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Heritage criteria will reduce risk of further loss

Heritage criteria will reduce risk of further loss
For immediate release: Tuesday 18 May 2004

CAPTION: Natural features and landscapes – like Mauao - that contribute to the shared values of the community score highly in terms of historical associations.

The Bay of Plenty’s special places are less likely to be lost or damaged with the advent of new regional heritage criteria.

Environment Bay of Plenty has put together a single set of standards that will help organisations in the region to assess heritage values. Heritage in the Bay of Plenty includes Maori ancestral land and other sites of historical and cultural significance as well as natural resources like landscapes, lakes and native bush.

Strategic policy chairperson Lorraine Brill says the criteria will promote consistency and will bring more transparency to the decisions made by local government. “Heritage is an important part of people’s lives,” Mrs Brill says. “It helps us define who we are as individuals, communities and cultures, and as a nation. So it is important we look after what is left in our region.”

Many agencies, including local authorities, are required under the Resource Management Act to make value judgements on cultural and natural heritage. To do this, they generally use a range of criteria drawn from a variety of sources, says resource policy manager Martin Butler.

The new criteria aim to help local authorities and other heritage agencies interpret and apply the heritage provisions in a consistent way, Mr Butler says. They address most of the matters of national importance set out in section six of the Resource Management Act.

The criteria are part of a proposed change to the Bay of Plenty Regional Policy Statement, a high level policy that influences resource consents and the development of district and regional plans. A draft Users Guide will help developers, iwi and others to apply the criteria to a specific location or resource. It will help farmers and other landowners wanting to protect natural areas. The criteria and user guide will generally assist in the resource consents process.

The change will be publicly notified on Tuesday 18 May and is open for submissions until June 30.

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