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Regional Policy Statement Commissioners appointed

5 December, 2012

Regional Policy Statement Commissioners appointed

An independent trio which collectively boasts about 80 years’ resource management experience has been appointed to consider hundreds of public submissions on the Northland Regional Council’s Proposed Regional Policy Statement.

A two month period for public comment on the Proposed RPS – the region’s most significant planning document – ended this week (subs: Mon 03 Dec), attracting more than 850 submissions.

Kathryn Ross, the regional council’s General Manager Planning and Policy, says common submission themes included the mapping process identifying the region’s outstanding natural areas and coastal land, as well as genetic engineering.

Ms Ross says with the close of the two-month submission process, the next step is a ‘further submission’ period, where people will have an opportunity to support or oppose those submissions.

“That’s currently scheduled to run for two weeks from Friday 01 to Friday 15 February 2013.”

She says a panel of three independent commissioners will then hear any submitters who wish to speak in support of their submissions - as well any objectors - before considering all submissions that have been made, along with recommendations from council staff.

“The committee will then make recommendations to council on final decisions.”

The three commissioners, whose appointments were confirmed today, (subs: Weds 05 Dec) are Alan Watson (Chair), Brent Cowie and Dave Serjeant.

Ms Ross says the trio is extremely qualified for the role, collectively boasting about 80 years’ of resource management experience.

The man who will chair the committee, Aucklander Alan Watson, has worked extensively with all four Northland-based councils in recent years. Mr Watson also recently chaired a six-member committee hearing to the Waikato Proposed Regional Policy Statement.

Fellow commissioner, Canterbury-based Brent Cowie, recently heard submissions for Chapters 4-8 of the Natural Resources Regional Plan for the Canterbury Regional Council.

The third commissioner, Dave Serjeant, who lives south of Wellsford on the Kaipara Harbour coast, also has a wide range of resource management knowledge.

His specific areas of expertise include regionally significant infrastructure, economics, water quality, riparian management, biodiversity and significant natural areas, coastal and outstanding landscape protection, natural hazards and iwi involvement.

Ms Ross says Northland’s proposed RPS runs to more than 160 pages, as well as more than 1200 pages of supporting documentation and maps.

She says under the Resource Management Act, the RPS must identify the significant resource management issues for Northland and set out how resources such as land, water, soil, minerals, plants, animals and structures will be managed.

“The Proposed RPS represents a vast amount of effort by Northland Regional Council staff working closely with a seven-member committee of regional councillors, the Deputy Mayors of the Far North and Kaipara Districts and a senior Whangarei District Councillor.”

She says the proposed RPS doesn’t set rules itself, but does filter down into district and regional plans which contain the rules around how people, businesses and industry use Northland’s resources.

Politicians from all three Northland district councils – as well as the regional council - played a key role in its development.

The Proposed RPS and supporting documents are available online via www.nrc.govt.nz/newRPS or as hard copies at regional council offices and at public libraries.

ENDS

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