It is my pleasure to present the first Regional Coastal Plan for Waikato. It is an important document for all who value the coast and marine waters.
In 1991, with the passing of the Resource Management Act(external link), a new regime for planning was set in place to guide the future use, development and protection of our natural and physical resources. This document contributes to coastal planning in New Zealand by addressing the resource management issues of the Coastal Marine Area in the Waikato Region.
Our current lifestyles can at times place heavy demands on the environment and on resources of the Coastal Marine Area. This plan outlines objectives and policies for sustainable management of the Region’s coast, consistent with the New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement(external link) and Environment Waikato’s Regional Policy Statement. By working towards these objectives, we can all continue to enjoy the coastal environment and marine waters while ensuring it remains an asset for future generations to use and enjoy.
Preparation of this Regional Coastal Plan has involved a high level of public participation and consultation with a range of interested groups. Environment Waikato received 1584 submissions on the proposed Regional Coastal Plan. A total of 74 submitters were heard by the Regional Coastal Plan Hearings Committee over a period of 16 days during November and December 1996. From this process, amendments have been made to the proposed Regional Coastal Plan reflecting the concerns of submitters. A number of matters were appealed to the Environment Court and the last of these appeals was settled in August 2003. Also, in the meantime, three variations have been finalised and are now incorporated into this Plan.
The willingness of different sectors of the community to participate in developing the Regional Coastal Plan has been appreciated. This input has considerably strengthened the plan as a tool for guiding decision making about the use, development and protection of natural and physical resources in the Coastal Marine Area.