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Board of Inquiry recommendations good for coast

Board of Inquiry recommendations good for the coast

"EDS is delighted that the New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement (NZCPS) Board of Inquiry has recommended a stronger national framework for coastal management," said EDS Senior Policy Analyst Raewyn Peart today.

The Board of Inquiry report has been released today by a Board member.

"We are also pleased to hear that the Minister, Hon Kate Wilkinson, is not going to be rushed into making her decision on the Board's recommendations. This is too important an issue for New Zealand to be subject to any knee-jerk response so we support the Minister's position.

"Our current NZCPS dates back to 1994. It proved very ineffective in managing the rampant development occurring along our coasts during the recent property boom. There has been widespread recognition that it needs to be replaced.

"The Board of Inquiry undertook a robust investigation into what the replacement NZCPS should include. It considered 539 written submissions and spent 30 days in public hearings around the country.

"The high level of public engagement in the process reflected the passion New Zealander's have for the coast and widespread concern that we need to lift our game when it comes to managing development pressures.

"On the whole, the Board of Inquiry's proposals are positive. They provide much clearer national direction on how we can achieve good environmental outcomes while still enabling development on the coast.

"In particular, EDS supports the much stronger provisions which are designed to keep development out of areas of the coast with high natural character and landscape values and to concentrate it in areas of lower value.

"EDS also supports the more detailed guidance given for the design of new developments. This includes avoiding headlands and prominent ridgelines, setting development back from the coastal edge and avoiding coastal sprawl on the fringes of urban areas.

"One major area of disappointment is that the Board of Inquiry did not accept EDS's submission that outstanding natural coastal landscapes and areas of high natural character should be identified on maps attached to the NZCPS.

"Our experience with the RMA over the past 18 years has shown that words are subject to widely varying interpretations. Mapping high value coastal areas, and identifying them as off-limits to intensive development, is the only way we can have certainty that they will be protected in the long term.

"The Board of Inquiry considered our suggestion to be outside its terms of reference. However, it did indicate that identifying these areas was essential and that the mapping exercise could be undertaken as a collaborative effort between all levels of local government.

"The recommendations of the Board of Inquiry represent a major step forward in developing a more sophisticated approach to managing our coast. I would strongly urge the Minister of Conservation to adopt them when she is ready ," concluded Ms Peart.


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