Objective 9-1, Policies 9-1 to 9-5 and the methods above set out a regional framework for avoiding or mitigating the adverse effects of natural hazard events on communities, infrastructure and the natural environment.

Policy 9-1 clarifies the respective roles of the Regional Council and Territorial Authorities as required by s62 RMA. Policy 9-1 largely continues the delineation of responsibilities under the former Regional Policy Statement. The Regional Council has taken on the role of setting a regional framework for natural hazard management, while allowing decisions on most land use activities to be made by Territorial Authorities.

Policy 9-2 targets floodways and areas prone to flooding, as flooding is the most significant natural hazard in the Region. Areas prone to flooding (including the “floodable area” as in Figure J:2) are defined as those areas that would be inundated by a 0.5% AEP (1 in 200 year) flood event2. This is a change from the previously used standard for delineating areas prone to flooding of a 1% AEP (1 in 100 year) flood event2, in order to take into account the likely effects of climate change. Policy 9-2 generally seeks to avoid residential development and other new activities in areas likely to be affected by flooding, due to the risks to human life and property. It is recognised, however, that some activities have a functional necessity to be located in areas prone to flooding (Policy 9-2(a) and Policy 9-2(b)), or that mitigation for dwellings and other activities (for example, access in or out of areas prone to flooding and building design) can be put in place to avoid any increase in impacts of floods (Policy 9-2(d)(i) and (ii)).

Policy 9-4 sets up the general management regime for other types of natural hazards. Hazard avoidance is preferred to hazard mitigation because of the impacts on human life, property and infrastructure. Avoiding all hazards is difficult, however, because of their infrequency and the widespread nature of their effects.

Policies 9-2, 9-3 and 9-4 also include provisions seeking to ensure that the effectiveness of existing hazard mitigation measures is not undermined by future activities.

Policy 9-3 seeks to ensure that critical infrastructure* is not disabled by natural hazard events, by avoiding the placement of critical infrastructure* in areas prone to natural hazards. The policy recognises that in some cases this is unavoidable – for example, roading and gas supplies in coastal areas regardless of tsunami risk, and infrastructure in settlements located on liquefaction zones.

Policy 9-5 seeks to ensure that the implications of climate change are considered as appropriate.