Skip to main content

Resilient Westport Package

Kia ora koutou - welcome to the project page about the Resilient Westport Package, which aims to provide direction on the drawdown of $22.9m from central government to improve Westport's resilience over time.

Project background

The Kawatiri Business Case that was developed in partnership by Buller District Council, West Coast Regional Council and Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Waewae. The business case requests co-investment from the central government for future flood resilience measures.

The business case was considered and endorsed in June 2022 by the West Coast Regional Council, Buller District Council, and Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Waewae seeking co- investment from central government for $45M of the overall spend.

The business case outlines a mix of protect, avoid, adapt and retreat options and priorities, the full range of solutions that are needed to make Westport more resilient to future floods, both now and in the future. This is known as the P.A.R.A. framework.

A key component of the business case is the inclusion of the Westport Flood Protection project – a structural flood protection option for Westport signalled in the Regional Council’s Long-Term Plan in 2021. 

In May 2023 Prime Minister Chris Hipkins announced a $22.9m package to support initiatives that will improve Westport’s flood resilience. This is now known as the Resilient Westport Package.


The multi-tool Resilient Westport business case works under the PARA (Protect, Avoid, Retreat, Accommodate) framework for adaptation. Budget allowances and key responsibilities have been allocated under this framework approach.

A Technical Advisory Group (TAG) was established by the West Coast Regional Council (December 2021) to identify preferred flood risk mitigation structural and nature-based protection options. Seven options were considered by the TAG, factoring extensive climate change scenarios.

The favoured Westport flood mitigation scheme is as follows:

  • 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).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Revegetation of a relic Buller River meander near Organs Island.
  • Re-grade the bed of Abattoir Creek to enable more flow to be diverted away from this ‘at risk’ area of urban development.

  • Requests a fast-track mechanism for Te Tai o Poutini Plan ((TTPP) the combined district plan for the West Coast) appeals – a special order (or other mechanism) to be enacted that allows appeals on the Westport hazard provision of the TTPP to be limited to points of law only.
  • Seeks to amend the Building Code for finished floor levels, or to otherwise give flexibility to apply an appropriate standard for the area concerned.

  • 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 FY 22/23 by Buller District Council, supported by Kāinga Ora and Kānoa, with a view to securing further land parcels in order to sustain a growth zone for Westport that is in a low-risk area.
  • 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.

  • 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. Currently there is no accurate sea level gauge on the West Coast, nor accurate wave height buoy.
  • Proposes that separate provision be made for stormwater infrastructure to remove accumulated local stormwater. These would provide for the removal of the additional groundwater that may accumulate in the lower parts of Westport because of sea level rise.
  • Identifies a pathway forward in regard to insurance. The proposals outlined in the Kawatiri Business Case are seen as an opportunity to build confidence that Westport manages risks well, related investment and planning is credible, the community is resilient, and the community is adapting appropriately to the potential effects of climate change.

What you need to know?

Read below our key information on the work Buller District Council and West Coast Regional Council (WCRC) are progressing to deliver future flood resilience around Westport.

On the 12 May 2023, Prime Minister Chris Hipkins announced central government's funding support for Westport flood protection of $22.9 million.

The funding ($22.9m) aims to deliver an integrated package focused on longer term flood resilience covering: 

  • Structural protection for Westport (the ring -bank) 
  • Organs Island reafforestation 
  • Restore emergency fund 
  • Manage contingency 
  • CDEM capability (with BDC) 
  • Sea level monitor/tide gauge 
  • With TTPP strengthen rule limiting development and intensification in high risk areas 
  • Plan for include future land use, open spaces and infrastructure in low risk areas 
  • Manage adaptation relief for initiatives such as raised floor heights, moveable flood barriers. 

This funding has both an immediate and longer-term focus. It will help with design and delivery of flood protection, such as stopbanks, and support people to protect their homes with property and community level resilience measures.

You can read the Media Release here

The Steering Group is a partnership agreed by Ministers to progress the implementation of the funding agreed in the budget. In June 2023, the Steering Group convened for the first time to plan how this will work.

The Steering Group is independently chaired and comprises key leaders from Buller District Council, the West Coast Regional Council, Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Waewae, The Department of Internal Affairs and the National Emergency Management Agency.

The Steering Group will meet regularly to maintain oversight and synchronisation of the various packages of work that will be delivered by the respective Councils. The Steering Group aims to: 

  • Reduce the extent, frequency and consequences of flooding from severe weather events on the Westport community, recognising and providing for the likely impacts of climate change. 
  • Minimise increasing or transferring flood risk to other areas or properties within the catchment or wider region. 
  • Ensure the community voice is heard throughout the programme, and at key junctures where significant decisions are to be taken. 
  • Improve the ability of the Westport community to prepare for, continue functioning during and after, and recover quickly from flooding events, recognising that ‘absolute protection’ is not possible and that there will be some level of residual risk of flooding. 
  • Reduce undue long-term financial burden on the community of flood mitigation and protection. 
  • A framework is in place that is a model for other resilience projects. 
  • Te Ao Māori is embedded in project thinking and design. 
  • Project management practices and culture are considered best in class. 

While exact details are still being planned, the funded packages of work that the Steering Group will oversee and co-ordinate over the next two years include:

  • $15.9m for a ringbank to reduce the risk of flooding, this is in addition to the Westport Rating District’s contribution. Further work needs to be undertaken to determine the detailed location and design of the ringbank.
  • $1.5m for the reafforestation of the Organs Island area.
  • $1.0m to restore the Regional Council’s emergency funds for immediate works on Buller riverbank.
  • $1.0m to replenish the Regional Council’s contingency fund (which has been exhausted).
  • $0.5m for a development plan for Alma Road and to support the development of low-risk areas.
  • $0.25m for a Feasibility study into strategic land purchase at Alma or other low risk sites.
  • $2.0m for an Adaptation Relief Fund to assist owners in high-risk areas for initiatives such as raising buildings, or to procure moveable flood barriers for example.
  • $0.5m to improve local civil defence capability.
  • $0.25m for a sea level monitor/tide gauge to improve early warning.

The various packages of work will be delivered by the respective Councils through the PARA framework.

The Steering Group is made up of: 

  • Mike Mendonça, Chair  
  • Peter Haddock, Chair, West Coast Regional Council (WCRC) 
  • Mayor Jamie Cleine, Buller District Council (BDC)
  • Brett Cummings, Deputy Chair, WCRC  
  • Deputy Mayor Andrew Basher, BDC  
  • Darryl Lew, CEO, WCRC  
  • Steve Gibling, CEO, BDC  
  • Paul Barker, DIA
    Sean Judd, (Previous Acting CEO), BDC
  • Simon Chambers, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA ). 

You can find minutes and the Terms of Reference on the West Coast Regional Council's website. 

Buller District Council (BDC) and West Coast Regional Council (WCRC) play a key role in and have specific responsibilities towards enabling the business case, although there are also areas specific to each council.

Under the protect function, WCRC’s overall aim is to have structural mitigation works to prevent most direct threats from the Buller River and some from the Orowaiti River completed by June 2025. Most of the remaining works will be completed by June 2026, aiming for 90% completion by that date.

Key areas of BDC responsibility fall within the Avoid, Retreat and Accommodate functions. The Crown also works collaboratively on all projects via the Joint Steering Group for Resilient Westport.

More information

If you would like to find out more about this project please use the below resources.

You may also be interested in