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Friday
Aug102018

Climate Change - The Long Game!

I can generally be fairly placed in the camp of the subject of the previous post - Denis Tegg, but I would suggest that his latest missive aimed primarily at an article in the Informer about real estate prices in the Mercury Bay area remaining buoyant, is 'over the top.' .

Denis (see his article in TeggTalk through sidebar) questions whether potential buyers may be being led astray by the failure to fully inform them about the likelihood of substantial increases in insurance premiums, or excesses.

I believe that Denis on this occasion is over-stepping the mark, no matter how well-intentioned his motives in continuing to chide our councils and others into taking more effective and positive steps to protect, and warn residents as to the likely consequences of inaction in regard to what is now certain climate change ahead. 

He may be correct in what he states in his post, but he should recognise that people will literally 'turn-off' his warnings when thay are couched in these terms. Who on earth wants to be told that their housing investmentss are about to 'head south' as insurance companies begin the process of re-assessing their risk profile throughout the District.

We are all aware of this danger already, and in most cases, taking steps to defend our position. It does not help to have someone in Denis's position from literally 'on-high' tell us that we are about to become uninsurable. It may well be true, but it does not help to have Denis constantly remind us of this. LIM reports are there for a purpose, and beyond that, the age-old concept of Caveat Emptor.

I recall that recently, T3 brought the Chair of the Insurance Council to town to address a meeting, and I have no doubt that he was fed a tale of woe while he was here, which he proceeded to reinforce. T3 may not be thrilled to know that he has used the Thames example to emphasise his message of insurance doom in public pronouncements ever since, along with South Dunedin - Golly!

We have a problem - our Council has taken the first steps in dealing it, and in the end 'managed retreat' may be the only answer, but Moanataiari is a known particularity, extant ever since the first house was permitted to be built there on mine tailings. The recent long scheduled Tonkin & Taylor report on this situation will provide a real headache for our council, but I see no reason for the entire District to 'grind to a halt' over it.

Let's get some rationality into this situation - recognise the problem by all means, plan for the future and bring central Government along- it can no longer ignore the situation by leaving local authorities to sort it out alone. But in the meantime Denis, for God's sake stop prodding the insurance industry into taking precipitate, and possibly unnecessarily hasty action that will leave a substantial, if not all our rate-payers disadvantaged.

 

 

 

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Reader Comments (7)

I am inclined to agree with your sentiments Bill.
For the majority of citizens in our small communities, and especially those on fixed incomes or receiving a modest wage (mostly less than the 'living wage'?) life remains a struggle to survive the ravages of constantly increasing costs.
The reality of climate change is paraded in front of us frequently so that we are fairly well aware of what lies ahead.
Insurance companies need no prodding to initiate reviews of their respective risk-profiles and consequent premium increases or denial of coverage for certain and specified risks.
What most people now seek, if they are to consider any sort of action, are some alternatives; other than the sure collapse of everything we know if we do nothing.
My question remains-how do we afford whatever alternative it is that we adopt when we retire property occupation in likely affected areas and redirect roading and all other utility infrastructure to 'safe' areas free from inundation threat?
How?
p.s. If the TCDC really believe the sea-level rise projections why is there talk of a new swimming pool site south of the Thames airfield?

August 10, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterRussell

At last Bill you have seen the light. I have told Dennis in the past that he has long gone past the point of being rational, and he has become pretty much the local prophet of sea rise doom. I no longer am interested in what he has to say, and have placed him in a category with the anti - 1080 merchants, the anti - fluoride brigade , the flat earthers, the chem trail believers, and NZ First supporters. Yes, he raises pertinent issues (or should that be issue?) but you know what? Life goes on.

August 11, 2018 | Unregistered Commenter'

I do not live on the Peninsula, or know this man called TEGG, but to me he seems Hell bent on destroying the lives of people who have bought properties in the area/coastal margins. Such talk will devalue the area, lowering land/house values and consequently your local Council [either voluntarily or forced] will have to amalgamate with your neighbours, bearing in mind that 35% of your Peninsula is owned by the State [controlled by DOC] and dosen't pay any rates.
Rumour has it that the man is chasing down new/proposed developments and bringing pressure to bear on developers. All good and well when it is not your money at stake, but not so good if your Council is actively seeking property developers/ new industry to invest in the area.
Each and every rate payer needs to do due diligence when investing on the peninsula or anywhere for that matter and whilst they should take into account what might be happening with our climate, there is no need, I feel, for this one man's crusade against all and sundry regarding a hypothetical rise in sea level in the next 100 years or so, for as you said Bill--caveat emptor.

August 11, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAtlantis

Bill – it’s really disappointing that you resort to personalising this issue and “shooting the messenger”. It’s a nonsense to suggest that I am “overstepping the mark” or that one individual can “prod the insurance industry into taking precipitate action”, when the insurance industry and dozens of experts in the field have been issuing identical warnings to the public for years. Here for example is a quote from a government funded scientific research foundation – the Deep South Challenge who are actively researching this issue –

“Coastal hazards are escalating with climate change. In particular, coastal homeowners can expect both sea level rise and more frequent and intense coastal storms. However, we continue to see demand for housing through new coastal residential development and intensification of existing urban areas on the coast. This suggests that climate change related escalating coastal hazards are not yet fully reflected in home-owners decisions to purchase and renovate coastal property.”

The issue has been extensively covered in the media for anyone paying attention –
• High price of coastal living Build
• Climate change and what it means for your insurance bill Q+A Business Podcast with Tim Grafton
• Coastal properties may lose insurance RNZ (Jesse Mulligan)
• The risks of living near the ocean Newsroom
• How climate change could send your insurance costs soaring Stuff.co.nz
• What you need to know about the previously withheld climate report Stuff.co.nz
• Climate change and insurance: Expert reaction, Science Media Centre
• Insurance: the canary in the coalmine of climate change? Idealog
• How can NZ insure homes for climate change? NZ Herald
• Sea level-prone homes set for insurance cutoff, RNZ
• Heads in the sand, houses in the water, Newsroom
• Breaking the ice, NIWA

Several Peninsula towns are in the top 20 New Zealand places most at risk from sea level rise. But contrary to what you say many people are blithely ignorant of these risks. If you were in the top group of people with a serious health condition you’d want your doctor to tell you – right? We constantly hear public service health warnings. Are you seriously suggesting that health warnings are okay but sea level rise warnings potentially affecting your life savings are not?

We all make our own assessment of risk. Sure, some people will put on the blinkers and cover their ears. Meanwhile, others are already choosing to move away from the coastal fringe because they have listened to what the experts are saying. Ask them and they will tell you they really appreciated being “constantly reminded” because they are convinced that they made a rational decision to protect their investment dollars. Prospective buyers, whose interests are often forgotten, also appreciate being given the best information available. Insurance retreat is a reality. It’s already beginning with higher excesses in Thames and elsewhere. You cited me examples recently. Why pretend otherwise?

The experts also tell us there are huge future savings to be made for taxpayers and ratepayers if we avoid intensification of property development on the coast, accurately assess the risks nationwide, and inform the public. That is why the government is implementing a national climate change risk assessment and national adaptation plan. We need much more public information/discussion about these issues not less, so we can all start the huge task of planning for what’s coming. Our local MP Scott Simpson has made a start. In a recent Mercury Bay Informer article, he stated bluntly that for sea level induced erosion there are only three options which are all “unpalatable and very expensive”. Defend, Adapt, or Retreat.

August 13, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterDenis Tegg

Denis - It is very disappointing that you chose to take my comments as “personal” and “shooting the messenger.” That was not my intention.
As you well know, I have been totally supportive of your position in the past, and have no need to have all your arguments summarized yet again – I accept and support the basic tenets of what you are saying – but I reserve the right to become a critic when you step into the realm of by implication, suggesting that prices are only ‘holding up’ because of the public being ‘ill-informed.

The insurance companies are quite capable of making their own assessment of the situation, and our decision-making as property owners will largely be based on what results. Encouraging reviews, even withdrawal from the market is hardly conducive to good decision-making, particularly when so many of those affected are least able to respond to the market signals because of their own economic situation.

Everyone, (including the insurance industry) is capable if ‘reading the tea-leaves,’ and making their own assessment of the situation before they buy. Why you imagine that it is helpful to encourage action that can only lead to precipitate adjustment of or abandonment of policies is quite beyond me.
It is my view that the majority of people living in this District are well aware of the risks we are facing – largely because of the information that you have made available through your blog, and in submissions to Council that appear to have been equally largely ignored. Those same people need to be encouraged to ‘stay the course,’ and maintain pressure on our Councils.

You cite the insurance excess example that I mentioned to you – that is out of context, and incorrect – it was on our home, applied since 2006, and followed a flood of the Ash St Stream – nothing to do with climate change or sea-level rise. I have no direct knowledge of any other adjustments to policy conditions arising from the 5 January incident – conjecture!

There is undoubtedly action underway by insurance companies who have exposure in the area to make changes to their policies dependent on their particular circumstances – I simply do not accept that the type of article that you wrote assists anyone here arrive at a rational solution, and it may aggravate the situation unnecessarily.

Denis – you are not the only one in the community who understands the implications of the scientific research that has been presented, and although you have previously articulated the problem, and laid out the evidence in a thoroughly reasonable manner. I simply parted company on this occasion, because I don’t believe that you need to pursue the ‘shock/horror’ scenario in order to gain our attention. I was not seeking to denigrate your argument in any way.

August 14, 2018 | Registered CommenterBill Barclay

Those awful journalists at NZ Herald and Washington Post.. How dare they keep reporting on instances of lowered house prices due to sea level rise. Don’t they realise that they are “over-stepping the mark” and this is tantamount to “prodding the insurance industry into taking precipitate and hasty action” to reduce or remove insurance cover. If we all could just keep quiet and stop talking about this– maybe the insurance industry (with the most sophisticated risk profiling expertise on the planet) will not notice?.
https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=12111302

August 22, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterDenis Tegg

Sarcasm hardly bolsters your argument Denis.
I am closing comments on this post in the interests of preventing boredom.

August 24, 2018 | Registered CommenterBill Barclay

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