Charlotte Drury, View Consult, Consultant Planner on behalf of Horticulture New Zealand
Exposure drafts on several national planning documents have recently been released – changes to the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management, the Resource Management (National Environmental Standards for Freshwater) Regulations, as well as an exposure draft of the National Policy Statement for Indigenous Biodiversity (we don’t currently have one of these – this will be the first). HortNZ is looking at and will be preparing submissions on all of these. If anyone has a chance to look at them (they are all available on the Ministry for the Environment Website) and has any comments, please feel free to contact me.
Hawke’s Bay Updates
We are still waiting on this decision (we had expected it by the end of May). Obviously it has been delayed but the regional council has not yet advised when it can be expected.
Central Hawke’s Bay District Plan Hearings
HortNZ is attending the hearings on rural topics (Wednesday and Thursday 15 & 16 June). Generally HortNZ felt the councils recommendations were pretty good and provide a pretty good policy framework that supports primary production. The main changes the horticulture sector are still seeking, relate to aligning the permitted activity threshold for seasonal worker accommodation with the Hastings Plan (which it almost is but not quite), making sure there are sensible rules relating to agricultural aviation movements/noise standards, and clarification of the standards relating to shading/effects management from continuous tree planting (i.e shelterbelts).
Kotahi (whole of region plan change)
The Council has started work on Kotahi which is a region wide plan change and is going to look at the air quality rules (amongst other things). The outdoor burning rules are going to be reviewed (the national standards for air quality are also in the process of being reviewed) and Plant and Food have been engaged by the Council to do some work around what might be viable alternatives for outdoor burning – which orchardists are still allowed to do as part of orchard redevelopment work, and for biosecurity purposes. HortNZ have requested to review a copy of the report that Plant and Food produce, because they are aware that it is critically important that any alternatives to outdoor burning are financially viable, and also really practical. We understand the report is to be delivered within the next month or so.
Water Conservation Order (WCO)
Still awaiting the decision (requests to the Environment Court for an indication of when it might be released have been politely declined).
Plan Change 7 – Outstanding Water Bodies
This is still in mediation and a date for a further mediation meeting is trying to be arranged. It seems likely that at least some issues will need to be decided on by the Environment Court, some matters have been resolved at mediation though which is positive.
If you have any RMA questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me directly via email at Charlotte.Drury@hortnz.co.nz or on 027 3225595.