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Council concerned at foreshore bill

Environment Waikato is concerned about the additional financial burden on Regional ratepayers and the damage the proposed Foreshore and Seabed Bill could have on its relationships with tangata whenua.

The Council has made a submission on the Bill, supporting Local Government New Zealand’s submission and raising its own concerns. It says a number of clauses require management action by regional councils, sometimes at the direction of the Minister of Conservation. This placed an unpredictable additional cost burden on Regional ratepayers which could not be budgeted for.

The Council says there is also potential to harm the positive working relationships it had been developing with Waikato tangata whenua.

It also wants clarification of how the sustainability of customary activities would be assured. Customary activities, carried out according to tikanga Maori as they had been for hundreds of years, would be expected to have relatively minor effects on the environment, the Council said.

There was no need for the exemption of customary activities from the Resource Management Act.

Local Government New Zealand’s submission says it does not consider it appropriate or necessary for the Crown to take land owned by local authorities in the foreshore and seabed, which raised concerns about ownership of roads in the Coastal Marine Area.

Preparing an adverse effects assessment should be the responsibility of the Minister, not regional councils, and as restrictions on public access to the foreshore and seabed may be put in place by the Minister, signs and fencing should be the responsibility of DoC, not local authorities.

No dates have yet been set for select committee hearings, which will be reported back to the House on November 5.

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