How we are currently managing natural hazard risk

Land use and buildings

Risk to buildings, people and property are currently managed through a combination of Building Act regulations, and regional and district policies and plans.


Building consents

Building consents are generally required for new buildings, additions, alterations and repairs to manage building design and safety for the life of a building (50 years).


Regional planning requirements

The Canterbury Regional Policy Statement (CRPS) 2013 sets out the framework and priorities for resource management in the Canterbury region, including managing natural hazard risk. It also sets out the responsibilities and functions of local authorities in the control of land-use to avoid or mitigate natural hazards. The CRPS further reinforces direction in the NZCPS, including:

  • Avoiding increasing risk in areas subject to hazards which are unacceptable , such as areas likely to be subject to coastal inundation or erosion over at least the next 100 years, or flood waters of high depth and velocity which pose a risk to life ;
  • Reducing reliance on hard protection structures ;
  • The importance of protecting critical infrastructure

The Regional Coastal Environment Plan 2005 (RCEP) sets out how Environment Canterbury will carry out its resource management responsibilities in the coastal marine area, including those related to coastal hazards. The RCEP includes some rules relating to activities in coastal erosion zones directly adjacent to the coast, which may apply to the land side of the CMA.

Any district planning documents must give effect to the CRPS, and not be inconsistent with the RCEP. While the current direction and rules in the regional planning documents sets the framework for regional land use, both the CRPS and RCEP are due for review in 2021.


District planning requirements

The Christchurch District Plan (CDP) 2017 includes floor level requirements and controls on development in areas at risk of flooding , controls in areas directly adjacent to the coastline , assessment requirements for areas at risk of liquefaction , and an overarching policy approach to avoid unacceptable risk to natural hazards . The Christchurch District Plan contains limited management of development in areas at risk from coastal hazard, but requires assessment of coastal hazard risk within the coastal environment, consistent with the requirements in the New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement. The extent of the coastal environment is defined on the planning maps and supporting policies in the Christchurch District Plan. The Christchurch City Council has statutory direction to develop coastal hazard provisions “as soon as practicable”.

The Christchurch City Council also has a flood intervention policy for frequent above floor flooding. Assistance will be provided to landowners of properties meeting the policy criteria where flooding experienced has been worsened by the earthquakes, and planned flood mitigation schemes will not offer a timely reduction to the flood risk. Flockton is the first area where this policy has been applied, having been through a long process of investigation and flood mitigation design, and understanding which properties will benefit from timely area-wide mitigations, and which won't. The Heathcote is the other area where the policy is currently being applied. Up to seven properties were identified in Flockton and up to 35 in Heathcote to which the policy could be applied.


Council infrastructure and floodplain management

The Christchurch City Council 30-year Infrastructure Strategy 2018-2048 explains how the Council will deliver and manage infrastructure to support core services to meet the needs of current and future generations. The strategy outlines the levels of service for the provision of infrastructure, flood protection commitments and resilience of infrastructure.

Various projects relating to increased flooding because of the earthquakes are being undertaken through the Christchurch City Council’s Land Drainage Recovery Programme. A number of studies have also been commissioned by both the Christchurch City Council and the community, investigating different flood protection options for Southshore and South New Brighton. The South Brighton Reserves Management Plan outlines how the three South Brighton Reserves along the estuary edge will be managed. This includes a number of aims focusing on ecological, cultural and landscape values, natural defenses of the estuary edge to improve resilience to the effects of climate change and erosion, and recreation activities. The South New Brighton Reserves Development Plan 2014 includes additional requirements for Council and must be complied with under the Reserves Act. This includes landscape and concept plans and a prioritised list of development projects.


Community resilience

Christchurch is part of the 100 Resilient Cities network, an international initiative dedicated to helping cities around the world become more resilient to the physical, social and economic challenges that cities face in the 21st century. As part of this, the Christchurch City Council, along with other partners in Greater Christchurch prepared a Resilient Greater Christchurch Plan . This Plan acknowledges seismicity, flooding, tsunami and climate change, including sea level rise, as some of the key shocks and stresses that the Greater Christchurch needs to build resilience.

The Resilient Greater Christchurch Plan has four goals, including a goal on understanding risks to be better prepared for future challenges. Part of the ‘understand’ goal includes a specific programme on securing a future in the eastern parts of Christchurch.

Land use and buildings

Risk to buildings, people and property are currently managed through a combination of Building Act regulations, and regional and district policies and plans.


Building consents

Building consents are generally required for new buildings, additions, alterations and repairs to manage building design and safety for the life of a building (50 years).


Regional planning requirements

The Canterbury Regional Policy Statement (CRPS) 2013 sets out the framework and priorities for resource management in the Canterbury region, including managing natural hazard risk. It also sets out the responsibilities and functions of local authorities in the control of land-use to avoid or mitigate natural hazards. The CRPS further reinforces direction in the NZCPS, including:

  • Avoiding increasing risk in areas subject to hazards which are unacceptable , such as areas likely to be subject to coastal inundation or erosion over at least the next 100 years, or flood waters of high depth and velocity which pose a risk to life ;
  • Reducing reliance on hard protection structures ;
  • The importance of protecting critical infrastructure

The Regional Coastal Environment Plan 2005 (RCEP) sets out how Environment Canterbury will carry out its resource management responsibilities in the coastal marine area, including those related to coastal hazards. The RCEP includes some rules relating to activities in coastal erosion zones directly adjacent to the coast, which may apply to the land side of the CMA.

Any district planning documents must give effect to the CRPS, and not be inconsistent with the RCEP. While the current direction and rules in the regional planning documents sets the framework for regional land use, both the CRPS and RCEP are due for review in 2021.


District planning requirements

The Christchurch District Plan (CDP) 2017 includes floor level requirements and controls on development in areas at risk of flooding , controls in areas directly adjacent to the coastline , assessment requirements for areas at risk of liquefaction , and an overarching policy approach to avoid unacceptable risk to natural hazards . The Christchurch District Plan contains limited management of development in areas at risk from coastal hazard, but requires assessment of coastal hazard risk within the coastal environment, consistent with the requirements in the New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement. The extent of the coastal environment is defined on the planning maps and supporting policies in the Christchurch District Plan. The Christchurch City Council has statutory direction to develop coastal hazard provisions “as soon as practicable”.

The Christchurch City Council also has a flood intervention policy for frequent above floor flooding. Assistance will be provided to landowners of properties meeting the policy criteria where flooding experienced has been worsened by the earthquakes, and planned flood mitigation schemes will not offer a timely reduction to the flood risk. Flockton is the first area where this policy has been applied, having been through a long process of investigation and flood mitigation design, and understanding which properties will benefit from timely area-wide mitigations, and which won't. The Heathcote is the other area where the policy is currently being applied. Up to seven properties were identified in Flockton and up to 35 in Heathcote to which the policy could be applied.


Council infrastructure and floodplain management

The Christchurch City Council 30-year Infrastructure Strategy 2018-2048 explains how the Council will deliver and manage infrastructure to support core services to meet the needs of current and future generations. The strategy outlines the levels of service for the provision of infrastructure, flood protection commitments and resilience of infrastructure.

Various projects relating to increased flooding because of the earthquakes are being undertaken through the Christchurch City Council’s Land Drainage Recovery Programme. A number of studies have also been commissioned by both the Christchurch City Council and the community, investigating different flood protection options for Southshore and South New Brighton. The South Brighton Reserves Management Plan outlines how the three South Brighton Reserves along the estuary edge will be managed. This includes a number of aims focusing on ecological, cultural and landscape values, natural defenses of the estuary edge to improve resilience to the effects of climate change and erosion, and recreation activities. The South New Brighton Reserves Development Plan 2014 includes additional requirements for Council and must be complied with under the Reserves Act. This includes landscape and concept plans and a prioritised list of development projects.


Community resilience

Christchurch is part of the 100 Resilient Cities network, an international initiative dedicated to helping cities around the world become more resilient to the physical, social and economic challenges that cities face in the 21st century. As part of this, the Christchurch City Council, along with other partners in Greater Christchurch prepared a Resilient Greater Christchurch Plan . This Plan acknowledges seismicity, flooding, tsunami and climate change, including sea level rise, as some of the key shocks and stresses that the Greater Christchurch needs to build resilience.

The Resilient Greater Christchurch Plan has four goals, including a goal on understanding risks to be better prepared for future challenges. Part of the ‘understand’ goal includes a specific programme on securing a future in the eastern parts of Christchurch.