People and organisations have just over a week to have their say on the proposed Waikato Regional Policy Statement (RPS) before it is finalised.
Submissions close at 4pm on Monday 28 February.
The proposed RPS is a far-reaching planning tool that enables the use of natural resources, such as water and land, and allows for the development of roads, infrastructure and buildings in ways that maintain a healthy environment.
Under the Resource Management Act, an RPS is required to identify the significant resource management issues for the Waikato region. It must also set out how the regional community will manage resources – such as air, biodiversity, coastal environments, freshwater, geothermal resources, landscapes, land and soils – in ways that provide for the present without compromising the ability of future generations to provide for their own needs.
The key resource management issues identified in the new proposed RPS include the declining state of the region’s natural resources, adaptation to a changing climate, encouraging energy conservation and efficiencies, the way land is used and developed, protection of the Waikato River and the relationship of tangata whenua with the environment.
Key new proposals concerning the economy and environment include:
- taking a “smart growth” approach to regional development. This includes stronger direction for land use planning, and greater coordination of new developments with transport and other infrastructure through sub-regional growth strategies such as Future Proof in the Hamilton basin, the Coromandel Peninsula Blueprint, Taupo District 2050 and the Franklin District Growth Strategy.
- encouraging energy-efficient urban development and the use of community-based renewable energy technologies
- a catchment based approach to managing fresh water quality which takes into account land use near water bodies and is considered the most effective way of making improvements
- established values for fresh water that should be maintained
- specific sites where high water quality should be maintained
- a targeted approach to reducing sediment and microbial contamination of water
- a priority system for allocating water
- the identification of 12 regionally outstanding natural features that will be targeted for special protection, including Lake Taupo, sites on the Coromandel, Maungatautari, Mt Karioi and Mt Pirongia
- further restricting vehicle use in sensitive coastal areas
The proposed RPS can be viewed and submissions made online at www.ew.govt.nz. Alternatively, a copy of the proposed RPS and a submission form can be requested on freephone 0800 800 401 or email email@example.com.