Verdict on regional policy due soon


The three commissioners who recently spent five weeks hearing hundreds of submissions on the proposed Northland Regional Policy Statement are expected to deliver their recommendations within the next two months.

Several years in the making, the Northland Regional Council's RPS identifies the significant resource management issues for the region and sets out how resources such as land, water, soil, minerals, plants, animals and structures will be managed.

It attracted about 1000 submissions and several hundred submitters outlined their thoughts and concerns to the commissioners at public hearings in Whangarei, Moerewa, Kaitaia and Kerikeri.

Regional council policy specialist Ben Lee said common submission themes included genetic engineering, mining and the mapping process identifying the region's outstanding natural areas and coastal land.

The hearings ended on July 1 and the independent commissioners are currently wading through the huge amounts of information they've received.

"At this stage, it's expected their recommendations will be ready to be formally presented to councillors for their consideration and adoption at a public council meeting in September," Mr Lee said.

The commissioners and council were grateful for the considerable time and effort submitters had put into the process, he said. "They've made an invaluable contribution to an important plan which will impact on the future management of Northland's resources."

While the Proposed RPS doesn't set rules, it does filter down into district and regional plans which contain the rules around how people, businesses and industry use Northland's resources.

Once the RPS is formally adopted by the regional council, submitters will have 30 working days to appeal any aspects they are unhappy with to the Environment Court.

Background information about the proposed RPS is available from the council's website at www.nrc.govt.nz/newRPS

- NORTHERN ADVOCATE

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