‘They’ll be drownded in the tide.’ Reconsidering Coastal Boundaries in the Face of Sea-level Rise

  • Mick Strack University of Otago
Keywords: Sea-Level Rise, Coastal Boundaries, Planning Law


In New Zealand the coastal margins are contested spaces that provide a setting for conflict between the interests of private property owners, indigenous and customary rights holders, public users, and local and central governments. Public access, environmental protection and enhancement, and continuing coastal development are all legitimate but conflicting policy goals. Uncertainty about the movements of coastal boundaries exacerbates the conflict and adds confusion to coastal management. Coastal property conflicts are well established in case law, legislation and policy implementation, and they are likely to increase with the effects of climate change. This paper explores the tensions, anomalies and impacts of coastal boundaries as they respond to sea-level rise.


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