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Long-term protection of Waitakere Ranges secured

Long-term protection of Waitakere Ranges secured

Waitakere Ranges Heritage Area Act 2008

2 April 2008

An historic Bill to protect the Waitakere Ranges for generations to come passed its third and final reading in Parliament tonight.

Parks and Heritage Committee Chair, Councillor Sandra Coney is delighted. This landmark event is the culmination of years of continued combined effort by many at Auckland Regional Council, Waitakere City Council and Rodney District Council.

“This legislation provides the highest protection for the Waitakere Ranges, much needed given their ecological vulnerability and proximity to the country’s largest and fastest growing population base.

“The Ranges define our region’s western skyline, they are instantly recognisable, they are also a recreational paradise where you can walk through majestic rainforest and on some of the world’s best surf beaches. It is a wilderness for us all to explore. However, the area also has a long history of settlement. This legislation is designed to ensure that people can play and live harmoniously in this environment by giving councils the guidance and tools to achieve this now and in the future,” said Cr Coney.

The Act establishes the ‘Waitakere Ranges Heritage Area’ which will include the Waitakere Ranges Regional Park, the residential areas around Titirangi, the foothills of the Ranges, coastal villages such as Piha, Karekare, Huia and parts of south-west Rodney District. Of this, the Regional Park, owned and administered by Auckland Regional Council, forms the greatest part.

“The Act provides certainty and a consistent long-term approach for the management of both the public and private land in the Heritage Area. Although the parkland has protection under other legislation, this Act provides us with clear guidance on how we manage it,” said Cr Coney.

Throughout the Bill’s progress Cr. Coney has worked with fellow Councillors Paul Walbran and Christine Rose.

“As a regional council we recognise that the Waitakere Ranges are one of the three icons that give Auckland its unique identity, the others being the Auckland Volcanic Field and the Hauraki Gulf. This Act gives legislative recognition to the Waitakere Ranges,” says Cr Paul Walbran, Chair of the Regional Strategy and Planning Committee

“This legislation means that we can more carefully manage development in the whole area and we can better avoid any adverse cumulative effects of subdivision and development. The Act also keeps the door open for further land to be added to the area,” said Cr Walbran.

Cr Christine Rose said that the Act recognises the values of the part of the ranges that extend through to Rodney – the Auckland/ Rodney boundary lies in the Te Henga/ Bethells Valley.

“This Act also provides an opportunity for other landowners, particularly in the Rodney area, to seek to have their own land included in the Heritage Area,” she said.

Cr Coney hopes the collaboration between the councils will continue into the future.

“The Waitakere communities have been steadfast in their wish to see the Heritage Area created, the regional community has also been supportive, as have Te Kawerau a Maki and Ngati Whatua. As councils we owe it to those who have recognised the importance of this legislation from the start to implement it with consistency and rigour,” she said.

The Auckland Regional Council also wishes to thank Lynne Pillay for sponsoring the Bill, Minister David Cunliffe who also played a key role and Prime Minister Helen Clark for her continuing support.

Ends


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