RMLA News

Randerson Report – Coastal Land and Marine

 

Author: Quentin Davies – Coastal Land and Marine Knowledge Hub Leader

The issues with the existing regulatory system identified by the Panel, include:

  • Marine: high volumes of land-sourced sediment are impacting coastal areas, many biogenic habitats are decreasing in extent, plastics are now found throughout our marine area and harvesting marine species is having long-term and wide-ranging effects on species and habitats. Because we do not know the cumulative effects of fishing on the marine environment, it is unclear if the current levels of fishing are sustainable or where tipping points are
  • Maori have been left out of critical decision making. The principles of the Treaty should be required to be “given effect to”.
  • There is a need for improved and better co-ordinated response to the effects of climate change. There needs to be some mandatory national-level direction.

What does the Review Panel propose?

  • Mandatory regional spatial planning, including marine spatial planning (refers to Sea Change – Tai Timu Tai Pari for the Hauraki Gulf, as an example of this occurring in NZ) – though note report “considers the impact of land use on the marine environment and activities within the coastal marine area (to the 12 nautical mile limit) that are currently regulated under the RMA” (pg 123)
  • Recognition of protected customary rights under MACA be retained
  • Duty on the Minister for the Environment to set environmental limits “for key biophysical domains” including coastal water and habitats for indigenous species, be imposed [at pg 80]. Ministers and local authorities should be required to set targets to achieve continuing progress towards meeting those outcomes.
  • There should be a mandatory plan for each region combining regional policy statements and regional and district plans. Such a plan should be prepared by a representative of the Minister of Conservation and representatives of the regional council, each constituent territorial authorities in the region and mana whenua.  The focus would be on how to achieve set outcomes.
  • Current resource consent types should remain, including coastal permits. NC activity status should be removed, with the rest of activity statuses to remain.  Changes to notification system should be made such as by “removing the ‘no more than minor’ effects threshold and replacing existing provisions with a combination of presumptions and plan provisions specifying when notification is to occur and in what form.”
  • The type of information an applicant should provide would correspond to nature, scale and complexity of the issue.
  • Changes to appeal/dispute resolution process are proposed, such as “An alternative dispute resolution process should be established for controlled or restricted discretionary activities in prescribed circumstances. Parties to the process should still be able to exercise rights of appeal but only by leave of the Environment Court.”
  • The allocation process should be more streamlined.

Marine spatial planning

  • There is an acknowledgement of barriers to achieving an integrated approach to the CMA, through the NZCPS and regional coastal plans, such as allocation of space often being drive by individual applications, rather than at a national level.
  • The Panel’s view is that spatial planning should include the CMA as well as land, to promote integration in managing resources of land and sea; but it would go from MHWS mark to 12 nautical mile limit, at which point areas further beyond 12nm would continue to be regulated under the EEZ, Fisheries or Marine Reserves Acts.
  • Spatial planning in the CMA would need to be consistent with the NZCPS, which the Panel find “will continue to be the main tool to regulate activities within the CMA, along with regional coastal plans”