Public to be told about integrated plan for managing region’s natural resources

Press Release – Greater Wellington Regional Council
The Wellington Regional Council is to begin a region-wide series of public presentations on ideas for managing our region’s natural resources.

These ideas have been identified following extensive community consultation towards the development of a new regional plan, which will provide rules and policies to govern the use of the region’s natural resources and manage the effects of that use.

“How we look after coastal and marine areas, how we manage and respond to natural hazards, water allocation, and urban and rural water quality – these are the big environmental issues that have dominated our community consultation so far,” says Cr Chris Laidlaw, Co-Chair of Te Upoko Taiao, the regional council’s natural resource management committee made up of councillors and the region’s mana whenua.

“We’ve come up with some ideas that we believe can help solve these difficult problems and we’re looking forward to sharing these with the community in the upcoming presentations. The presentations will also be an opportunity for people to ask questions and get clarification.”

The key changes identified for the community’s consideration are:

• Clearer, more directive policies

• Identifying a greater number and wider range of “sites of significance” – whether its for biodiversity, tangata whenua or heritage

• The development of “whaitua” (zone) committees for managing catchments at a community level. The committees will set environmental targets for water quality and allocation and, working with the regional council, set limits and methods to achieve these

Te Waari Carkeek, Co-Chair of Te Upoko Taiao says the whaitua committees are a cornerstone of the new approach.

“The concept of kaitiakitanga – the recognition that everyone has a part of play as guardians of our natural and physical resources – is essential to the whaitua committee concept.

“The community as a whole needs to find solutions for managing the environment, particularly the way our land use – urban and rural – affects water quality. That’s the best way to get a lasting approach.”

People will have the opportunity to give feedback on the ideas put forward by the regional council from 26 November to 16 December at www.gw.govt.nz/your-environment.

PRESENTATIONS 7.30PM – 9PM (DOORS OPEN 7PM)

Mon 26 Nov
Masterton Town Hall, 64 Chapel St, Masterton

Tue 27 Nov
Dowse Art Museum, 45 Laings Rd, Lower Hutt

Wed 28 Nov
Greytown Library, 115 Main St, Greytown

Thu 29 Nov
Kāpiti Boating Club, Marine Parade, Paraparaumu Beach

Mon 3 Dec
Mungavin Hall, Mungavin Avenue, Porirua

Tue 4 Dec
Greater Wellington Regional Council, 142 Wakefield St, Wellington

Thu 6 Dec
Raukawa Marae, 90 Mill Rd, Ōtaki

DEVELOPING A NEW REGIONAL PLAN – Q&A

What is the purpose of a regional plan?

Regional plans contain policies, rules and other methods that govern the use of natural resources and manage the effects of that use. Examples of this include managing what is discharged to land or water, what amount of water can be taken and used from rivers, streams and groundwater, and what contaminants can be allowed to enter the atmosphere.

The Regional Coastal Plan is the only mandatory regional plan. Other regional plans are prepared at the discretion of Council. The regional council currently has four other regional plans – Regional Plan for Discharges to Land, Regional Air Quality Management Plan, Regional Soil Plan and Regional Freshwater Plan.

Why are you doing this now? Aren’t the current plans good enough?

Under the Resource Management Act, reviews of plans must commence 10 years after they have become operative. The first of the current suite of regional plans was formally adopted by Council in December 1999, so we started our review in 2009.

What are you doing differently this time?

The Wellington Regional Council has a stated commitment to managing catchments in an integrated way, so we will be developing one integrated plan, instead of the set of five that we currently have, thus recognising the inter-relationships between different activities, whether they are on land or water.

This is a plan that we intend to develop “with” the community rather than “for” the community so the final content of the plan will be a result of intensive engagement and discussion with many different parts of the regional community.

How long will it be before the new plan is in place?

We expect the new plan will be ready for public submissions in mid/late 2013.

What’s already happened?

In 2010 the regional council held 15 community workshops, meetings with mana whenua iwi and local councils, and carried out an online survey to get people’s views on the state of natural resources and on the problems and opportunities with how natural resources are currently managed.

Throughout 2011 we developed a range of issues and goals incorporating people’s views from the previous year’s workshops, online survey, mana whenua iwi and council meetings as well as information from our science and monitoring and the stock takes of our existing policies.

In November 2011 we held a number of community drop-in sessions to show people what we’d been working on.

Throughout 2012 we have worked with stakeholders and some resource user groups to develop ideas for the new plan.

What’s happening next?

We will hold a region-wide series of public presentations from November to December 2012 to show the community how the review is progressing and ideas on ways to manage natural resources. People will also have the opportunity to give online feedback from 26 November to 16 December on the ideas put forward.

What is the status of the current regional plans that the regional council has in place?

All existing regional plans and the rules contained within them will remain in place and operative until the new regional plan is endorsed by Council.

What is Te Upoko Taiao – Natural Resource Management Committee?

The regional council established Te Upoko Taiao – Natural Resource Management Committee to oversee the development of the new regional plan. The committee comprises seven appointed members from our seven iwi across the region and seven elected councillors, and builds on the Charter of Understanding the Council signed with regional iwi 15 years ago and the positive relationship the regional council has with regional iwi.

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