Natural Resources Plan provides certainty for resource use
Greater Wellington Regional Council today approved a ground-breaking new Proposed Natural Resources Plan that sets out rules and guidelines for protecting and sustainably using natural resources in the region.
GWRC Chair Fran Wilde says the plan sets limits for natural resource use and quality while ensuring an environment for economic growth.
"The plan provides certainty for users of natural resources so they can confidently invest in technologies and practices to limit harmful discharges and more efficiently use what nature provides," she says.
"It is based on extensive research as well as an in-depth understanding of the values the community holds and the places which are most special. While not everything in the plan will be agreed on by all parties, I'm confident it is a vast improvement on our existing plans and a truer representation of community values and aspirations."
Ms Wilde says the plan is the result of five years of collaboration with iwi, business and the community, starting with an award winning partnership with the region's six mana whenua iwi.
Iwi representatives were invited to join GWRC's Natural Resources Committee Te Upoko Taiao, which oversaw the consultation process and the drafting of the plan.
This partnership was recognised when GWRC and Te Ara Tahi - the council's iwi leadership forum - co-won the 2012 IPANZ Gen-I Public Sector Excellence Award for Crown-Maori Relationships for Te Upoko Taiao.
"This partnership has been the envy of councils around New Zealand," Ms Wilde says. "It's exciting that Wellington has once more led the way and in this case on something that is so important to the people of the region - the use of our natural resources.
"Te Upoko Taiao has set the standard and it has led our relationship with all stakeholder groups. This relationship started at the grassroots community level, where hundreds of participants helped define aspirations for how we want to manage our resources and the standards we expect, especially for water quality.
"As the process continued, we built on this and had more targeted discussions with interest groups, land owners and users, and scientific experts, to develop regional-level guidelines and rules to ensure we deliver on these aspirations."
A draft Natural Resources Plan was made available for public feedback from September through to November 2014. This proposed plan, which includes changes as a result of that feedback, will be notified on July 31, at which time it will be publicly available and a formal public submission process will begin. More details on this process will be made available when the plan is notified.
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