roughly one third of the Netherlands has been reclaimed from the sea…

  • I didn’t even know we had a Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment until I heard them prating on about South Dunedin on Hosking this morning.
    Why do we have one? Does this whole Parliamentary Commission thing have no end? Is it some bottomless trough that the porkers can just keep going to for endless refills?

    What the hell do we need an environment commissioner for?

  • SJ00

    I’d love to see the maths behind how much water 30cm equals.(I tried but my brain hurt). The ocean covers about 360 million square kilometers (earth total is 510 million square kilometers, so ocean = 71%). A square meter of ocean rising 30cm (meaning its current height has 30cm on top of it?) equals about 300 liters of extra water. So not only that 360 million square kilometers gain 300 liters per square meter but all the low lying land will gain 30cm as well as water has a funny way of spreading it self out. So 360 million square kilometers might become 380 million square kilometers for example. I don’t know where this extra water is coming from? Even icebergs melting wouldn’t account for that..

  • Red

    We may scoff, but your local Councils are plotting to defeat this menace as we speak – all based on the irrefutable Data of course – Councils will absolve themselves of any blame for plummeting property values under the new rules, while adjusted home insurance Co premiums will sort out those who foolishly choose to live near the soon to be rushing tides. Be afraid I’d say, but don’t rush out to buy gumboots. A smaller wallet will do