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Government to review flood risk management signing

Government to review flood risk management signing

The government will review flood risk management and river control in New Zealand to ensure procedures are robust, Environment Minister Marian Hobbs announced today.

The Ministry for the Environment will lead the review, in consultation with regional government and central government agencies including the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management.

"Two major floods this year highlighted the fact that local councils were squeezed between demands to use flood plains for housing and intensive agriculture and the cost of providing enough protection from floods," Marian Hobbs said.

"The review will examine current approaches to river control and flood risk management, identify strengths and weaknesses and determine what changes are required.

"The Manawatu and Bay of Plenty floods in February and July led to major economic losses, social and environmental disruption, and central government providing substantial financial relief," Marian Hobbs said. "It is timely to review how we manage river control and flood risk management, and whether we are focusing our efforts in the right areas."

Responsibility for flood risk management was devolved to regional government in the late 1980s.

"The increasing flood risk suggests that regional councils and unitary authorities could face increasing difficulties and escalating costs to manage flood events in future years," Marian Hobbs said.

Relevant professions including insurance, science, engineering, hyrdrology, land use and infrastructure design will be consulted on the review's work programme before it goes to the cabinet for approval in a couple of months. A regional council proposal to investigate river management and engineering issues, standards and best practice will be incorporated into the review.

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