The future of our coastline

Closed 31 July 2022

Who should take charge of adapting to coastal hazards between Clifton and Tangoio?

About the consultation

We're asking the community for feedback on whether Hawke's Bay Regional Council should take charge of adapting to coastal hazards.   

What is the problem?

Climate change is causing sea levels to rise, and severe storms are occurring more frequently. Over time this puts hundreds of millions of dollars of public and private assets at risk.

This is an emerging problem so there is uncertainty about how fast we need to respond to these challenges.

But we already know a lot.

We know people highly value our coastline as a place to live, work, connect, and play.

We know we have rare and threatened coastal marine ecosystems that need protection.

We know storm surges and sea level rise are happening – sea levels have been rising in Hawke’s Bay by about 4mm per year since 1993.

We know the effects of climate change are going to intensify.

We know land subsiding vertically (due to moving tectonic plates) will compound problems in some places*.

We know the effects on our region will be significant and we need to plan ahead to minimise social disruption and community upheaval.

We know there are things we can do to buy us time.

We know the Government plans to introduce a new Climate Change Adaptation Act to help with these complex issues including planned retreat. We are pushing ahead with a Hawke’s Bay solution as well as engaging with the Government on this new legislation

What is the proposal?

We’re proposing that Hawke’s Bay Regional Council takes charge and leads this next important phase. This would give the Regional Council the mandate to finalise the Strategy. We want to know what you think.

Strategy development

HBRC will take primary responsibility to finish developing and consult on the Clifton to Tangoio Coastal Hazards Strategy 2120.

Transferring assets

Hastings District Council (HDC) and Napier City Council (NCC) will transfer the ownership of existing infrastructure assets that manage coastal hazard risks to HBRC. HBRC will take over responsibility for the assets, such as ongoing maintenance, monitoring, any debt, and collecting associated rates. This is a service that your local council has provided in the past and would now be done by HBRC. For those ratepayers that contribute to coastal protection, you will see a reduction in your rates for coastal work on your NCC or HDC invoice and instead it will show up in your HBRC rates.

Strategy implementation

HBRC will be responsible for implementing the Strategy once confirmed through formal public consultation. This includes design, consents, construction, and maintaining works proposed under the Strategy. We know that significant capital and operational funding is needed to implement the proposed works recommended by community panels. New structures will also need resource consents. The working assumption is that HBRC will follow a beneficiary-pays model, similar to how targeted rates apply to flood protection schemes.

Clifton to Tangoio is the focus area of this proposal. The stretch of coast between Clifton to Tangoio is the most developed and populated part of the region’s coastline. Important strategic assets include Napier Port, Hawke’s Bay Airport, the railway, State Highway 51, industry, popular recreational spaces, and thousands of homes. We are not asking for feedback about the content of the Strategy, funding to implement it, or how rates are set, at this stage. If HBRC takes charge, it would be responsible for developing these matters, and would consult on them separately as part of the Regional Council’s Long Term Plan.

What are the options?

There are two options being considered. Doing nothing is not an option.

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council takes charge.

This option was recommended by an independent Funding Review, led by Raynor Asher QC in 2021. Mr Asher found HBRC best placed to ‘take charge’ of all aspects of adapting to hazard risks on the Clifton to Tangoio coast. The Funding Review also recommended an advisory committee is established to support HBRC as the lead agency, with the same membership as the existing Coastal Hazards Joint Committee — giving HBRC access to local knowledge. The Joint Committee is made up of representatives from Heretaunga Tamatea Settlement Trust, Mana Ahuriri Trust, Maungaharuru-Tangitū Trust, Napier City Council, Hastings District Council, and HBRC. This is the preferred option, and all three partner councils have signed a Memorandum of Transition supporting the proposal in principle.



• One entity in charge makes it clear who is responsible and accountable. It also supports streamlined decision making and should mean faster implementation.

• The Clifton to Tangoio coast crosses city/district boundaries. An intervention in one area may affect other coastal areas. Having one lead council enables a coordinated consistent approach.

• HBRC is the only council with jurisdiction over the whole Hawke’s Bay coastal area.

• HBRC already administers large flood control schemes worth $200 million, with specialist in-house engineering and technical expertise for this type of activity.

• HBRC is the only council empowered to direct a planned retreat response – moving communities and infrastructure inland before they are severely impacted by coastal hazards. This is the recommended long-term option for some communities in the Strategy area.

• Like for like – the rating method would be applied consistently, irrespective of what district a property was located.

• HBRC has a strong balance sheet to take on debt to fund future physical works.



• Some ratepayers may feel they are well served by their local council (it’s not broken so don’t fix it).

• Influence may be diluted if HBRC take charge with less local councillors deciding on funding.

• Opportunity cost of spending regional council time, effort, and resources on coastal hazards adaptation.


Coastal hazards management occurs in various ways by all three councils, with no defined lead agency.

This option means each council is responsible for existing assets and any new assets under their jurisdiction, and would apply their own funding methods. For example, Napier City Council may decide to fund renourishment in Westshore through the General Rate while Hastings District Council apply a per property targeted rate for renourishment in Haumoana. History has also shown that under this approach each council independently commissions their own expert reports which identify various hazards in different ways. This can lead to an inconsistent approach in planning for risks.



• Representation at the most local level. Ratepayers may feel they can have more influence with more local councillors as decision-makers.

• Ratepayers know the service levels for the coastal assets concerned and evidence suggests most are happy with it. (Noting that the intention is to keep service levels at current levels — the major difference between the two options is the council responsible).



• The financial impact on ratepayers may differ between council boundaries for similar works (as the responsible council may take a different approach to funding).

• Less ability to consider the impact of works in one part of the coast on another part where different councils are involved.

• Greater risk of inconsistent approaches along the coastline.

*Total asset value as at 2020 (30-year Infrastructure Strategy, HBRC’s Long Term Plan 2021-2031)

What are the coastal hazard assets?

The following Hastings District Council and Napier City Council assets are proposed to be transfered to HBRC under this proposal. An Asset Transfer Agreement will be developed to confirm the detail of the transfer process.

Clifton revetment, Cape View corner, Waimārama sea wall*

*Outside the geography of the Clifton to Tangoio Coastal Hazards Strategy, but included for transfer because it is the only other coastal mitigation structure held by HDC so it makes sense to transfer this as well.

Westshore beach renourishment, Westshore offshore restoration, Hardinge Road revetment (in Ahuriri)

Key dates

23 May 2022

Memorandum of Transition signed

1 July 2022

Feedback period opens - Have your say!

31 July 2022

Feedback period closes 8pm

22 - 23 August 2022


31 August 2022

HBRC decides in principle whether or not to take charge (subject to confirming the proposal through it's next Long Term Plan)


If you’d like to provide feedback on this proposal, we welcome submissions using the online form below no later than 8pm on Sunday, 31 July 2022.

Please note: your submission is not saved as you go, you will need to complete your feedback and submit in one sitting.

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