Coastal settlements - like Southshore and New Brighton - have been earmarked as being at risk of sea level rise.

New Zealand - 'This moment will not come again' - councils' $8b climate change warning

Local councils are facing a $5-8 billion bill to replace vital infrastructure lost to climate change in the next half-century - and they want a national war chest to pay for it.

For the first time, environment and engineering researchers have calculated the cost of replacing pipes, roads and buildings destroyed by sea-level rise.

The data is included in a new Local Government New Zealand report which spells out a dire warning about the country's ability to fund repairs. The organisation is now calling on the Government to create a national climate change adaptation fund to help meet the costs.

"This moment will not come again ... we may estimate a window of roughly 25 years before government starts parking its ambulance at the bottom of a metaphorical hill," the report says.

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