As we welcome the end of the season and the gradual movement out of lockdown, the impact on seasonal workers has been noticeable. Workers unable to travel home due to border closures, have shifted into other sectors and other regions, learning new skills until such time the borders are relaxed and travel is imminent.
At the start of the month , HBRC publicly notified the proposed TANK Plan Change. which is now open for public submissions. This extremely important plan proposes new allocation limits for ground and surface water. Horticulture NZ and HBFA are working together on the plan change. Submissions close 5pm July 3rd and we strongly encourage you to put forward a submission by visiting the HBRC website: TANK Plan submission
HBFA has been active in the Plan Change (Variation 7) to the Seasonal Workers Accommodation. RSE employers are being actively encouraged to move workers out of urban accommodation, and variation 7 has been created to assist with more options for accommodation sites. HDC have now released their decision following the hearing and the changes are summarised below.
Later this year the government is set to release the National Environmental Standards for Highly Productive land. It is hoped that this will give better protection for food producing land in New Zealand. We anticipate more activity around the proposed Karamu Masterplan later in the year.
Seasonal Worker Accommodation
HBFA made a submission to Variation 7 of the Hastings District plan regarding seasonal worker accommodation. In general, it will be possible to create RSE accommodation facilities in most of Hastings Industrial areas except for Whakatu, Tomoana and the Tomoana food hub areas. Plains zone limitation have changed with the ability to apply to accommodate up to 80 RSE workers on sites greater than 12ha.
There have been some wins and some losses for industry with both HBFA and Horticulture NZ submitting but overall the outcome is pretty good for industry and good recognition from Hastings District Council of the importance of the fruit industry and its people to the districts economy. To read the Hearing Committees Recommendations visit HDC Hearing Outcome
Regional Industrial Land Strategy (RILS)
HBFA has been involved in initial consultation on the Industrial Land Strategy document drafted for the Napier and Hastings urban areas. The objective of this strategy is to recommend a plan that will accommodate industrial development over the next 30 years, but with land demand projections focused on the next 10 year period for the Hastings District and Napier City local authority areas.
The strategy will provide guidance to Napier City Council in its district plan review and to Hastings District Council for future plan changes involving industrial land.
HBFA requested consideration on:
- Provisions for RSE accommodation in the Hastings Central commercial zone
- Ensuring the uptake of land in Omahu and Irongate does not significantly impact on land resources for industrial activities to establish
- Concerns regarding issues with access to Napier Port in the wider Hawkes Bay network
- Reminding the planners that the new National Policy Statement on Highly Productive Land (NPS-HPL) is currently under development and may come into effect later in 2020. Should this happen, any re-zoning of the versatile land in the Tomoana area would be required to ‘give effect to’ that National Policy Statement.