What’s happening now and how can people participate?
The draft Natural Resources Plan for the Wellington region is now available. You can provide feedback on the draft plan online here, or you can download a full spreadsheet of the plan provisions and email that to us.
We are also holding a number of public information meetings across the region in September 2014.
What is the purpose of a regional plan?
Regional Plans contain the rules and policies that govern the use of natural resources and manage the effects of that use. Examples of this include managing what is discharged to land or water, what amount of water can be taken and used from rivers, streams and groundwater, and what contaminants can be allowed to enter the atmosphere.
The Regional Coastal Plan is the only mandatory Regional Plan; other Regional Plans are prepared at the discretion of the Wellington Regional Council. The Wellington Regional Council currently has four other Regional Plans – Regional Plan for Discharges to Land, Regional Air Quality Management Plan, Regional Soil Plan and Regional Freshwater Plan.
Why are you doing this now? Aren’t the current plans good enough?
Under the Resource Management Act, reviews of plans must commence 10 years after they have become operative. The first of the current suite of regional plans was formally adopted by the Wellington Regional Council in December 1999, so we started our review in 2009.
What are you doing differently this time?
The Wellington Regional Council has a stated commitment to managing catchments in an integrated way, so we have developed one integrated plan, instead of the set of five that we currently have, thus recognising the inter-relationships between different activities, whether they are on land or water.
This is a plan that we have developed “with” the community rather than “for” the community so the content of the draft plan is a result of intensive engagement and discussion with many different parts of the regional community.
The draft plan has also been developed in partnership with the mana whenua iwi of the region. The plan identifies mana whenua values for water at a regional and catchment scale and also schedules more places of importance to mana whenua.
The draft plan includes five chapters for our five largest catchments or whaitua; Ruamāhanga, Hutt/Harbour, Te Awarua o Porirua and Kapiti. These chapters currently have water quantity limits for water takes which will be reviewed by whaitua committees. The water quality limits for discharges to land and water are yet to be developed. The whaitua committees who will review these chapters have members who are drawn from the local community. The Ruamāhanga Whaitua Committee has finalised and submitted a set of recommendations to GWRC in August 2018 on the ways in which people in the catchment want to manage their water to improve their water quality and to implement the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management.
For further information on the whaitua process and whaitua committees please click here(External link).
What’s already happened?
In 2010 the Regional Council held 15 community workshops, meetings with mana whenua iwi and local councils and an online survey to get people’s views on the state of natural resources and on the problems and opportunities with how natural resources are currently managed. The results of those workshops are published in our public engagement report.
Throughout 2011 we developed a range of issues and goals that incorporate people’s views from last year’s workshops, online survey, mana whenua iwi and council meetings as well as information from our science and monitoring and the stock takes of our existing policies.
In November 2011 we held a number of community drop-in sessions to show people what we've been working on.
Throughout 2012 we worked with stakeholders to develop ideas for the new plan and held a series of public presentations around the region on progress to develop a regional plan and our ideas for managing for managing natural resources. We made short videos on these ideas and sought feedback. The reports on these engagement activities can be found on our website: http://www.gw.govt.nz/assets/Reviewofpublicconsultation2013.pdf.
What is the status of the current regional plans that Greater Wellington has in place?
All existing Regional Plans and the rules contained within them will remain in place and operative until the new regional plan is completed and endorsed by the Wellington Regional Council.
The plan identifies a number of significant sites. What are these and what do they mean?
Sites of significance have been identified for the following types of values:
· historic heritage
· mana whenua
· indigenous biodiversity - including fish, birds, ecosystems, and habitats
· drinking water supplyThe draft plan only schedules significant sites in the coastal marine area, the beds lakes and rivers, and wetlands; places on land are managed by District Plans. Most activities in these areas already require resource consent, in significant sites the rules are slightly different. This does not affect any existing resource consents. The changes will also not give public access to the site
What is Te Upoko Taiao – Natural Resource Management Committee?
The Wellington Regional Council established Te Upoko Taiao – Natural Resource Management Committee to oversee the development of the new regional plan. The Committee comprises seven appointed members from our seven iwi across the region and seven elected councillors, and builds on the Charter of Understanding the Council signed with regional iwi 15 years ago and the positive relationship the council has with regional iwi.