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A month’s worth of rain may fall today (Image/Getty Images)
A month’s worth of rain may fall today (Image/Getty Images)

The BulletinJuly 12, 2022

91% of New Zealanders expect more extreme weather, more often

A month’s worth of rain may fall today (Image/Getty Images)
A month’s worth of rain may fall today (Image/Getty Images)

We also expect more climate change leadership from the government but we’re doing less ourselves, according to a new poll, writes Anna Rawhiti-Connell in The Bulletin.


New poll reveals 91% of us expect more extreme weather

Sometimes I joke about doing a Bulletin about the weather. Readers have actually requested a weather section. Today we’re leading with the weather and not just because people are waking up to NIWA advising that a month’s worth of rain may fall in parts of the country today. Or even because Manawātu residents were sandbagging their properties yesterday. It’s because 91% of us say we expect more extreme flooding events to happen, more often. That’s according to a poll released yesterday from insurer IAG and Ipsos. Yesterday, the ODT’s Mike Houlahan reported on the possibility of needing to build the new Dunedin hospital two metres above street level to account for flood threats, including storm surge and sea level rise.

Only 34% of New Zealanders think government action on climate change is adequate

The IAG-Ipsos Climate Change poll has been running for the last five years and this year there is an additional report that compares our attitudes to climate change over that time. One of the biggest shifts is in the belief that the government should be most responsible for taking action on climate change. That’s lifted from 25% in 2018 to 48% in 2022. Responding to the poll, climate change minister James Shaw said the results underscored the urgent need for a comprehensive response to the phenomenon, with just 34% of New Zealanders deeming government action on the issue as adequate.

Proposal tabled for managed retreat in South Dunedin

The IAG-Ipsos poll found 53% of people thought homeowners should not have the right to live in places badly affected by climate change. In a report from Newsroom’s Matthew Scott on a climate change panel last week, it was noted that it’s only a matter of time before climate risk has a noticeable effect on property values. Last week, a proposal was tabled for managed retreat in South Dunedin which would see parts of the area  replaced by wetlands and waterways. Looking at the map, the area includes St Kilda, home of the wonderful Marlow Park. An estimated 12,000 residents live in the area. It’s where my mum grew up.

The action gap

This is another poll that reveals a disparity in the high numbers of people that note climate change is an important issue to them (78%) and the number of people taking individual action to combat it. That number has actually fallen over the last two years in the IAG-Ipsos poll, dropping nine points to 50%. Research from EECA, the government’s energy efficiency agency, found something similar in April. I am keen to hear from readers about why this gap exists. It could be that we do expect more leadership, or that it often feels overwhelming or even hopeless and that individuals can’t do much anyway, but feel free to drop me a line and let me know.

Keep going!