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Mon September 24 2018

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New Zealand coastal policy helps protection of surf sites

7 Feb Local authorities in New Zealand are now paying more attention to protecting popular surfing locations according to a new analysis of how policy is being implemented.

The review released by conservation minister Eugenie Sage shows that the country’s major ‘surf breaks’ and the impacts of vehicles on beaches are receiving more attention because of the New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement 2010 (NZCPS). The NZCPS states policies to promote sustainable management on a range of issues, including preservation of natural character, use and development, and coastal hazard risks.

“Surfers can be grateful that protecting surf breaks is now something that councils consider in preparing plans and when resource consents are sought for development work such as dredging,” said Sage.

Under the Resource Management Act, the NZCPS guides local authority management of the coastal environment, and council and Environment Court decision-making.

The Department of Conservation’s review of the NZCPS looked at how it has influenced decision making under the Act. The review identified the need for guidance to support the coastal hazard policies in the statement.

“This guidance has now been completed and along with the recently updated MFE guidance on coastal hazards and climate change will assist councils plan for storm events such as that experienced this week,” said Sage. ““I am pleased to see the NZCPS is making a difference and helping local authorities make better decisions and take a more strategic and integrated approach to coastal planning.”

She added that there is still a long way to go. “The review also found while some local authorities have embraced the NZCPS and made good progress, others had work to do.”

Other findings included:

  • Councils who resource and implement a strategic and integrated approach to managing their coastal areas are making better progress in using the NZCPS to achieve good coastal management
  • Lack of accepted and consistent methods has been a problem in mapping and risk assessment relating to natural character and outstanding natural landscapes.
  • Consistent ways of working and further implementation guidance are still needed for councils.


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