New Zealand: A mapping project, to distinguish between coastal and non-coastal land, has been rolled out for New Zealand’s Northland region. Northland Regional Council is working in partnership with the three district councils, and is contacting nearly 4400 affected Far North landowners to help refine the draft maps. (Almost 3000 affected Whangarei landowners and almost 1200 from Kaipara have already been contacted over the past two months.)
All New Zealand councils must meet new government policy to identify and protect ‘outstanding’ areas around the coast, under the New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement 2010 (NZCPS). At the same time, existing ‘outstanding’ areas throughout the region are being reviewed to ensure they’re consistent and meet current central government requirements.
Regional councillor Ian Walker said legal requirements aside, the project has some important benefits for Northlanders. “We want to meet Governments statutory obligations in a way that works best for Northland and its communities, and that’s why we’ve opted for one project that produces regionally consistent maps. The region’s four councils are in agreement that running one region-wide mapping project is much more efficient and cost-effective than each district council having to do this separately,” he added.
“Regionally consistent maps of these areas will create more certainty in the long-run – for landowners, communities, developers and council decision-makers – and prevent potentially costly battles at the consents stage,” he said.
To meet NZCPS criteria, the draft maps distinguish between coastal and non-coastal land, and identify ‘outstanding and high natural character’ areas within the coastal environment. At the same time, ‘outstanding natural landscapes’ and ‘outstanding natural features’ are also being reviewed (most of these areas were last mapped in 1995 and are now out of date).
Once finalised, the maps will be incorporated into district and regional plans, which contain the rules that protect the values of these areas. Clarifying the rules for these areas is a separate process that the district councils will go through later – first the areas need to be clearly identified.