Proposed flood resilience options in the form of the Kawatiri Business Case have been submitted to Government.

The Business Case sets out the proposed integrated package of long-term measures to improve Westport’s flood resilience.

At the essence of the joint proposal by the West Coast Regional Council and the Buller District Council is the recognition that Buller needs Central Government help to ensure future flood resilience.

The plan places the people of Westport at its heart. It acknowledges the support already received but also the psycho-social impacts of the flooding events on the community, and the fact that risk analysis shows livelihoods and possibly lives could be at stake in future extreme weather events. Therefore, a robust, and compelling, co-investment plan has been produced.

Now the Business Case goes to Minister of Local Government, Hon. Nanaia Mahuta for consideration.

What is the goal?

The Business Case is underpinned by the following objectives: • Reduce the risk of flooding from severe weather events on the Westport community, recognising and providing for the likely impacts of climate change.

  • Reduce the risk of flooding from severe weather events on the Westport community, recognising and providing for the likely impacts of climate change.
  • Avoid increasing or transferring flood risk to other areas within the Buller catchment or wider region.
  • Improve the ability of the Westport community to prepare for, continue functioning during and after, and recover quickly from flooding events.
  • Minimise the long-term financial burden of flood mitigation and protection on the Buller community.

Key recommendations

The Kawatiri Business Case is a multi-tool approach and outlines a mix of Protect, Avoid, Adapt and Retreat options and priorities. This is known as the P.A.R.A. framework, which is commonly used overseas for managing sea level rise and flood risk to communities.


The favoured Westport flood mitigation scheme is as follows:

  1. Rock lining repair works for bank protection near O’Conor Home (two sections) and Organs Island. (This work is being progressed regardless of whether co-investment can be obtained).
  2. A combination of concrete wall, single board walls and double earth filled walls, with the use of each being selected to best suit site specific circumstances.
  3. Embankments and walls with alignment, heights, and other design parameters to reflect the results of modelling and hydrological effectiveness research carried out by Land River Sea Consulting Ltd, and design considerations put forward by G & E Williams Consulting Ltd.
  4. Extension of the flood risk mitigation at Carters Beach to the east to include houses along Schadick Avenue and to provide additional flood risk resilience to additional houses and the critical lifeline utility services provided by the airport.
  5. Revegetation of a relic Buller River meander near Organs Island. 6. Re-grade the bed of Abattoir Creek to enable more flow to be diverted away from this ‘at risk’ area of urban development.


The Kawatiri Business Case:

  • Recommends the Government resources a development plan for the Alma Road area to ensure positive community outcomes.
  • Proposes that a feasibility study be undertaken in the 22/23 financial year by Buller District Council with a view to securing further land parcels in a low-risk area. This would be supported by Kāinga Ora and Kānoa (Regional Economic Development & Investment Unit).
  • Recommends establishing an initial fund of $10m to allow for some local relief for areas that will not be protected by the flood protection embankment such as Snodgrass Rd Area owners.


The Kawatiri Business Case:

  • Proposes that the Government fund the secondment of a Resilience Officer, reporting to the Chief Executive of Buller District Council.
  • Recommends investing in wave height gauging stations so that modellers can use more reliable wave height and sea level rise information.
  • Proposes that separate provision be made for stormwater infrastructure to remove accumulated local stormwater.
  • Identifies a pathway forward for insurance. The proposals outlined are seen as an opportunity to build confidence that Westport manages risks well.

Next steps

The Kawatiri Business Case has now been endorsed by the West Coast Regional Council, Buller District Council, and Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Waewae.

From here, the Business Case is being submitted to the Minister of Local Government seeking agreement to co-invest, in partnership with the local community, on the recommended integrated package of resilience measures.

It is important to note that aspects of the preferred scheme will not have certainty until such time as funding is secured from Central Government. Until that time, the proposal should be viewed simply as a ‘proposal’.

The Minister of Local Government will receive the Kawatiri Business Case proposal and will then work with other Ministerial colleagues to consider the proposal. If supported, the Business Case proposal will be taken to Cabinet later this year.

It is important to note that Crown funding or financing for any co-investment proposal is not guaranteed. If co-investment funding is secured, then WCRC and BDC intend to continue their ro[1]bust consultation and engagement processes.