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Report of the Board of Inquiry into Coastal Policy

Report of the Board of Inquiry into the Proposed New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement 2008

One of the authors of a report to the government on the New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement is so incensed by the government’s refusal to publicly release the Board’s recommendations that he has published his own copy of the report.

Former Minister of Conservation, Mayor of Nelson and Policy Advisor to the United Nations Environment Programme, Philip Woollaston, today posted his copy of the board’s recommended re-drafting of the NZCPS online and sent it to news media and environmental groups. The report and recommendations can be downloaded from http://coastal.posterous.com/ .

To date the government has refused Official Information Act requests to release the report, an action Mr Woollaston describes as ‘outrageous’.

“This document is public property,” Mr Woollaston said. “It is the result of a large number of public submissions, considered in a statutory process over many months and at public expense. The public has a right to know the result, not least those who took the time and trouble to write submissions and appear at hearings up and down the country.”

Mr Woollaston says that recent comments by Conservation Minister Kate Wilkinson – on Radio New Zealand’s “insight” programme last Sunday morning, suggest the government intends to bury the report permanently.

“This shows a surprising lack of awareness of her statutory responsibilities – both in relation to the review of the New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement and to the protection of coastal values. Under the RMA she is obliged to consider the Board of Inquiry report, to respond to it, and to publish it. The same Act makes it mandatory for her to protect significant features and areas of the coast.

The draft policy deals with a wide range of coastal issues including subdivision and development, protection of outstanding natural and historic features, public access and vehicles on beaches as well as the response to coastal hazards such as tsunami and climate change.

If adopted, it will form mandatory guidelines to local and regional government. The current NZCPS, issued in 1994, is generally seen as being out of date and in need of revision.


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