Monday, 14 April 2008

ATTENTION: Beachfront Homeowners

  Ever since National introduced the Resource Management Act, planners have been slowly but surely nationalising beachfront property under the feet of its owners by all but prohibiting serious homebuilding on beachfront land, combining this with what Owen McShane calls an attitude of "New Puritanism which seems rampant in so many councils, which [between them] are making it virtually impossible for New Zealanders to enjoy their traditional place by the beach – based on the threat of inundation from sea level rise."

But this is a threat with no serious foundation.

All over NZ and particularly from the coastline from Rodney District and Coromandel down the Bay of Plenty and on down to Whakatane, district plans have been imposed on property owners that put sand dunes and bogus sea level rises ahead of the property rights of property owners.  Consultants Tonkin and Taylor have been preeminent in pushing the bogus science behind most of these council land grabs, but as engineer David Kear points out in a recent submission to the Whakatane District Council (Kear is a former director of the NZ Geological Survey and of the DSIR, now resident in Ohope), when hung in the balance the assumptions behind T&T's reports and the district plan impositions based on them are found seriously wanting.

If you're a beachfront homeowner then, as McShane says, "this highly respected New Zealand scientist has just come to your aid.  [Kear] is quite cross." Read this "no holds barred" report  here: 'Ohope – Safe from the Sea,'[PDF] and then tell your own council's planners to get stuffed.


  1. Hmm. I confess I only skim-read over a coffee and was listening to Godflesh simultaneously, so my comprehension may not be 100%.

    However: your exhortation to triumphantly slap this down in front of 'your own council's planners' might be a bit off the mark, I think. The introductory paragraph in 'BACKGROUND' makes explicitly clear that this report is specific only to Ohope, and reading the 'conclusions' (a) - (g), it is clear that only items (a) and (f) have any bearing to geographical areas outside of Ohope.

    I'll have a closer read of the body text tonight hopefully, but this may not be the panacea you are billing it as.


  2. One more detailed perusal later, and I am convinced that this report is specific to Ohope only, with only very minor relevance to other geographical areas.


  3. The report is specific to Ohope.

    However the Appendix on Global Warming (starting page 12) is relevant to all other areas and raises real doubts about the advisability of basing any future planning at all on IPCC reports.

  4. Hi Linda,

    Without wishing to make any comment on the scientific approach in the global warming appendix, it would be fair to say that the arguments put forward are not representative of the same personal approach that Kear has invested in the preceding analysis.

    By this I mean that he has assembled arguments that are not necessarily new or groundbreaking - he seems merely to be articulating previously-used attacks on the IPCC position. In this respect, I'm not sure that the document represents a silver bullet for planning applications, at least to the extent that it is being promoted here.


  5. The whole point is that this is specific to Ohope.
    The global average sea level rise referred to by the IPCC is a statistical artifact and tells you nothing about what is happening at any particular point on the globe.

    So if your District Plan says the sea level is rising on your particular piece of the coast ask for the measurement. The whole northern plate (europe) is rising faster than this global average so the sea level there is falling too.
    IT is like saying the average height is 5 ft 10 inches and then presuming that everyone is 5ft Ten inches tall. Tailors would be out of business.


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