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Ten weeks to have say on Proposed Regional Plan



Public comment is being sought for an updated rulebook on how Northland’s water, air, soil and coast are used and managed. An extended ten-week public consultation period began on Wednesday September 6.

Northland Regional Council Chairman Bill Shepherd says the plan will replace the council’s three existing regional plans, which are now over a decade old.

“It’s not an understatement to label it as one of – if not the – most important documents council has consulted on for many years,” he says, noting that the council has streamlined the plan to make it easier to use.

The plan has taken three years to create and represents substantial input by numerous stakeholders. The first draft was released last year.

“The feedback we received from nearly 300 people and organisations as part of its road test really helped us refine what the plan is today.”

Councillor Joce Yeoman, who chaired the council’s Regional Plan Working Party, says the plan covers a broad range of activities, including proposed rules for coastal works, earthworks, water use and discharges to air, land and water.

“Among key changes in the proposed plan are new limits on taking water from rivers, lakes and aquifers, making it easier to get permission for mangrove removal, and new stock exclusion rules for rivers, drains, wetlands and lakes.”

In a new approach to fresh water management, the Proposed Regional Plan features tailor-made rules for five priority water catchments; Doubtless Bay, Pouto, Waitangi, Whangarei and Mangere.

The council is keen to make sure people have plenty of time to digest its detail and formulate their feedback.

Submissions can be made until 4pm, Wednesday November 15.

n The full proposed regional plan as well as background reports and technical documents can be viewed online at www.nrc.govt.nz/newregionalplan. Plans for the five priority water catchment areas are available at www.nrc.govt.nz/catchmentplans.

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