Decisions surrounding what to do about rising sea levels and coastal erosion in the Western Bay will be tackled in 2017, Western Bay of Plenty District Council has decided.

Last week's Policy and Strategy Committee approved the Draft Inner Harbour and Coastal Erosion Management Policy for public consultation, but delayed any consultation until after the local body election period and swearing in of the new Council.

Senior policy analyst Marc Fauvel said councils across the country and central Government were grappling with how best to deal with coastal and harbour erosion, coupled with a predicted one-metre sea rise in the future.

These issues have been explored with the Western Bay community over the past four years, and lately through the 'Living with the Changing Tides' project.

"Information from this engagement with our communities informed the draft policy that's been adopted. In this Council is proposing a precautionary approach to coastal erosion - including abandonment and/or relocation where assessed as appropriate - based on the predicted sea level rise over the next 100 years," Mr Fauvel said.

The focus of the draft policy relates to the funding and assessment of existing coastal protection structures on council property and the funding and assessment of new erosion mitigation structures on council property.

The current plan would see the council's approach to coastal erosion reviewed at intervals.

Timing of the public consultation phase will be confirmed at an upcoming Council meeting, but is expected to be in early 2017.