E-News: December 2015

E-News: December 2015

The Resource Legislation Amendment Bill

Beachlands

This is the long-awaited amendment to the Resource Management Act. It represents a significant victory for EDS and others who led the debate about the radical and environmentally damaging changes proposed earlier.

It provides 2 new tracks for plan-making including a collaborative one. It contains provisions for common templates and definitions and a new emphasis on plain language and accessible information. It has dropped the contentious changes proposed by the previous Minister and is much more moderate in tone and content.

There are also changes to the EEZ Act and other legislation with the express aim of greater consistency and reduced compliance costs.

EDS will be undertaking a detailed analysis of this lengthy Bill and will be posting that analysis on our website in the New Year as a guide for submitters. We expect that there will still be content that will be concerning and content that can be supported. We also consider that there are issues that the Bill hasn’t addressed that it could, including the gap between plans and the apparent discretion to effectively ignore them under section 104 consents.

Submissions on the Bill are expected to close in March 2016.

Collaboration

Braided river

The latest report from the Land and Water Forum has been sent to Ministers. We await their response. The Forum made it clear to Ministers that we were concerned at the slowness of implementation of our recommendations.

Next year includes the review of the all-important National Policy Statement on Freshwater Management 2014, including the National Objectives Framework. The Forum has agreed that we need freshwater limits – the next thing is to reach agreement on what they should be. This will involve consideration of nitrogen, sediment, ecological health and human contact with freshwater.

Collaboration is not easy but the reality is that the Land and Water Forum has made more progress on freshwater reform than any other initiative. EDS continues to strongly support the Forum and will be working hard to get acceptable limits agreed next year.

Pathways

Pathways to Prosperity

EDS has been working on a significant follow-up publication to Vanishing Nature. It is a report called Pathways to prosperity: safeguarding biodiversity in development and is aimed at policy makers, legal, planning and ecology professionals, and resource users dealing with this complex interface.

Getting good outcomes for nature in a development context is often a challenge, and we need to draw on a full range of tools to achieve this. This report recommends a range of improvements and innovations.

This project has been generously supported by the New Zealand Law Foundation, the Department of Conservation, the Ministry for Primary Industries and the T-Gear Charitable Trust. A presale offer is available for $15 plus p&p (RRP $19.95) if you order before Christmas. The report will be available early in the New Year and mailed as soon as it returns from the printers. To order, visit EDS's online bookshop or email Fiona.

International Marine Spatial Planning Symposium in Rhode Island

There is a wealth of learning to be gained from experiences overseas, particularly in the field of marine spatial planning. Many jurisdictions in Northern America and Europe are well ahead of New Zealand in applying spatial planning to their marine areas.

In October, EDS Policy Director Raewyn Peart attended an invitation-only Marine Spatial Planning Symposium in Rhode Island, USA where the practical lessons from practitioners in other countries were shared. Raewyn found it to be an enormously useful gathering, due to the calibre of people attending, and the workshop format where specific challenges in applying marine spatial planning were discussed in depth.

On her return, Raewyn gave a presentation on the lessons from the Symposium to the Seachange Tai Timu Tai Pari Stakeholder Working Group in order to inform that process. What became apparent from the Symposium is that the Hauraki Gulf project is ahead of many others in a number of respects, including through taking a catchment-to-the-sea approach, incorporating a strong ecosystem focus and integrating mātauranga Māori.

EDS would like to thank the Hauraki Gulf Forum for supporting Raewyn’s attendance at the Symposium.

Over summer give a thought for the marine environment

Islington Bay, Rangitoto Island

It’s summer again and a time when many of you will be able to enjoy New Zealand’s fantastic marine environment. When you do, please give some thought to how we might better look after it.

2016 is shaping up to be an important year for marine conservation. The Hauraki Gulf marine spatial planning project – Seachange Tai Timu Tai Pari – should be delivering New Zealand’s first marine spatial plan later in the year.

Soon we should also see the long-awaited Government discussion document on marine protected areas. EDS has previously looked at how to strengthen New Zealand’s marine protection in Safeguarding Our Oceans. We are hopeful that the new proposals will address some of our key recommendations including that the legislation should extend to encompass the Exclusive Economic Zone, provide for a range of protected area categories and set out an independent decision-making process.

Fisheries management will also be a hot topic in 2016 with the Quota Management System reaching its 30-year anniversary and the Ministry for Primary Industries consulting on a review. EDS will be undertaking our own work, focused on evaluating how our fisheries management system is operating. Our research will initially focus on the Auckland region, but we are currently seeking funding to expand this to the rest of New Zealand’s marine realm.

Climate Change and Business Conference

Minister Simon Bridges addresses the conference

EDS successfully hosted the Australia-New Zealand Climate Change and Business Conference in October. This event targeted a business and local government audience. It was noteworthy how far the business sector has come in recent years in taking climate change seriously, both the need for mitigation and for improved adaptation procedures: the atmosphere was very much one of “let’s get on with it.”

There was broad consensus about the need for a Climate Forum. This would bring together all the key players to chart a pathway towards a low or no carbon future. It would bring together the disparate mini-forums that have working on particular issues into a cohesive entity that would interact directly with Government at a senior level.

The Climate Forum concept was supported by Ministers Tim Groser and Simon Bridges and is now the subject of discussions between stakeholders.

Christmas gifts

EDS has a wide range of quality books and reports that will make perfect gifts for friends interested in the environment. If you’re a member of EDS, you also get a 20% discount on all publications. Gift a membership or a publication to friends and family this year and support us at the same time! 

Purchase an EDS publication....

Join EDS....

Donate to EDS....

There’s something about Marie

EDS’s Senior Policy Analyst, Dr Marie Brown, is moving to Wellington in the New Year bringing a small but powerful presence to the Capital. EDS’s main office will remain in Auckland.

Last updated at 10:33AM on August 8, 2016