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Landmark Legislation Passed to Preserve Ranges

Media Release

April 2, 2008

Landmark Legislation Passed to Preserve the Waitakere Ranges

Waitakere City Council has applauded the passing of the Waitakere Ranges Heritage Area Act 2008 as a significant landmark that will have a positive impact for many generations to come.

The Act was passed after it's third reading in parliament tonight.

Waitakere Mayor Bob Harvey says the new Act will preserve the unique character and heritage of the communities that make up the Waitakere Ranges - from Whatipu to Titirangi, from Oratia to Piha and from Swanson to Bethells Beach.

Mr Harvey says the new Act will help meet the great challenge of maintaining the character of the rural, coastal and bush areas of the Ranges which are right on the doorstep of New Zealand’s biggest and fastest growing region.

He says the legislation builds on the traditions of Auckland’s far sighted forefathers who had the presence of mind to protect places such as Cornwall Park and the Auckland Domain.

“It is no surprise too that the late Sir Edmund Hillary was a keen supporter of this legislation."

Sir Ed said when he was on the other side of the world in places such as the Himalayas he would think of his holiday home at Anawhata on Waitakere’s West Coast as one of the most beautiful places on earth.

He wrote to Jack Colmar, a long time passionate advocate for the ranges and Bethells’ activist: “I heartily support the establishment of the Waitakere Heritage Area. It is a magnificent piece of coastline and forest and Auckland is very fortunate to have it so close.”

The legislation was sponsored through Parliament by Waitakere MP Lynne Pillay and jointly promoted by Waitakere City Council, Rodney District Council and Auckland Regional Council.

It establishes the 27,000 hectare ‘Waitakere Ranges Heritage Area’, which includes the Waitakere Ranges Regional Park, residential areas around Titirangi, the foothills of the Ranges, coastal villages such as Piha, Karekare and parts of south-west Rodney District.

Mr Harvey says the law is not another set of rules and regulations but rather a tool to help implement other pieces of legislation such as the Resource Management Act.

“It is all too easy for decisions to be made unwittingly in isolation that stretch the boundaries of development that, added up over time, have a significant detrimental impact,” he says.

“The Act will function like a future benchmark of what the people of the Waitakeres would like their communities and environment to be in 100 years time.”

Mr Harvey says the new law will prevent what former Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Morgan Williams, called the threat to the Waitakeres of ‘death from a thousand cuts’.

Morgan Williams said that without further protection: “the area will be some version of suburbia by the end of the 21st century; the result of many little decisions adding up to changes that were not desired.”

During consultation of a draft of the legislation, the Council received 3,500 written responses, which showed majority support for legislation to be pursued (71%).

ENDS

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