Healthy Environments | He Taiao Mauriora
Waikato Regional Plan and Regional Coastal Plan review
It’s important that our region’s environmental resources are protected for people now, and into the future. We’ve created Healthy Environments | He Taiao Mauriora, a project that will review the Waikato Regional Coastal Plan and the Waikato Regional Plan.
These plans set out objectives, policies and rules that the Regional Council will use to manage natural resources, including air, land, fresh water and coastal. Healthy Environments | He Taiao Mauriora has kicked off for the Waikato Regional Coastal Plan review, and shortly the review of the Waikato Regional Plan will also kick off.
Ultimately, the Waikato Regional Coastal Plan and Waikato Regional Plan will be combined and will be renamed the Waikato Resource Management Plan. We intend to have a fully approved and operative plan by 2028. We're not starting from scratch, we'll be looking at the two plans we already have, and considering scientific and other data, as well as feedback we've received over the years on ways the plans could be improved. Therefore the basis of this review is to address the following issues:
- The current coastal and regional plans do not fully implement some statutory documents, for example, New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement, national policy statements and environmental standards, Waikato Regional Policy Statement, Treaty settlements and Te Ture Whaimana o Te Awa o Waikato - the Vision and Strategy for the Waikato River.
- Plans and strategies that are out of date in some parts and not full aligned with council's strategic direction.
- Some of the rules do not sustain values of land and water, enable regional development and incorporate Treaty co-governance principles.
- Some rules are confusing, difficult to meet, monitor and enforce.
- Some activities having minor effects require consents.
- The Environment Court has commented on both the complexity and permissiveness of some rules.
The review is being broken into two main phases. Phase one mostly looks at issues from the Waikato Regional Coastal Plan, while phase two focuses on the existing Waikato Regional Plan. At the same time council is undertaking a plan change to address water quality in the Waikato/Waipā catchments (Healthy Rivers/ Wai Ora – Plan Change One), and will be progressing a water quality plan change for the Hauraki/Coromandel plan change.
We will also need to align the plan review with Government’s proposed National Planning Standards, which will have some mandatory requirements for our Resource Management plans. The National Planning Standards are expected to come into force in 2019. As part of this, we are looking to roll out a new online “eplan” in the second half of 2019.
The Government is also developing National Policy Statements and National Environmental Standards. As these are mandatory documents, council will need to incorporate any changes required through this national direction into the plan review.
Government has also signalled further changes to the Resource Management Act that may affect the plan review.
For further information on Governments package of National Direction, click here.
Where are we at?
The Healthy Environments | He Taiao Mauriora Plan Review Committee has was convened in May 2019, and comprises of six iwi representatives and six councillors. The full Council will make final approvals on any plan changes for notification.
We are still in the early stages of our review of the coastal plan and the regional plan. Resource management issues and options are being identified for all policy topics. Our main focus so far has been on the region’s coastal marine area and Taupō Waters, as well as fresh water in the Waikato and Waipā catchments covered by Healthy Rivers | Wai Ora.
- Scoping for each of the phase one topics (coastal marine area and Taupō Waters) has been completed.
- Staff are developing issues and options for consultation with key stakeholders.
- Science and information investigations are underway for phase one and phase two.
- We are currently working towards publicly notifying a revised coastal plan (phase one) in 2021.