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Waitakere Ranges Legislation

24 May 2005

WAITAKERE RANGES LEGISLATION


Waitakere City Council today voted for legislation to be submitted to Parliament in an effort to better protect the Waitakere Ranges and its foothills.

The Waitakere Ranges and Foothills Heritage Area Bill is also supported by the Auckland Regional Council.

At its meeting today, Waitakere City Councillors asked local MP Lynne Pillay to guide the legislation through the parliamentary process, where the public will have a further chance to make submissions on the Bill through select committee hearings.

Waitakere City Mayor Bob Harvey says the decision is a momentous one for not only this city and the Auckland region but indeed the country.

“You just have to look at places like Queenstown, Wanaka and Taupo to see that Council regulations and even the RMA (Resource Management Act) often aren’t enough to stop rampant development from destroying unique environments,” he says.

“This can be a template for communities around the country. The development of this Bill has been one of leadership and is maybe a lesson that the whole of New Zealand local government can look up to – open, honest leadership that looks to the future, with the community being inspired to think beyond today into the tomorrow of our children.”

Mr Harvey also says the very thing that has made the west challenging and exciting – its pioneering bloody mindedness – saw more than 70% of those surveyed saying they wanted something done to protect the unique ranges and foothills permanently.

“Like me, Councillors believe the only really effective way to ensure this magnificent area was kept green and glorious, a legacy to future generations, is legislation. In making the decision to send the Bill on its way to Parliament we have made an historic and incredibly significant decision.”

The legislation is modelled on the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park Act and Mayor Harvey stresses that it does not take away existing property rights. “It simply gives another layer of protection, above the District Plan and the RMA.”

ENDS

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