Are 1800 Kapiti homes really threatened by sea level rise?

Seemingly sloppy science seems to have sullied our coastal planning process. Dr de Lange describes, in the polite, scholarly way of his, a scientific blunder in a Kapiti Coast erosion report that anyone less courteous than him would call a dereliction or worse. Why? Because the wrong formula was used to calculate the amount of foreshore vulnerable to damage from sea level rise, and many hundreds of properties are now apparently at risk. The report explains correctly why a certain formula should not be used, but then, in a stupefying about-turn, goes ahead and uses it anyway. Prices for those properties will plunge, yet the new risks just aren’t justified.

The author (or principal author) of the Kapiti Coast Erosion Hazard Assessment 2012 update is Dr Roger Shand, of Coastal Systems Ltd. He said the report was peer-reviewed by “Coastal Scientist Dr Mike Shepherd” – who effectively works for Dr Shand. Why didn’t they admit that they’re colleagues? This isn’t a peer review, it’s a pal review, and if values plummet, land owners will descend on the High Court demanding compensation. Does the District Council realise its exposure?  – Richard Treadgold

Recent news stories have highlighted the redefinition of coastal hazard zones along the Kapiti Coast. The populated region is concentrated on a coastal landform known as a cuspate foreland, which has formed due to enhanced accretion of sediment in the lee of Kapiti Island over the last 7500 years. Examination of the coastal landforms in this region indicates that there has been long-term accretion over the Holocene disrupted by storm-induced erosion associated with large waves from either the southwest or northwest.

Kapiti Island

So has that pattern changed recently? The Kapiti Coast District Council commissioned a report that was published in August. This report is a reassessment of an earlier report in 2008 and suggests that:

“Around 1,800 properties in Kāpiti, including most beachfront properties, are shown to be at risk of potential erosion or inundation from coastal hazards within 100 years. Up to 1,000 of these may be at risk within 50 years.“

Although you could argue that a tectonically active coast such as this is more likely to be threatened by earthquake-induced subsidence, liquefaction and tsunami inundation, the focus of the study was coastal erosion associated with sea level rise.

The study includes an analysis of historical shoreline trends, and found that the Kapiti Coast has undergone long-term accretion with episodic erosion associated with storm events; a finding consistent with several earlier studies and the evidence provided by the coastal landforms. It is clear from the available evidence that this long-term accretion occurred while sea level was rising.

If the response to sea level rise to date has been long-term accretion, how could the study find that sea level rise threatens so many homes? The answer lies in the methodology used. In line with the earlier 2008 report, the 2012 report states that a commonly used approach for assessing the shoreline response to sea level rise, known as the Bruun Rule, is inappropriate for the Kapiti Coast because many of the assumptions of the rule are violated. The mathematical concept behind the Bruun Rule is very simple for anyone who can remember basic trigonometry, being based on similar right-angled triangles (see sketch).

Bruun Rule

Essentially, the Bruun Rule states that the shoreline retreat is equal to the ratio of the sea level rise to the slope of the shoreline. There are different ways of defining the slope ranging from the slope of the continental slope, to the slope of the beach face or offshore bar. The ratio indicates that a gentle slope will result in more retreat than a steep slope, so by selecting the “right” slope it is possible to get a desired retreat, which has led to a few Environment Court cases.

It is also evident from the ratio that a higher sea level estimate will produce more shoreline retreat. Again, there is the opportunity to choose the “right” sea level rise to get a desired answer. The key difference between the 2008 and 2012 assessments for the Kapiti Coast is the use of a much higher estimated sea level rise with no consideration of the probability of that occurring.

Finally, it should be obvious that this Rule cannot predict shoreline accretion, as R will always be positive for a positive sea level rise. The problem is that for the New Zealand beaches where the rule has been tested, in the long-term R should be negative because the beaches are accreting. From the evidence presented in the Kapiti Coast assessment, R should be negative for the Kapiti Coast, and the authors are correct to state that the Bruun Rule is inappropriate.

Instead they have used a method proposed by Komar et al. (1999) and applied to the Oregon coast of the USA. Dr Jeremy Gibb has also applied this method to coastal hazards in New Zealand. The method assumes that the key factor driving dune erosion is saturation of the sand at the base of the dune, and it was developed to predict shoreline erosion due to storm events (see sketch).

Komar foredune erosion model

The method does not include a sea level rise term at all. It is based on the extreme water level relative to the elevation of the dune toe, and the beach lowering during the storm. It is not intended to predict the effects of long-term sea level rise. Consequently the authors of the Kapiti Coast study modified the Komar et al equation by replacing the numerator term with the sea level rise (Equation 3 in the report). Therefore, instead of using the equation as defined, they used the ratio of the sea level rise to the slope of the beach. I have already discussed this ratio – it is known as the *Bruun Rule!

Therefore, despite saying the method is inappropriate, the revised coastal hazard zones are based on the Bruun Rule after selecting the “right” sea level rise.

So, are 1800 homes threatened by sea level rise? Based on the evidence presented in the reports to the Kapiti District Council, the answer is almost certainly not, although some homes are at risk from storm-induced erosion. If the Kapiti Coast District Council will quantify the probabilities of their “right” sea level rise, then I can quantify my “almost certainly”.

* Equation 3 (p18): R = S/tan β

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40 Thoughts on “Are 1800 Kapiti homes really threatened by sea level rise?

  1. Andy on 03/09/2012 at 3:47 pm said:

    Funny how my broken ChCh property that is 1m (if that) above sea level is not deemed “threatened”, and the city council and the insurance company are doing everything within their power to stop us leaving and rebuild somewhere else

    • I don’t understand. Why do they want you to stay?

    • Andy on 04/09/2012 at 12:45 pm said:

      They want to rebuild our home, which is to any sentient being unrepairable. It would require taking all the bricks off, raising the entire house with a crane, relaying the concrete pad, then lowering the house back onto the new pad, putting the bricks back on, putting all the cladding on inside and remaking the bathrooms and kitchen

      They have costed this out as cheaper than a rebuild, which we want to do anyway, somewhere else.

      I think we will eventually get our way, but this whole bureaucratic nightmare and merry-go-round is so symptomatic of our modern society it makes me wonder sometimes if our civilisation is really drawing to a close.

  2. Bob D on 04/09/2012 at 10:11 am said:

    This is unbelievable. And they didn’t notice that their new equation was just the Bruun Rule? Bizarre.

    Of course they will say that they included all the erosion/accretion effects in their equation 6, but the dominant term by far is the RSLR, based on Bruun, which in turn is based on a totally inappropriate SLR of 0.9m/100 years from NIWA. Garbage in, garbage out.

    Pertinent quote from Cooper et al. (2004) (emphasis added):

    A number of attempts to apply the Bruun Rule and compare its results with known erosion rates have been carried out, in for example Australia (Thom, 1983), Caspian Sea (Nikiforov and Rychagov, 1988), North Carolina (Pilkey and Davis, 1987), Louisiana (List et al., 1997), Chesapeake Bay (Rosen, 1978), Great Lakes (Hands, 1983). Unsurprisingly, given the simplified nature of the concept, none has demonstrated that it works.

    • Like your work, Bob. It’s hard to understand. I mean, the Kapiti report, not your work!

      I can’t confirm that “they didn’t notice that their new equation was just the Bruun Rule.”

      Cooper et al. was a nice find – what a lethal comment.

    • Willem de Lange on 12/09/2012 at 1:38 pm said:

      For the benefit of other readers. Cooper and Pilkey (2004) refers to

      Cooper, J. Andrew G., and Orrin H. Pilkey. 2004. “Sea-level Rise and Shoreline Retreat: Time to Abandon the Bruun Rule.” Global and Planetary Change 43 (3–4): 157–171. doi:10.1016/j.gloplacha.2004.07.001.

      The abstract of this article reads …
      “In the face of a global rise in sea level, understanding the response of the shoreline to changes in sea level is a critical scientific goal to inform policy makers and managers. A body of scientific information exists that illustrates both the complexity of the linkages between sea-level rise and shoreline response, and the comparative lack of understanding of these linkages. In spite of the lack of understanding, many appraisals have been undertaken that employ a concept known as the Bruun Rule. This is a simple two-dimensional model of shoreline response to rising sea level. The model has seen near global application since its original formulation in 1954. The concept provided an advance in understanding of the coastal system at the time of its first publication. It has, however, been superseded by numerous subsequent findings and is now invalid.
      Several assumptions behind the Bruun Rule are known to be false and nowhere has the Bruun Rule been adequately proven; on the contrary several studies disprove it in the field. No universally applicable model of shoreline retreat under sea-level rise has yet been developed. Despite this, the Bruun Rule is in widespread contemporary use at a global scale both as a management tool and as a scientific concept. The persistence of this concept beyond its original assumption base is attributed to the following factors:
      1. Appeal of a simple, easy to use analytical model that is in widespread use.
      2. Difficulty of determining the relative validity of proofs and disproofs.
      3. Ease of application.
      4. Positive advocacy by some scientists.
      5. Application by other scientists without critical appraisal.
      6. The simple numerical expression of the model.
      7. Lack of easy alternatives.
      The Bruun Rule has no power for predicting shoreline behaviour under rising sea level and should be abandoned. It is a concept whose time has passed. The belief by policy makers that it offers a prediction of future shoreline position may well have stifled much-needed research into the coastal response to sea-level rise.”

      This article provides a useful review of the history of the Bruun Rule, although it does divert into the side issue of equilibrium beach theory. As noted by Bob, it contains some critical comments about the use of the Bruun Rule, including by consultants and Regional Councils in New Zealand.

      I agree with Dr Shand, who quotes this article, that the Bruun Rule is not an appropriate methodology.

      When time permits I will write a comment on the use of the Local Government Guidance Note recommendations for the magnitude of sea level rise, which combine with the Bruun Rule to produce the reported coastal hazard zones.

  3. Richard C (NZ) on 04/09/2012 at 12:24 pm said:

    “If the response to sea level rise to date has been long-term accretion, how could the study find that sea level rise threatens so many homes?”

    They’re only focusing on erosion episodes and not accounting for subsequent accretion with the mathematical approach. How many erosion control structures are subsequently buried completely only to reappear years later e.g. Waihi Beach.

  4. Clarence on 04/09/2012 at 1:30 pm said:

    This shouldn’t take any time for the Kapiti Council to sort out:

    IF: Everybody agrees that the Bruun Rule is inappropriate here and will give wrong results;
    AND: Qualified people have provided evidence that the Bruun Rule was applied;
    THEN: The results (that 1800 homes are threatened) are wrong.

    The Shand report (not independently peer-reviewed) admits it did not apply the Komar method. The author should be given the opportunity to rebut the contention that he (directly or indirectly) applied the Bruun Rule. If he cannot do so the report should be shredded.

    • But that would be simple…

      I wonder if the media will show interest in this? Since resource “management” is so topical, touching as it does on Gaia, they should be all over this, for who wants to jeopardise perfectly serviceable property, even in a financial sense?

  5. Flipper on 06/09/2012 at 8:49 am said:

    This is all good stuff Richard.
    I have had great sport teasing my Paraparaumu resident briother (A much published Engineering Geologist) on where he is storing his Ark.

    More seriously, the “DimPost” this week carried a report featuring likely affected resident legal action v the KCDC, but like all Greenfax publications they stuffed up and did not ask the core questions. Moreover, they featured a KCDC bureaucratic creature who claims the paper was also “peer reviewed” by a Palmerston North academic.

    • Yes, Dr Shepherd is the retired academic from Massey who pal-reviewed the report.

      The Dom Post talked about legal action? On what basis? Do you have a reference for the article?

  6. Flipper on 06/09/2012 at 9:24 am said:

    Try these Richard:

    Kapiti Erosion Risk May Devalue 1800 Homes |

    Aug 27, 2012 … Up to 1800 of Kapiti’s wealthiest beachfront properties may be … Mayor Jenny Rowan said the new shoreline predictions could come as a ……/kapiti/…/Kapiti-erosion-risk-may-devalue-1800-homes

    1800 Kapiti beachfront homes at risk – national |

    Aug 28, 2012 … Some of the Kapiti Coast’s most desirable beachfront real estate is at risk from … representing the predicted shoreline in 50 and 100 years’ time.

    Kapiti Beachfront Owners Consider Lawsuit Over Property… | Stuff …

    1 day ago … Kapiti beachfront property owners feel “blitzkrieged” by the council’s coastal … whose homes were affected by the latest shoreline predictions.…/kapiti/…/Beachfront-owners-up-in-arms-over-erosion- claim

    Kapiti Coast Properties Devalued By Erosion |

    Aug 28, 2012 … About 1800 homes on the Kapiti Coast have been identified as at risk … neighbourhood maps showing 50 – 100-year shoreline predictions.…/Couple-battle-for-their-home

    • Thanks, Flipper. I’m gobsmacked.
      I’m also snowed under right now (in a good way – it’s great to have lots of work) but until I can research some more, you guys can keep the material coming.
      This is big and it’s local. We have to get the message out that the problem is man-made, since the DC must back down and have the report done properly.

    • Andy on 06/09/2012 at 9:58 am said:

      These issues are quite disturbing for Christchurch East property owners. Large parts of it are sinking due to liquefaction, and insurance companies are playing hardball and forcing repairs on people where it is clearly not the best option.

      What I fear is that they will do the repairs and then make the properties uninsurable due to either junk science like this, or the real problem that we shouldn’t have built the city on a swamp in the first place.

      This is going to become a major problem for NZ over the next few years.

      (Update – this from today’s Press )

    • Willem de Lange on 06/09/2012 at 2:53 pm said:

      Despite sinking due to the earthquake, and hence experiencing a rapid rise in relative sea level, there does not appear to be any severe coastal erosion?
      The same was observed following the 1987 Edgecumbe Earthquake in the Bay of Plenty.
      Any assessment of the coastal response to sea level changes that does not include consideration of the sediment budget is probably unreliable (it could be right for the wrong reasons).

      Back in 1985, as part of conference, I went on a tour of various areas of Christchurch affected by natural hazards. We were shown areas likely to be impacted by liquefaction and told that they were not suitable for subdivision. Seems that someone changed their mind, which is why I wonder at Councils that focus considerable effort on protecting people from unlikely hazards that develop slowly and can be mitigated.

    • Andy on 06/09/2012 at 3:22 pm said:

      Willem – it’s fair to say that there isn’t a coastal erosion problem in most of Christchurch. However, the Southshore spit (my property is located at the head of this) has shown major changes over the years (as you’d expect from a formation that is built from sand)

      This will become increasingly difficult to justify maintenance on, as the whole estuary side has been red-zoned and will be demolished

      The Brooklands/Parklands area was particularly hard hit by liquefaction and this was one of the areas that you probably noted as unsuitable for building, as did the council initially. I’m not sure how approval was granted, but there have been many dodgy dealing over the years.

      Our best case scenario is that our house gets written off and we can leave Christchurch, maybe maintaining a small bach or office on the section.

      We’ll see in time.

    • Louise on 17/09/2012 at 4:44 pm said:

      Hi Richard,

      I own one of the affected properties – stressful times. And Council meeting last weekend didn’t help much. Do you think any scientists are likely to challenge the KCDC findings?

    • Hi Louise,

      Yes, I can’t imagine what it must be like.

      You ask about a scientist challenging the report. This very post was written by a scientist. Willem is a senior lecturer in earth sciences at Waikato University and he’s published extensively on this subject from his research in New Zealand. He trains doctoral candidates, is called to give expert testimony in court cases and is well respected around the country.

      He has quite definitely “challenged” the hazard report. There’s no other way of putting it! Having said “the authors are correct to state that the Bruun Rule is inappropriate” and then explained that they used the Bruun Rule anyway, he’s delivered about the sternest rebuke I’ve ever read from one scientist to another.

      Short of him breaking out some swear words or speaking in derogatory terms about somebody’s parentage he can hardly put the matter more strongly. So you already have your scientific challenge. What will you do with it?

      Will the Kapiti residents insist on a response from the council? I suggest you use all the means you have to put pressure on the council. I’m in Auckland, so I can’t do anything locally, but the more people who come here to the CCG to comment, complain and support each other, the more effect it will have when you all point to this blog and say to the council: “get another report!” I think some lawyer residents are getting some action under way – that should help.

      Write letters to your local papers, the Dom Post, attend the meetings, run your own meetings. And keep us in touch. Let us know what happened at the council meeting last weekend.

  7. Flipper on 06/09/2012 at 3:47 pm said:

    This is the best DomPost coverage of the Shand /.Shepherd / KCDC PR disaster:

    Beachfront owners up in arms over erosion claim


    Last updated 05:00 05/09/2012

    Kapiti beachfront property owners feel “blitzkrieged” by the council’s coastal erosion report that has devalued their properties, and are prepared to go to court as a last resort.

    The Coastal Erosion Hazard Risk report, published last week, detailed the predicted risk to all beachfront properties between Paekakariki and Otaki. The data will be included in future land information memoranda (LIMS), and could affect the insurance and property values of the homes.

    Anthropologist Salima Munro, a resident of Paraparaumu’s beachfront Manly St, said there was “a lot of discontent” among people whose homes were affected by the latest shoreline predictions.

    Experts such as engineers, architects and barristers were coming together to work on seeking remedy through the courts, she said.

    One of her neighbours had been planning to sell up and move into a retirement home, but had had to abandon those plans.

    Lawyer Christopher Ruthe, also of Manly St, said groups of residents were desperately trying to avoid litigation by attending council meetings this month.

    “I question the competency of the council which relies on a report where the science is seriously questioned,” he said.

    He attended a council meeting last week and put up a series of questions to the report writer.

    “The councillors did not answer. The answers were given by a staff member who had the apparent ability within a few minutes to understand all the questions and give the answers.

    “I wonder if the council conducts its meetings according to the principles of voodooism, where apparently information is shared telepathically.”

    The council had said the report had been peer-reviewed, he said, “yet there had been no apparent peer review of the 2012 report in accordance with best practice, as understood by any competent academic”, he said.

    Mrs Munro, who carries out peer reviews for international organisations, said the council’s peer assessment did not validate the information in the report.

    “We have had no chance to prove we were not flood-prone. The council’s actions go completely against an open and democratic process.

    “We have been blitzkrieged. There is no proper peer review to validate the report.

    “False information has gone onto our LIM reports. We could call for a judicial review and file a lawsuit for the value we have lost.

    “A lot of people planning to put their houses on the market are now too scared – you are looking at millions of dollars of people’s values.

    “People put their lives into their houses. You might as well spend another $60,000 and get a decent peer review.”

    Council sustainable development manager Jim Ebenhoh said the reports had been peer-reviewed by both a mathematician and a Massey University coastal geomorphologist, with further reviews conducted by experts.

    The council was “confident that the data has been appropriately peer-reviewed and would stand up to any legal challenge”.

    The council was legally required to conduct the coastal hazard assessment and put the information straight into LIM reports under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act, Mr Ebenhoh said.

    “If council had held this information and did not put it on LIMs, it would be open to legal challenge from any purchaser who bought a property that council knew to be subject to coastal erosion.”

    Mr Ebenhoh said residents were welcome to pursue “any action they wish”, including site assessments at their cost, but they would also be able to make submissions on the hazard lines after November as part of the district plan review.

    • Andy on 06/09/2012 at 4:03 pm said:

      If so many homes are affected by this then they probably need to form a collective and take legal action against the council.

    • Robert on 07/09/2012 at 5:56 pm said:

      Watch the space. I am sure there will be plenty chipping in to see this one done properly.
      The point is if we are are risk of (say: storm erosion, tsunami, liquification) that’s understandable to a degree, but to be told an event will happen within a defined timeframe, based on vague science, that is entirely different.

  8. Helen on 06/09/2012 at 5:55 pm said:

    As one of the affected homeowners I welcome this discussion. While I have watched the dunes accreting, with the occasional storm erosion we’ve been totally devastated by having a red line put through our house! At least now I might get a night’s sleep knowing that their maths is worse than mine.

    • Hi Helen,

      Nice crack about their maths! Not what you pay experts for, though, is it?

      How far are you from the high water mark? And what are people saying down there? How upset are they?

  9. Dave Broad on 06/09/2012 at 11:33 pm said:

    I’ve been an amatuer geologist since I was a child. Living in Kapiti I’ve been researching the area for a number of years. I’ve written the following about the Kapiti Coastal Hazard Assessment report on another blog;

    My recollection was the report didn’t mention “anthropogenic global warming”, but used the present annual sea level rise figure, subtracting annual Kapiti geological land lift. Kapiti rises (on average) 4mm per year. I’ve read the few existing geological history papers about Kapiti, being the nerd that I am. Most of Kapiti was sea floor 15,000 years ago. Sea levels were up to 15 meters higher back then. The ancient coastline is called the Otaki formation. Obviously things changed over time to give us the Kapiti we enjoy today. The presence of Kapiti Island was necessary for Kapiti to form. Shorelines are influenced by many factors, prevailing winds & weather, ocean currents, land level, sea levels, coastal vegetation establishing itself, rivers & their downwash, the regular arrival of driftwood to help dune formation etc. Kapiti coastal dunes even benefited substantially from the outwash of the Taupo eruption of 2000 years ago

    My opinion of the Kapiti coastal hazard assessment report, is what is being presented as facts are in fact highly arbitrary. The presence of human habitation on any coast, can lead to terrible erosion, but it can also lead to very effective coastal management strategies as well. One of the biggest tell tale signs in the report was the use of historical survey maps & aerial photographs. Which in the main confirm that over time the coastline in Kapiti has been advancing. Which is just a continuation of the trend which allowed Kapiti to form in the first place.

    • Willem de Lange on 07/09/2012 at 10:34 am said:

      The hills inland from the coast are rising at 1-5 mm/y, but the coast is relatively static. See the image at
      The sea floor between the coast and Kapiti Island was dry land 15,000 years ago, but sea level was lower, not higher, by about 80 m.

    • Willem de Lange on 12/09/2012 at 1:58 pm said:

      There is an added complication to the land movement aspect. It is argued that there is an ongoing readjustment of the Earth’s crust to the loss of ice mass during the current interglacial.
      This is known as the Glacio-Isostatic Adjustment or GIA.
      It is argued, but so far I have only seen it published as a personal communication, that New Zealand as a whole is rebounding at 0.4 mm/y due to the removal of the glaciers that were present (mostly in the South Island) some 14,000 years ago. Therefore, the measured relative sea level at the New Zealand coast (say 1.4 mm/y) must be adjusted by the GIA to give an absolute sea level rise of 1.8 mm/y, which agrees with the tide gauge observations of long-term global rate.
      Where it gets a little interesting is the global rate is now determined by satellites, and it is argued that the ocean floor is sinking at a rate of 0.3 mm/y as part of the GIA. Therefore, the global sea level rate must be adjusted by 0.3 mm/y. This adjustment is also added. So in effect, the GIA added to NZ sea level rates is almost the same as the GIA added to the global rate.
      This begs the question, why bother? Also having bothered, does it matter? Well, the assumption made is that the global rate (after adjusting for GIA) is a good predictor on the NZ rate (after adjusting). This rate is then multiplied by the effect of the Bruun Rule.
      Typically for the proposed planning time frames, the error would be 2-5 m. This is small, but I suspect the property owners would see it as a significant proportion of their land.

  10. Flipper on 07/09/2012 at 9:25 am said:

    Dave B …
    Are you sure?
    My recollection is that the NI east coast is rising and the west coast falling/settling.
    When one looks at Castlepoint (for example), the rising land mass is plain (great vision of Gaia at work, for children and foreign visitors).
    So if there is an E to W NI tilt, what does “the coastline in Kapiti has been advancing” mean? Does it mean higher high tide marks ( less land) or more land mass?

    No agro Dave,. Just curiosity.

    • Dave Broad on 07/09/2012 at 10:42 am said:

      Hi Flipper,

      That’s a very good question, given the movement of the Australian & Pacific Tectonic plates.

      I’ve taken the 4mm uplift figure from Dr Shand’s Kapiti Coastal Hazards Assessment report itself, page 19 section 3.1.5

      Also, from what I have read, parts of the north beach area were raised as a result of a large earthquake that occured in the 1800’s. Which further confirms uplifting forces at work in this particular area. What I’ve studied is the geological evidence of the current Kapiti coast cuspate foreland, & the many ongoing influences that enabled that to be formed over time. This is what I mean by the coastline advancing (from the nearby hills & mountains), overall more land has been created in Kapiti over time.

    • Bob D on 07/09/2012 at 11:35 am said:

      Dave Broad:

      I’ve taken the 4mm uplift figure from Dr Shand’s Kapiti Coastal Hazards Assessment report itself, page 19 section 3.1.5

      Doesn’t it say 0.4-0.5mm/year in that section, though?

    • Dave Broad on 07/09/2012 at 2:12 pm said:

      Yes it’s the average figure per year specified in the Dr Shand’s report, Bob D. But as Willem says that figure relates more accurately to the hills in the area, & the coast itself being more static.

      “not subtracting the New Zealand average regional historical SLR of 1.7 mm/yr, or the
      relative vertical movement resulting from local tectonic adjustment, which is
      estimated to be average 0.4 to 0.5 mm/yr of uplift in the Kapiti area, from the
      global value given in the Guidance Manual” – Page 19 section 3.1.5 Kapiti Coastal Hazards assessment report

  11. Dave Broad on 07/09/2012 at 10:59 am said:

    This 1972 report on Kapiti geology, by C A Fleming is very informative.

  12. Macs on 07/09/2012 at 12:26 pm said:

    The “peer reviewer” Dr Mike Shepherd is conflicted on two counts:
    1. He is an Associate of Coastal Systems Ltd.
    2. He supervised Roger Shand’s PhD.

    This wouldn’t have happened if Council had invested Pat Dougherty’s $44,000 salary rise in January on a professional peer review. (Pat Dougherty is the overpaid CEO). Given the size of his salary, he should have known better.

    • I didn’t know that. It certainly adds to a picture of sloppy science. But the seriously penetrating question is why was the equation altered to resemble the very one the paper deprecated?

  13. Helen on 08/09/2012 at 9:54 pm said:

    Hi Richard

    We are about 30 metres, maybe a bit less, from the high tide mark and near the beach access road. There are some seriously dismayed and confused people here. We have a public meeting on the 15th of September with the ‘experts’ and council but have heard nothing from anyone since the original letter. The real estate agents had a meeting within a few days and say the council sounded very entrenched. I’ve hardly slept for the last two weeks so your posts have raised our spirits. Hopefully common sense, or decent science, will prevail.

    • Ok, so you’re pretty close to the sea, Helen. I bet people are dismayed; we’re talking about their most valuable assets, in most cases. The council might sound confident in their position right now (that’s what they’re supposed to be, on behalf of their residents), but the truth will dislodge them if it’s declared with confidence. It’s great to hear that we might actually be helping you down there!

  14. val majkus on 10/09/2012 at 5:34 pm said:

    this is an Australian story but relevant to the issues set by alarmists
    A NEW brick and tile home recently built 1.2 metres above the ground to meet flood plan requirements must be demolished in 40 years to beat the 1 metre sea-level rises predicted to occur mid century.

    See your ad here

    The 40-year cap was the unprecedented condition imposed by Wyong Shire Council.

    Sydney retirees John and Carol Hannaford have spent $500,000 building a home at Budgewoi which they intended “to leave to the kids”.

    But because of state and federal government climate change requirements – and the way those requirements have been interpreted by council staff – the well-intended legacy will likely be one of encumbrance.

    “Unless the Hannafords can get this condition of approval removed, in 40 years’ time a bulldozer will be out in the road ready to legally reduce this home to rubble, with the bill going to the owners,” Cr Greg Best told the Lakes Mail on Tuesday.

    “I am ashamed to say we as a council blackmailed the Hannafords into building this house with a maximum 40-year life because our legal advice was we had no choice. It was either that, or nothing.”

    Cr Best said the “bizarre and ridiculous” situation was created by the “knee-jerk flood plan and sea-level rise requirements” being placed on maps, with councils being told to adopt a plan of action.

    “This couple bought the block of land in 2009 on a suburban street several streets back from the lake, a street that in recorded memory has never been flooded.

    “Our planners gave them approval to knock the existing old home down and then later told them that the new mapping meant they couldn’t build anything on it,” Cr Best said.

    “Council hadn’t and still hasn’t as yet adopted a formal flood plan policy but the planners used their option to take the draft into consideration.

    “And this sea-level flood plan scenario is going to affect some 20,000 homes in our shire, plus thousands in Lake Macquarie which has already adopted the mapping in its flood plan.”

    Mr Hannaford said moving to the Central Coast and building a new home to live out his retirement started as a dream but has turned into a nightmare.

    “Having spent $220,000 on the block we had no choice but to build the house with the 40-year approval in the hope that common sense would eventually prevail and the condition would be removed,” he said.

    Mr Hannaford said the flood and sea-level rise mapping had already seriously affected his insurance.

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    “Last year our insurance bill was $660. This year it is $4119 if we include $2281 for the flood cover,” he said.

    Cr Best warned that the flood plan link to sea-level rises and climate change was “out of control”.

    “This is just the tip of an iceberg about to surface.”

  15. Richard C (NZ) on 11/09/2012 at 12:46 pm said:

    Sea Level Acceleration: Not so Fast

    World Climate Report, September 10, 2012

    Chief Editor: Patrick J. Michaels

    “The bottom line is this: the more people look for the anticipated acceleration in the rate of sea level rise, the less evidence they seem to find in support of it. All the while, we eat into the 21st century with a rate of sea level rise not much different from that experienced during the 20th century—and one which was hardly catastrophic, readily proven by a simple look around.”

    WCR could also have referenced:-

    Boretti, A.A. 2012. Short term comparison of climate model predictions and satellite altimeter measurements of sea levels. Coastal Engineering 60: 319-322.

    The Australian scientist reports that the average rate of SLR over the almost 20-year period of satellite radar altimeter observations is 3.1640 mm/year, which if held steady over a century would yield a mean global SLR of 31.64 cm, which is just a little above the low-end projection of the IPCC for the year 2100. However, he also finds that the rate of SLR is reducing over the measurement period at a rate of -0.11637 mm/year2, and that this deceleration is also “reducing” at a rate of -0.078792 mm/year3.

    Boretti writes that the huge deceleration of SLR over the last 10 years “is clearly the opposite of what is being predicted by the models,” and that “the SLR’s reduction is even more pronounced during the last 5 years.”

  16. val majkus on 11/09/2012 at 6:00 pm said:

    Good news for New South Wales coastal residents today:
    The NSW Government today announced significant changes to the way the NSW coast will be managed, giving more freedom to landowners to protect their properties from erosion and dropping Labor’s onerous statewide sea level rise planning benchmarks.

    Special Minister of State, Chris Hartcher said the changes mean councils will have the freedom to consider local conditions when determining future hazards.

    The first stage of the NSW Government’s comprehensive coastal reforms will:

    • Make it easier for coastal landholders to install temporary works to reduce the impacts of erosion on their properties;
    • Remove the compulsory application of sea level rise benchmarks;
    • Deliver clarity to councils on the preparation of section 149 notices by focusing on current known hazards; and
    • Support local councils by providing information and expert advice on sea level rise relevant to their local area.

    Mr Hartcher said the changes strike the right balance between protecting property and managing the State’s vast coastline.

    “The NSW Government has listened to the concerns of communities and councils about previous coastal erosion reforms and the uncertainties they caused for landholders,” Mr Hartcher said.

    “The Ministerial Coastal Taskforce has carefully considered the best ways to empower coastal communities to take preventative measures before erosion occurs.

    “Our changes will mean landowners can more easily place sandbags on their properties to reduce impacts of erosion from smaller storm events.

    “Landowners in erosion prone areas need to be allowed to take sensible measures to protect their land from coastal erosion and not be tied up in red tape.

    “We will also halve the maximum penalties for offences relating the inappropriate use of these works, which were excessive.”

    Mr Hartcher said the heavy-handed application of Labor’s sea level rise planning benchmarks for 2050 and 2100 would go.

    “There has been concern about the negative impacts on property values from these unclear section 149 certificate notations,” Mr Hartcher said.

    “The NSW Government will remove the need for councils to use state-wide sea level rise projections.

    “We will be assisting councils by providing information on future sea level rise relevant to their local area and by giving councils access to expert advice.

    “It is critical that the information contained in the section 149 certificates and the underlying mapping is clear and accurate.”

    The NSW Government will issue advice to all councils to guide the preparation and use of section 149 certificates. This will provide much needed certainty for local communities on how these certificates refer to future coastal erosion hazard.

    “This will give councils more certainty as the Government continues its reform of coastal management in NSW,” Mr Hartcher said.

    The NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer has identified uncertainty in the projected rate of future sea level rise given that the scientific knowledge in the field was continually evolving.

    Mr Hartcher said as an interim measure, all councils preparing coastal zone management plans will be given an extra 12 months to complete them and have suspended certification of any further plans.

    The Coastal Ministerial Taskforce will continue to work with councils and communities on the second stage of reforms.

    For Assessment of the science behind the NSW Government’s sea level rise planning benchmarks – see

    • Richard C (NZ) on 13/09/2012 at 8:48 am said:

      ABC reports this development from this angle:-

      State Government ditches UN’s climate science

      The NSW Government has introduced new laws that ignore United Nations predictions about sea level-rise

      The New South Wales Government is abandoning seal (sic) level-rise predictions from the United Nations as the basis for coastal management policy.

      Under laws introduced by the Labor Government, local councils had to take account of UN projections when deciding whether a seaside property was ‘at risk’ of erosion.


      How many times have we seen “seal” level-rise?

  17. Who`s pushing who? … We, as an affected Otaki Beach North property, totally agree with the aforesaid logical parameter methodology that the de Lange statement illuminates… BUT… be aware of what may be the true driver that has captured the KCDC… a case of “Have method, will travel.” I draw attention to a document that came into my possession recently, namely, a circa-2008 survey, on US web research, shown to have been commissioned by Wellington City Corporation, for $10,000, from Dr. Taciano L Milfont, VICTORIA UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF PSYCHOLOGY… He & another “Visiting professor” from the UK,instituted a canvassing questionnaire, that extended to selected parts of Otaki.. but well away from the beach area.. with questions so outlandish, & race & religious attitudes & opinions on the matter of coastal erosion… my informant was so shocked, he kept the document, thus providing it to me… On investigation of this Dr.Taciano, we find that he is a member of the US Society of Psychologists, he, specialising in Weather Change Psychology… His CV contains extensive instances of being involved in engineering opinion for those that are promoting the stories to the population, such as we have now.. just as the “Council consultants” at our Otaki “meeting”… Mr.Dahn, (Peer Reviewer), the Insurance Broker, from EON… all are US based organisations… SO… we need to go on the offensive, asking the KCDC to declare under the Local Bodies Act who they have engaged in the private sector, to push this abomination through…&how much of the ratepayer`s money have they spent doing it?… this Council is highly secretive& divisive.. I say, stump up or resign… Kindest regards to all that are interested… R. L. Pinfold, Otaki Beach,[phone number supplied].

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