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Home arrow Articles by Topic arrow Environmental Planning arrow Sneaking into paradise
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Articles - Environmental Planning
Written by Ruth Laugesen, The Listener   
Sunday, 07 March 2010

Environmentally worrying developments are slipping under planning hurdles without a chance for public comment.

In the shadow of Mt Ruapehu, Derek and Christine Kelly grow peonies for market. At Pokaka, north of Ohakune, they and nearby farmers live on a unique pocket of land, a 2000ha freehold island in a rolling sea of protected conservation estate.

Near the Kelly’s land is the pristine Manganuioteao River, stronghold of the endangered blue duck. Directly across the state highway that borders their property, Tongariro National Park begins. All around is the forested Erua Conservation Area. Some nights the Kellys hear brown kiwis calling.

Four nearby rivers, including the Manganuioteao, have water conservation orders on them, the highest order of protection available outside a national park. So when Derek Kelly picked up a real estate throwaway in 2005 and found an ad for a housing subdivision in the paddock next door, he was worried.

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