Media release

Media Release: ORC strongly supports flood infrastructure funding call

Wednesday 6 April 2022

Otago Regional Council Chair Andrew Noone fully supports the call today from the body representing 16 Regional and Unitary Councils, Te Uru Kahika, for national leadership and urgent action to meet the flood hazard risks arising from climate change.

The need for greater Government resourcing for flood control infrastructure will also be reflected in a staff report to be presented to Council next week.

Released on Wednesday, Te Uru Kahika’s Central Government Co-investment in Flood Protection Schemes Supplementary Report strengthens the findings of an earlier report in 2019, which revealed that the combined $200m regional and unitary council investment in flood protection schemes each year was falling short of what is required to meet flood protection needs by $150m per annum. Over the ten years considered, that would be $1.5b of under-investment in critical flood protection schemes.

The group called for significantly greater Government investment that recognises the urgent need for greater protection for communities.

ORC Chair Andrew Noone said that like the rest of NZ, ORC’s major flood protection schemes have been constructed and upgraded over decades, with significant central government funding contributions.

“That funding ended with the major government reforms in the late 1980s leaving communities dependent on schemes they are finding increasingly difficult to afford to maintain or upgrade.  The situation is worsened through the effects of climate and other environmental change,” Chair Noone says.

There have been six major weather events in Otago in recent years (July 2017, Nov 2018, Dec 2020, Feb 2020, Jan 2021 and May 2021), all causing flooding. ORC’s climate change risk assessment published last year identified flooding as a key risk for Otago within the natural and built environment, and economic domains. By end-century timeframes, many of these flooding risks for Otago may increase to be rated as ‘Extreme’.


View Te Uru Kahika’s report here.