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Home arrow Events arrow Submission to NRC Draft Annual Plan 2007-08
Submission to NRC Draft Annual Plan 2007-08 PDF Print E-mail
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Action - Campaigns
Written by Gloria Bruni   
Thursday, 10 May 2007

Submission to:
Northland Regional Council Draft Annual Plan 2007-08

Submission from:

Ngunguru Sandspit Protection Society Inc
Secretary: Rick Bazeley

We wish to present our submission in person.

Our submission is:

Northland Regional Council, staff and counselors have invested considerable thought and effort in the preparation of this Draft Annual Plan, 2007-08, and Ngunguru Sandspit Protection Society Inc would like to acknowledge our appreciation of that work. We applaud much of what NRC has planned for the coming year but we would like to make a few suggestions which we think will improve your Levels of Service.

Activity 1.1 Resource Management Planning

1.1.6 page 102

"Complete proposed changes to the Regional Water and Soil Plan for Northland providing for: - improvements to management of water take, use . . ."

There will be an ongoing need for new water sources and for that reason NSaPS urges NRC through education and regulation to facilitate greater use of rain water through the installation of suitably sized water tanks with new construction.

Modern tanks, fittings and filters can assure a very high level of water quality. Besides easing costs of reticulating water and reducing storm water run-off, this time-tested system also protects the community against failure of a centralized water system caused by natural disaster or other civil emergency. We should not have all our water-eggs in one central basket.

1.1.8 page 102

NSaPS endorses the NRC's Performance Target of avoiding legal challenges due to non-compliance with statutory preparation processes.

1.1.11 page 102

NSaPS endorses NRC's assisting with funds the improved involvement of Maori in resource management decision making.

1.2 Public Communication and Education

NSaPS commends NRC's generous involvment with schools and the targets it has set for that work (1.2.2) page 103

1.2.4 & 1.2.5

Congratulations to NRC for supporting outstanding students in sustainable management and environmental scholarships and sound environmental practise through your business and farm awards. Through this support and recognition you are making the very best investment in our future.

1.2.3 page 103

We feel that efforts to keep the community well informed regarding the NRC's issues and activities are important to maintain an informed and connected state of mind in the community; an antidote to apathy.

However we would like to observe that the Target of 50% of the populace being aware of NRC's role and services in the community (1.2.1) could happily be addressed to a similar level of awareness of pest organisims and their control. A target of 50% recognition of . . ."ways to reduce adverse impacts of exotic organisms, pest plants and animal pests on primary production, natural ecosystems and on human health." in the wider populace would seem a worthy Target to add to section 4.4 page 118

This matter takes on greater significance in light of the number of town-trained and/or out of area newcomers moving onto lifestyle blocks with minimal knowledge of what represents a pest plant in Northland. There is scope for more education targeted at newcomers. This suggestion is really an amplification of Service/Target 4.3.4 and 4.3.6 page 116, which we fully support.

4.1 Hazard and Emergency Management page 114

We happily endorse NRC's Hazard and Emergency management Targets for the coming year. We ask that in 2007-08 a study is done, in conjuction with WDC, of maintenance work required on the Ngunguru River. The purpose to reduce flooding in heavy rain events and to enhance its environmental values and health. Anticipated work to begin as soon as possible.

We also ask that as part of NRC's educational goals, the Hazardscape information that Council is gathering is shared promptly with those communities threatened by those hazards. Thus enabeling threatened communities themselves to improve Civil Defence Emergency management, collaborating with but reducing their reliance on NRC.

Collaboration (as with the WDC on dredging the Hatea River, 3.6.1 page 113, by NRC with other Councils and community groups is commended by NSaPS. We encourage NRC to actively seek further opportunities for such collaboration.

Beyond collaboration with external groups, is collaboration within NRC itself. For many large organizations internal consistency is quite a challenging task. But, for example, translating what happens at Northland Biodiversity Enhancement Group meetings into action throughout NRC is a Target we ask NRC to seriously consider. Internal consistency has a clear ethical and intellectual attraction, but consistency also delivers better value for every tax dollar spent.

4.3.5 page 116

"Develop and promote indigenous iodiversity policies in Northland"

The target: "Design and setup an indigenous biodiversity database for Northland by 30 June 2007"

NSaPS draws NRC's attention to the wealth of "indigenous biodiversity" on Whakairiora mountain at the shoulder of Ngunguru Sandspit, presently being slashed, sawn, chipped and scattered by a developer little hindered by the "protections" set out by the Environment Court.

NRC would find invaluable help in creating their biodiversity database by consulting Wade Doak and DOC both of whom have indentified rare and unusual native plants on that beseiged mountain.

Ngunguru Sandspit Protection Society comes to NRC again this year with a request for NRC to take a leading role in investigating a Regional Park or Reserve on the Ngunguru Sandspit and its supporting Mountain. We begin by noting the following from your Draft Annual Plan:

Activity 3 Environmental Monitoring Levels of Service

3.1.1 page 108

" - supporting and contributing to the development and implementation of coastal hazard management strategies, by collection and provision of coastal hazard and processes information and advice to the communities of affected areas."

Taking seriously the Target of implementing Coastal Hazard Management would almost certainly stop any development on the Ngunguru Sandspit before it began.

4.1 page 114 Significant negative effects of Hazard and Emergency Management Activities

"A significant negative effect on well-being may arise in situations where people feel their rights have been diminished in order to provide for the well-being of the wider community or future generations."

Clearly this tension between private property "rights" and shared space "rights" is well understood by NRC and NRC is well practised in meeting it squarely (we counted 6 repeats of the above quoted clause).

5.1 Community Representation and Strategic Planning page 119

5.1.3

"Work with the communities of Northland and other organizations towards achieving regional community outcomes."

5.2.6 page 120

"Further develop relationships with key stakeholders in the Northland Region through the ongoing process of identifying community outcomes and implementing the Long Term Council Community Plan.

5.2.7

"Provide community funding for regional initiatives undertaken by the Council or in joint venture or partnership with other authorities and organizations on a case-by-case basis."

And the Target for that one:

"Conduct due diligence and the appropriate community consultation on significant projects as required in accordance with the requirements of the Local Government Act 2002."

Clearly the model of a community consortium lead by NRC is not new in concept or in practise.

NSaPS notes with approval NRC's detailed plans for acquiring ownership or use of the rail link properties through Designation (pp54-55). And we also note that although NRC does not intend to be the Requiring Authority, it could do so if it wished. What can be done for the rail link can also be done for the Ngunguru Sandspit.

With the goal of Designation of Ngunguru Sandspit and Whakairiora as a Protected Natural Reserve, NSaPS asks that Northland Regional Council investigate the nature of a collaboration between themselves, WDC and other parties (Central Government representation and community representation) for maintaining protective governance over such a reserved area. And further to liase with NSaPS with regard to proposals for funding a subsequent purchase.

The path is clear, community support is abundant, what is required is a decision that Ngunguru Sandspit and Whakairiora are not suitable or acceptable land for development; and that Northland Regional Council will play the leadership role in Designating this iconic coastal land.


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