There is concern in England and Wales over the complexity and short comings of the current arrangements for coastal hazard planning and management. At a time of major constitutional reform involving a strengthened role for regional government, the UK needs to learn from other countries with a strong regional dimension which have developed successful systems for coastal hazard planning and management. New Zealand provides such an example. Recent local government reform and the ‘revolutionary’ Resource Management Act (RMA) 1991 have created a new organisational and administrative framework for coastal hazard planning and policy development in New Zealand which fosters integration, involves all levels of government and extends offshore. This paper provides a comparison of the regional dimension of coastal hazard planning in the two areas, focusing on the status, scope and jurisdiction of regional planning bodies and initiatives as well as investigating issues relating to intergovernmental and cross-sectoral links and public involvement. Although the widely acclaimed RMA is not the panacea for coastal management it was once hoped to be, the New Zealand experience illustrates the advantages of clearly defined roles for different levels of government, with emphasis on regional decision-making and extensive community involvement.