EDS Latest News - December 2018
In this last communication from EDS for the year, we update some recent developments and look forward to what we have ahead in 2019. But the main message we’d like to convey to our supporters and those with an interest in our work is our best wishes for a safe and relaxing summer holiday! This is a time when we can all relax and enjoy the fruits of our labour by swimming on New Zealand’s beaches, walking on our forest tracks and enjoying the fabulous High Country landscapes. Environmental advocacy can be very rewarding especially when you have some wins. So thanks to everyone who has worked for the environment during 2018!
Te Mata settles
EDS has agreed to withdraw its High Court proceedings against Hastings District Council and Craggy Range Vineyards now that council has undertaken to remove the track up the side of Te Mata Peak. The council conceded that it made errors in not publicly notifying the resource consent and in granting approval for the track without engaging with mana whenua. So this has been a positive outcome from an unfortunate saga and we expect that now the future of Te Mata peak will be the subject of a proper process of consultation with the local community.
Progress at last with Sea Change Tai Timu Tai Pari
Last month, the Ministers of Conservation and Fisheries announced their intention to establish a Ministerial Advisory Committee to assist with the implementation of the marine spatial plan for the Hauraki Gulf. This is a significant development and will build on the efforts of iwi, councils and local communities to progress the restoration of the Hauraki Gulf. Many people devoted an enormous amount of effort to developing the plan so it’s fitting that these efforts are now being recognised. The Committee will hopefully provide the leadership that has been lacking to date to implement the plan as an integrated package.
The end of the year will see our inhouse lawyer Madeleine Wright leave us after 4 years in the job to further her legal career. She has made a massive contribution to our work, running the litigation programme and designing the programme for the Australia – New Zealand Climate Change and Business Conference. We wish her well for her future and thank her for all the wisdom, energy and, well, happiness she has brought to our team. Madeleine will be contracted back during 2019 to work with our General Manager, Fiona Driver, on the climate change conference.
We can also welcome a new addition to our staff. Cordelia Woodhouse has been employed as a law graduate to manage the litigation programme. Cordelia has recently finished her Bachelor of Laws at Victoria University of Wellington. This degree built on her previous science degree which she completed in 2015. The combination of these two degrees has given her a good perspective on the intersection of science and law and has fuelled her interest in environmental law. She enjoys running and walking, or generally being out in nature.
RM1 complete and launch early 2019
EDS’s 18-month first phase review of New Zealand’s resource management system is now complete. This has examined the system from first principles and has identified 3 broad reform options. A preferred option will be identified and designed in the next phase during calendar 2019. This work is being supported by the NZ Law Foundation and business partners including EMA (Northern), Infrastructure NZ and Property Council NZ. Three working papers have already been produced and are available on our website. The final synthesis report from phase 1 will be launched in February 2019.
NES PF review
EDS and Forest & Bird are jointly working up a review of the National Environmental Standard on Plantation Forestry ahead of the formal Government process scheduled for May next year. There are clearly major problems with the adverse environmental effects of exotic forestry operations and the way clear-felling of vast tracts of land can generate massive quantities of sediment and slash. We need to get the right tree in the right place not just with the Billion Trees project but with existing plantations as they cycle through harvests. This joint project will produce an online report early next year which we expect will help inform the Government’s review and bring forestry into the 21st century.
And next year…
Well, it will be very busy for EDS! This is the middle year in the Parliamentary term in which stuff happens. We are engaged in review panels on freshwater, high country, biodiversity, one yet to be announced and some others potentially to come. Our two major projects for the year are Resource Management System Reform (in which we will identify a preferred option for overarching reform) and a review of New Zealand’s approach to managing landscapes. The EDS Conference in August will focus on landscape protection and there’ll be a Climate Change and Business Conference in October. EDS will also be taking a close look at how we can improve environmental outcomes in the forestry and fisheries sectors.
Have you considered supporting EDS with a donation or leaving a bequest in your will? There are many ways you can support our work. Visit the Donations page on our website for further information on one-off donations, regular monthly donations, payroll giving, bequests and membership. Help us protect the environment, our special landscapes and the places that are important to us all. SUPPORT EDS.