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Chance for extra say on Proposed Regional Policy Statement

Date: 05 February, 2013

Chance for extra say on Proposed Regional Policy Statement

The public is about to get another chance to make further comment on one of Northland’s most important local authority plans – the Northland Regional Council’s Proposed Regional Policy Statement (RPS).

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.

Kathryn Ross, the regional council’s General Manager Planning and Policy, 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 a previous two month long period for public comment on the Proposed RPS ended late last year (subs: 03 Dec 2012), attracting 885 submissions.

“The most common submission themes included genetic engineering, mining, the mapping process identifying the region’s outstanding natural areas and coastal land and economic wellbeing.”

The next step is now a ‘further submission’ period, where people will have an opportunity to support - or oppose - those original submissions.

“It’s important to remember this period is designed to allow for further comment on the issues that have already been identified through previous submissions; it’s not an opportunity to raise new issues,” Ms Ross says.

She says the latest submission period will run for a fortnight, from Monday 18 February to 3pm Friday 01 March.

“If anyone needs help to understand how best to use this opportunity, regional council staff are happy to assist and can be contacted on (0800) 002 004.”

Ms Ross says once the latest submission period ends,a panel of three independent commissioners - which collectively boasts about 80 years’ resource management experience – will then hear from any submitters who wish to speak in support of their submissions – as well any objectors.

“The commissioners will then consider all submissions that have been made, along with recommendations from council staff before making recommendations to councillors on final decisions.”

Ms Ross says although it’s a Northland Regional Council plan, the Proposed RPS represents a great deal of work by councillors and staff from across all four local authorities in the region.

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

She says as part of a lengthy process, regional council staff had worked 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.

“While the Proposed RPS doesn’t set rules itself, it does filter down into district and regional plans which contain the rules around how people, businesses and industry use Northland’s resources so it’s been really important to get that inter-council co-operation.”

There had also been invaluable input from key stakeholders, tangata whenua and the general public and the council was looking forward to more of it during the next phase of further submissions.

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.


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