Boaties, marine industry urged to provide feedback
Feedback is being sought on possible new rules to prevent the spread of marine pests, how to foot the bill for marine biosecurity, and updates to Northland’s harbour safety rules.
Those issues are central to three important regional council documents, all of which will potentially impact on boaties and the marine industry in particular.
Until April 21 Northland Regional Council (NRC) will be seeking feedback on (1) annual activities and budgets (via its Annual Plan and Charging Policy), (2) How pests are managed (through its Northland Regional Pest and Marine Pathway Management Plan), and (3) Rules for keeping people safe on the water (via its Navigation Safety Bylaw).
“We’ve rolled all three into a single feedback process to make it easier for submitters to have their say and strongly urge as many people as possible to take the opportunity to familiarise themselves with – and provide feedback on – these and other issues that may affect them,” says NRC chairman Bill Shepherd.
All three documents contain changes that are likely to be of specific interest to boaties and the marine industry – the biggest suggested change to council’s existing pest plan is the addition of a Marine Pathway Plan, which has rules limiting hull fouling when vessels move to a new harbour or offshore island.
Implementation of the pathways plan would be done largely via the council’s existing marine biosecurity hull-checks programme.
Chairman Shepherd says the council’s wider programme to stop the spread of marine pests has expanded rapidly over the last five years and it’s now weighing up the fairest way to pay for this.
“The reality is that movement of hull-fouled boats is the main way marine pests are spread, so boats are the core focus of our marine biosecurity work. We’re seriously considering whether a boat-focussed, user-pays type charge might be a fairer option to pay for it.”
While it has served the region well over the past five years, Mr Shepherd says the council’s Navigation Safety Bylaw also needs to be updated, partially to ensure better alignment with rules in place in the north’s nearest neighbour, Auckland.
n All relevant documents and a comprehensive range of supporting information are available on the council’s website nrc.govt.nz/haveyoursay.