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Wellington: River control and flood management


In 1989, the Government withdrew its funding support for river control and flood protection schemes. Climate change, environmental outcomes, iwi aspirations, the increasing likelihood of infrastructure failure and the consequences of this failure, along with the inequitable funding base, make the need to revisit this Government decision a matter of high priority.

The national River Managers' Special Interest Group (SIG) has put this issue back on the table and asked Henley Hutchings to assist.

Greater Wellington Regional Council supported our collaborative work with BERL and Lawz Consulting Limited to work with the SIG. Our aim was to prepare a case to central government for co-investment in the cost of building and maintaining the relevant assets to ensure they are fit for the future – particularly given the increased frequency of climate change-induced super storm events.

The project involved broad consultation: we incorporated the viewpoints from 15 regional councils around the country, identifying the shared challenges between all regions and central government. We advised on communication and Government engagement strategies. We project managed the production of evidence, examples and descriptive material to support the case for co-investment by central government


  • A detailed business case put to Central Government for co-investment in River Management for Flood Protection – supported by all regional councils and proposing a ‘fit-for-the-future’ and environmentally sensitive solution, which would provide appropriate levels of resilience.


  • Analysis – synthesising vast amounts of data, risk impact analysis

  • Strategy – supporting the strategy to build national consensus on resilience

  • Communications – communication and engagement programme to gain consensus and develop a compelling narrative to present to Government.

  • Facilitation – of a large interest group, holding key workshops, interviews and strategy sessions

  • Collaboration – with project governance team, key stakeholders and working with other consultants and agencies