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Home arrow Articles by Topic arrow General arrow NSaPS Newsletter - April 2007
NSaPS Newsletter - April 2007 PDF Print
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Articles - General
Written by Sophie Edwards   
Tuesday, 24 April 2007


Dear Friends of the Society - formerly Friends and Guardians of Ngunguru Sandspit,

The Ngunguru Sandspit Protection Society (NSaPS) has received Landco’s Ngunguru Sandspit Newsletter Issue 3. The company is putting considerable time and resources into trying to make the public believe that their planned development is environmentally sensitive, sustainable and appropriate. As Friends of the Society you can be the ambassadors for saving this very special site by presenting the true picture which will educate the public and call attention to the importance of protecting this area.

Community Feedback. We know that a substantial number of Landco’ feedback forms contained ’no development at all on the sandspit.’ In view of the negative response received from a Landco representative at the walk-in public meeting when questioned on statistics, it is doubtful if these will be available to the public.  It seems our interpretation of the words ‘consultation‘ and ‘listening to the public’ differ greatly from Landco’s understanding of the meaning of listening to what a large section of the public has made very clear.

Landco states in their Newsletter Issue 3 that: “a number of people want the land gifted to become a public reserve.”  They should also state that a number of people have suggested that the sandspit should be sold for conservation at fair market value.  This has always been NSaPS’s stance. 

Preserving and protecting the natural character of outstanding landscapes is an important point made in Clause 6 of the Resource Management Act:

 “The preservation of the natural character of the coastal environment and the protection of them from inappropriate subdivision, use, and development.

The protection of natural features and landscapes from inappropriate subdivision, use and development.”

The proposed development of what amounts to a whole new village of 350 houses on this significant site is totally inappropriate and unacceptable, irrespective of who owns the land. Then there is the issue of creating a conservation reserve on the northern part of the sandspit (part of which is classified as hazard zone and therefore unfit for development). Are we really meant to believe that in putting forward their plan Landco is motivated mainly by a real concern for the environment?

The RMA also endorses the ethic of stewardship in Clause 5:

“Sustaining the potential of natural and physical resources to meet the foreseeable needs of future generations.”

Northland’s greatest asset and potential tourist revenue is its unspoilt coastline. We have to be proactive now to make sure our children and grandchildren are not cheated out of their inheritance.

There are those who would tell you that NSaPS’s reason for opposing Landco’s plan springs from a nimby (not in my back yard) attitude. The Ngunguru Sandspit has outstanding amenity value and extremely high importance ecologically, culturally and historically. It’s coastal and flood hazard zone and geological nature make it a feature on which development would be foolhardy. For these reasons NSaPS’s wishes to have the sandspit remain in a managed wilderness state. The Insurance Council have already issued a warning that in future some coastal properties may find it harder to obtain insurance. Where inappropriate development has been allowed to happen in the past, it was the ratepayers who had to foot the bill when the forces of nature asserted themselves.  The land developers had long since moved on.

Sand dunes and sandspits are known to act as buffer zones which protect the low lying areas of the mainland.   At the 2006 Summer Meeting of the TCR&R, the question was asked: who was going to be responsible should the Ngunguru Settlement be endangered as a result of the development of the sandspit?  The impression was gained by many present that Landco did not seem concerned about this matter. 

In the recent Newsletter it says: “whatever is proposed will attain quality assurance to ensure no pollution of river or sea”.  It is impossible to ensure that there will be no pollution as the recent floods have proved. Once the developers have moved on, the local Councils and ratepayers will be faced with the costs of remedying any pollution.

Landco has consistently downplayed the risk involved in creating a high density residential development on this flood prone area of the sandspit. The area has been flooded several times within living memory and raising the level of the land may prevent the houses on the spit being effected, but the water will be forced to find other paths and create more problems elsewhere. Even without the calamity of a tsunami, the destruction  created by the combination of strong wind, high tide and heavy rainfall can be considerable as past events have shown.

Tsunami risk. In the Newsletter we are told of a proposal to install a warning system to enable people to escape to high ground.!  What we are not told is that recent figures quoted by Landco referring to tsunami risk were based on old, outdated data, going back to 1998 and not the more realistic appraisal of the risk mentioned in the latest data published in 2005. 

Click this link to our website for the full story: How do LandCo's claims stack up? (Tsunami risk)

The explanation as to why Landco prefers the 350 dwelling plan as opposed to 20 ha lifestyle blocks on the sandspit fails to give the main reason:  20 ha lifestyle blocks on that site would not find many buyers, whereas Landco knows that the popularity of coastal properties and clever marketing could tempt an unwary buyer to bid for the relatively lower priced sections. Those “extremely wealthy people” mentioned in the Newsletter will probably prefer to invest their millions in a site less hazardous and more secluded.

Roadworks and vegetation clearance. Work that has been undertaken on the hill to the south of the Sandspit has caused considerable concern in view of the environmental and cultural sensitivities of Whakairiora Mountain.  NSaPS has enquired what Whangarei District Council will be doing about this and will keep you updated.

Kind regards


Sophie Edwards

for the Associate Members Sub-Committee
Ngunguru Sandspit Protection Society Incorporated

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