Considering "global warming" and "climate change" have been household phrases for years, it's disappointing to see New Zealand described as unprepared for what's expected to come within our children and grandchildren's lifetimes.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's latest report, released this week, found New Zealand was unprepared for a warmer climate, rising sea levels and an increase in extreme weather events.

The report said the country had a significant "adaptation deficit" in the face of human-influenced global warming of between 2C and 4C by 2100, which was likely to raise oceans around our coastline by at least half a metre.

In response, Climate Change Minister Tim Groser said the effects of climate change would be different in each region and local councils were best placed to assess the risk and plan their response.

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That's not really good enough when you're dealing with a major global issue that will affect all corners of our long, narrow country, coastal or not.

Like the contentious fluoride issue, some things are better dealt with centrally, with all the extra power and influence that carries.

Labour's Moana Mackey, a list MP from Gisborne and the East Coast electorate which includes much of the Eastern Bay of Plenty, has pointed out the Government has the resources for the job, and that regional authorities are most exposed to legal challenge, "something which is highly likely given some of the difficult decisions that will need to be made".

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