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06, May, 2010

Release of Coastal Policy highlights the need for change


Category: ECO Inc

The release of the revised New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement was welcomed by the Environment and Conservation Organisations (ECO) today.

ECO was responding to the release of the report of the statutory Board of Inquiry on the New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement by Board member Philip Woollaston. The Board’s report was delivered to the Minister of Conservation in July last year after receiving 538 submissions and publicly hearing 175 submitters and expert witnesses.

ECO co-chair Barry Weeber, said it was disappointing that it required a Board member to release the report after the Minister of Conservation refused to release it.

“ECO was one of the 538 submitters which included numerous community, business, environmental and Māori organisations, and individuals.”

Mr Weeber said it was very disappointing that the Minister had not released the report after nearly a year nor had she released her decision on its recommendations. “This indicates poor commitment by the Minister to the Board of Inquiry process and the extensive work by submitters.”

“Board’s of Inquiry are important statutory bodies which the Government gave a greater role to last year under the amendments to the Resource Management Act.”

Mr Weeber said the New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement is the only mandatory national policy statement under the Resource Management Act and the current statement had been in force since 1994 and was long overdue for replacement.

“Since the last coastal policy statement there had been a gold rush of marine space applications for aquaculture, further sensitive coastal areas had been subdivided for coastal development, and the impacts and scale of sea level rise from climate change had been further identified.”

Mr Weeber said not all the report would be supported by ECO but it is a significant improvement on the 1994 document.

“ECO welcomes the proposals to better recognise threatened coastal and marine biodiversity, the importance of coastal sand dunes, and surf breaks of national significance.”

Mr Weeber said the coasts were important for all New Zealanders, crucial places for sea birds, whales, dolphins and seals. “ECO hopes the Minister will soon released the new New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement to reflect the coastal environmental challenges of the 21st century.”

For further information, contact Barry Weeber 021-738-807 or 04-389-1696.

Notes:

  1. ECO – the Environment and Conservation Organisations was established in 1972 and represents 67 groups with a concern for the environment.
  2. ECO was one of 538 submitters on the draft New Zealand Coastal Policy statement and presented further submissions to the Board. For further information on the report see DOC website