Concern at coastal plan

Another plan means another cost for ratepayers as regional, city and district councils implement the proposed New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement 2008.

Otago Regional Council chairman Stephen Cairns, speaking as the Local Government New Zealand regional affairs committee chairman, said councils were concerned the costs were beyond many smaller councils.

Mr Cairns, addressing a Government-appointed board of inquiry in Dunedin yesterday, said it could cost councils anywhere from $500,000 to $1 million to implement the strategy.

The board - Judge Shonagh Kenderdine (chairwoman), Philip Woollaston, Kathryn Edmonds and Rikirangi Gage - is on a national tour hearing views on the national statement.

Minister of Conservation Steve Chadwick said it was the key statement of national policy that guided planning and resource consent decisions for the coastal environment and would replace a 1994 version.

Local Government New Zealand did not believe the five years allowed for implementation was "adequate and realistic", especially as many of the changes could end up in the Environment Court, Mr Cairns said.

The period should be extended to 10 years.

Central government funding would be needed to help councils undertake some of the policies and clear recommendations on what was needed for implementation was needed from the board, Mr Cairns said.

In questions, Mrs Edmonds said she was puzzled at the amount of work councils believed needed to be done, as clearly a great deal of work had gone on and was ongoing.

Save the Otago Peninsula (Stop) spokeswoman Lala Frazer said the group wanted to stress the importance of monitoring and enforcement and wanted to see policies on subdivision and development along the coast kept strong.

University of Otago senior lecturer in geography Dr Michael Hilton said the statement should identify the remaining 50 to 60 dune systems of national conservation value and direct that adverse effects arising from activities in near to be avoided.

Dunedin farmer Tony Parata said there were vast areas of coast where the natural character should be protected and development not allowed under the statement.

More than 500 submissions nationwide had been made and the board of inquiry would report back to the minister of conservation on its findings.



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