Minister publishes review of how the NZ Coastal Policy Statement affects decision making

New Zealand’s major surf breaks and the impacts of vehicles on beaches are receiving more attention from local authorities because of the New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement 2010 (NZCPS), new analysis released by Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage today shows.

“Surfers can be grateful that protecting surf breaks is now something that councils consider in preparing plans and when resource consents are sought for development work such as dredging,” Ms Sage said.

Under the Resource Management Act, the NZCPS guides local authority management of the coastal environment, and council and Environment Court decision making under the RMA.  The Department of Conservation’s review of the NZCPS looked at how it has influenced decision making under the Act.

The review identified the need for guidance to support the coastal hazard policies in the NZCPS.

“This guidance has now been completed and along with the recently updated MFE guidance on coastal hazards and climate change will assist councils plan for storm events such as that experienced this week.

“I am pleased to see the NZCPS is making a difference and helping local authorities make better decisions and take a more strategic and integrated approach to coastal planning. There’s still a long way to go.

“The review also found while some local authorities have embraced the NZCPS and made good progress, others had work to do.”

Other findings included:

Councils who resource and implement a strategic and integrated approach to managing their coastal areas are making better progress in using the NZCPS to achieve good coastal management
Lack of accepted and consistent methods has been a problem in mapping and risk assessment relating to natural character and outstanding natural landscapes.
Consistent ways of working and further implementation guidance are still needed for councils
The views among sector groups on the implications of the Supreme Court’s 2014 King Salmon decision for resource management planning and decision making are strongly divided. 

“As Conservation Minister I am particularly interested in looking at ways DOC can support councils in implementing the NZCPS, for example with coastal mapping information and by promoting better co-ordination of coastal management with urban development and freshwater management.  

“These are important issues for a coastal country like New Zealand. I want to thank everyone who contributed to the review.”

The review of the NZCPS was initiated by DOC in 2016 to fulfil its monitoring responsibilities for the NZCPS in 2016 and was completed last year.  It completes the first stage of monitoring the policy and points to the further monitoring work that is needed to provide a national perspective on coastal management trends.

The review can be found at www.doc.govt.nz/nzcps

Note to editors: The New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement 2010 was prepared under the RMA and is a key instrument for central government to influence local government’s implementation of the RMA in the coastal environment. It states policies to achieve the RMA’s purpose of promoting sustainable management on a range of issues including preservation of natural character, coastal subdivision, use and development, and coastal hazard risks. It is the only mandatory policy statement under the RMA. Regional policy statements, regional plans and district plans must give effect to it.

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