Managed retreat: The mega issue that comes with a potentially eyewatering pricetag

The Government is still deciding what it is going to do with houses that have now been flooded multiple times and are at risk of flooding again.

The process of moving homes, communities, roads and infrastructure away from a more damaging climate is called managed retreat.

It's a mega issue. One estimate is that $100 billion worth of homes around the country are at risk of flooding, affecting about 675,000 people - that's one in seven New Zealanders.

The price tag is eyewatering - it could end up costing 1 percent of GDP - that's currently $3.75 billion a year - for the next few decades.

That leaves the thorny questions, like who moves and who pays?

A once-loved west Auckland home Newshub visited on Tuesday has become a sodden muddy flooded deathtrap. Amrita Aujla's husband was caught in floodwaters.

"At that stage, we thought we lost him," she said. 

The home has flooded twice in 18 months.

"We're mentally ruined, financially ruined and emotions are through the roof."

They want the Government to buy them out.

"We can't come back. No. We can't come back. It's too traumatic when you see your husband, who was inside, dying. No, can't come back."

Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said the process needs to be "fair and transparent". 

"We'll do that as quickly as we can." 

The Government is considering whether some rebuilds are safe and wise. 

"In some cases, there'll be extensive damage but it will be safe to rebuild in other areas. We may have to make some tough calls about managed retreat and not rebuilding in those areas," said Hipkins. 

Managing managed retreat is a minefield.

Raewyn Peart is one of the authors of a new report from the Environmental Defence Society looking at who should pay. She said it will be all of us.

"It really couldn't really be more complex, you're talking about people's homes, their investments, the places they live, they're connected to. It's a very fraught issue."

But she said who should be paid is perhaps even more controversial.

"It's one thing if it's someone's losing their home and that's their main investment. It's another thing if it's a $5m mansion on the seafront."

The Government has slowly been working on an adaptation plan, but now it's painfully clear climate change is hitting harder and earlier than we thought there's a new sense of urgency.

Newshub understands the Climate Change Minister has asked for advice on how to speed the plan up to introduce legislation before the election.

"We are going to find out this year because it is currently unclear what the division of responsibility and the cost is," said James Shaw. 

"The National Party is prepared to sit down and have a sensible conversation because of the complexity of it," said National's climate change spokesperson Todd Muller.

But Aujla is wanting politicians to make decisions, not have conversations.