Coastal homes may soon be 'uninsurable'

Suburban waterfront houses in Devonport, Auckland, photographed across the sea.
Photo credit: Getty

Home owners near the sea are being warned that climate change may affect their properties sooner than they think.

A Ministry for the Environment report reveals the homes of a 130,000 people are at risk from rising seas over the next century.

Insurance Council chief executive Tim Grafton says almost 70,000 properties may be uninsurable within 20 to 30 years.

"If nothing is done to reduce risk that will almost be a certainty in some parts of New Zealand," he says.

Mr Grafton says better planning by central and local Government is needed to mitigate climate change effects.

"The whole point of this is not to scaremonger, but actually to say, reality check everybody - we need to address this issue with some seriousness so that in a few decades time we're not in that position."

He says there are already pockets of New Zealand where it is difficult to get insurance due to rising sea levels.

"People seem to think that these things won't affect them in their lifetime because they believe the extreme events from climate change lie decades away."