Section 30(1)(d)(vii) of the RMA requires regional councils to control activities in relation to the surface of water. The focus in this chapter is therefore on recreational uses and other uses which generally take place on the surface of the water. (NB: Structures and aquaculture are dealt with in separate chapters of this Plan.)
The management of surface water activities is necessary to enable areas to be used efficiently and in a way that avoids conflicting uses and ensures that navigation and safety requirements are met. In managing surface water activities, there is a need to recognise the links between resource management issues and matters controlled under the Harbours Act 1950. The Maritime Safety Authority administers the Harbours Act and the following regulations:
The latter regulations cover all coastal waters and relate to navigation safety issues such as the speed of small craft and water skiing behaviour. The provisions of these regulations are primarily enforced by honorary launch wardens, appointed by the Maritime Safety Authority. It should be noted that in some areas, Harbour Act bylaws control these matters. These bylaws are primarily implemented by territorial local authorities.
While this Plan controls structures which define different spaces for different uses (e.g. ski lanes), the way activities are undertaken is controlled by the Harbours Act. It should also be noted that the Harbours Act is likely to be reviewed in the near future. This will further clarify the responsibilities of different agencies under the different pieces of legislation.