I hereby give notice that an ordinary meeting of the Rural Advisory Panel will be held on:
Friday 31 January 2014
Rural Advisory Panel
Attachments Under Separate Cover
ITEM TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
5 The role of the Rural Advisory Panel and the aspirations for the next three years
7 Key topics
31 January 2014
TERMS OF REFERENCE 2013 – 2016 TERM
· To identify and communicate to the Council the interest and preferences of the rural based industries and rural communities of Auckland in relation to:
- the content of the strategies, policies, plans, and bylaws of the Council, and
- any matter that the Panel considers to be of particular intest or concern to the rural based industries and rural communities of Auckland.
· To advise the Mayor and the Council’s Governing Body and local boards, of the Council processes and mechanisms for engagement with the rural based industries and communities in Auckland.
· To deliver recommendations for accelerating the social, economic, environmental and cultural performance of the rural part of the Auckland Council region.
To provide a forum for consideration of issues affecting the rural part of the Auckland Council area and recommendations to Council including (but not limited to):
· Driving economic growth
· Food and fibre production and associated food and beverage processing (value adding) and equine based activities
· Research and development support
· Environmental resource issues including quarrying and aggregate production
· Ecological, landscape and coastal values
· Service delivery
· Rural infrastructure, including transport
· Amenities and open space
The Advisory Panel will be a two tier structure representing rural based industries and communities, meeting on a monthly basis under the Chair, Auckland Councillor Bill Cashmore. A wider second tier Rural Industry Group will meet three times a year (once every four months).
The Advisory Panel is intended to work with the Rural Industry Group to develop recommendations regarding the rural economic sectors and rural based industries and communities relating to the planning, policy, regulatory and compliance, bylaws, rating, infrastructure requirements, etc.
The wider rural community will be represented by rural councillors and members of rural local boards.
Membership of the Advisory Panel has been determined by the Mayor’s office, in consultation with rural councillors and members of the Rural Industry Group and has sought to achieve a degree of spread of members from both north and south of the Auckland urban area.
The priorities for the Panel in this term will include:
· Monitoring of Unitary Plan progress
· Rural Land & Water Forum
· Water policies for Franklin and Rodney’s productive growing industries
· Growth of the equestrian economy
· Partnerships and expansion in the rural economy
· Input from a rural perspective into the Long Term Plan.
5. OFFICER SUPPORT
Auckland Council staff are responsible for:
· Administrative support for the Group, including organising meetings, setting agendas, and the drafting and distribution of minutes
· Development of the work programme and provision of technical advice on identified topics
· Response to requests generated
· Assistance with other reporting requirements as they arise.
6. MEETING LOGISTICS
· Chair – Auckland Council – Bill Cashmore
· Rural Advisory Panel meets monthly
· Initial meeting at Auckland Council offices
· Venues determined by meeting agenda topics
· Rural Industry Group meets three times yearly.
31 January 2014
To: Rural Advisory Panel members
From: Roger Bannister, Team Leader Water Management Policy
Subject: Submission to the Ministry for the Environment discussion document Proposed amendments to the National Policy Statement Freshwater Management (2011)
The purpose of this memo is to:
1. inform Rural Advisory Panel members of the proposed amendments to the NPSFM
2. provide an opportunity to discuss Council’s submission in response to the proposed amendments.
In 2011, the Government released the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management (NPSFM) that requires councils to manage water in an integrated and sustainable way, while providing for economic growth within set water quantity and quality limits. Under the NPSFM, the overall quality of freshwater within a region must be maintained or improved while protecting the quality of outstanding freshwater bodies and protecting the significant values of wetlands. To achieve this councils are required to work with their communities, stakeholders and Mana Whenua to identify values, establish freshwater objectives, set freshwater quality limits for all bodies of freshwater, set environmental flows and/or levels for all bodies of freshwater, and establish allocation regimes for the use of the water. At the time, it was acknowledged that more direction and guidance would be needed to help councils implement the NPSFM.
In March 2013 the Government released the document Freshwater reform 2013 and beyond (Reform Document). It outlined the Government’s proposals for wide-ranging, staggered and long-term improvements to how freshwater is managed in New Zealand. This document covered three key areas of proposed reform: planning as a community; establishing a national objectives framework; and managing within quantity and quality limits.
Auckland Council made a submission to the document Freshwater reform 2013 and beyond. In that submission Council:
· generally supported freshwater accounting systems provided that they were flexible enough to accommodate regional and local requirements without imposing unnecessary costs.
· generally supported the concept of a National Objective Framework and requested involvement in the development of the framework to ensure it was workable and suitable for regional decision making, values and environments
· agreed in part that iwi/ Māori interests and values are not always fully considered in planning and resource management decision-making.
Proposed amendments to the NPSFM
On 7 November 2013 the Government announced the next step in its process of freshwater management reform through the release of Proposed amendments to the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2011 (Discussion Document). The Discussion Document advances some of the elements of the reform package set out in earlier, high-level Freshwater reform 2013 and beyond. The proposed amendments in the Discussion Document include seven proposals for amendments to the NPSFM. They are summarised as follows:
1. Accounting for quality & quantity. Amendments to require council to:
· establish and operate water quality and quantity accounting systems
· update quality information every five years
· update quantity information annually
· ensure accounting information is available for limits setting and resource allocation
· under take accounting with a two year phase in period.
2. National Objectives Framework. Framework provides council and communities with:
· a set of freshwater values and uses to choose from, reflecting what is important to them
· a list of attributes that affect water quality
· a range of numbers that represent different ‘states’ it can be managed for
· four states A-D, of descending quality
· a process for setting objectives at the chosen attribute states to provide for identified values.
3. Compulsory values:
· ecosystem health and human health (secondary contact recreation) are proposed as compulsory national values
· each has a set of attributes that must be managed.
4. National bottom lines:
· national bottom lines are proposed for each attribute of the compulsory values
· they set a minimum level at which the compulsory values are provided for.
5. Exceptions to bottom lines. In narrowly defined situations:
· natural processes affect the condition
· historical activities have caused lasting impacts that cannot be reversed, even in the long term
· significant existing infrastructure affects the waterbody.
· In these situations objectives may need to be set below bottom lines.
6. Tāngata whenua values. Amendments to more clearly articulate tāngata whenua values for freshwater, Te Mana o te Wai:
· expanding preamble
· adding Te Mana o te Wai as a national value
· potentially adding Te Mana o te Wai to NPSFM Objectives.
7. Monitoring. Proposed amendments to require council to:
· identify a range of representative sites to monitor progress towards / achievement of freshwater objectives
· monitor these sites for changes in long-term trends.
Submissions close to the Discussion Document on 4th February 2014. Council intends to make a submission.
Indicative policy direction
The indicative policy direction is general support of the proposed amendments in principle. The proposed amendments will help Auckland Council to implement the NPSFM.
A major omission in the Discussion Document is that urban freshwater issues are not well recognised or addressed by the proposed amendments to the NPSFM. Preliminary analysis of available monitoring data has been undertaken to identify monitoring locations in Auckland that currently breach one or more of the proposed NOF bottom lines. This showed two clusters of sites; one in parts of the rural Franklin area and another in the Auckland urban area. It is clear that existing urbanisation has resulted in failures of the proposed national bottom lines. This correlates to international evidence that increased impervious areas result in degraded aquatic environments. This creates two issues; a legacy one in relation to managing these existing areas relative to the NOF. Secondly it creates a challenge relating to the continued growth of Auckland. How can Auckland continue to grow without resulting in additional failures of the proposed national bottom lines?
The second area where it appears Auckland will not meet the bottom lines is around high intensity horticultural activity. There is a challenge of setting targets to improve the standards and raise the water quality above bottom lines. This is likely to be a long term initiative.
1. Accounting for water quality and quantity. There is support for better systems for collecting and collating good information on water takes and sources of relevant contaminants. There is a need for guidance to be produced on freshwater accounting systems, particularly for water quality.
2. National Objectives Framework. There is support for a national set of values, to assist in the overall implementation process and reduce duplication between regions. Additional values could be added, including: sensitive coastal receiving environments, urban stormwater conveyance and municipal supply. The states for those attributes currently proposed seem appropriate and are based on existing science. The NOF does not currently include an attribute for the ecological health of a water body (such as a macro-invertebrate community indices) or sediment. The inclusion of these important attributes in the NOF as soon as possible would be highly desirable.
3. Compulsory national values. There is support for the inclusion of ecosystem health and human health (secondary contact). No additional compulsory values are needed at this stage.
4. National bottom lines. There is support for the inclusion of numeric bottom lines associated with values.
5. Exceptions to national bottom lines. There is support for the inclusion of exceptions. The status of Auckland’s combined stormwater and wastewater networks under the proposed exceptions policy is unclear. Clarification of the interpretation of “historical activities”, “reasonably practical” in terms of reversing impacts and “significant existing infrastructure” is required to address this.
6. Articulating tāngata whenua values. There is support for the increased recognition of tāngata whenua values through the inclusion of Te Mana o te Wai.
7. Monitoring. There is support for the requirement to monitor policy outcomes to demonstrate measurable improvements.
Additional comments. There is support for linkages between land, fresh water and coastal water being explicitly recognised as proposed in the Discussion Document proposed amendments to policies A1, B1 and C2.
Individual members or organisation on RAP are welcome to make their own submission to Ministry for the Environment. Any comments from members of the panel will be considered as part of the Auckland Council submission.