I hereby give notice that an ordinary meeting of the Planning, Environment and Parks Committee will be held on:

 

Date:

Time:

Meeting Room:

Venue:

 

Thursday, 2 November 2023

10.00am

Reception Lounge
Auckland Town Hall
301-305 Queen Street
Auckland

 

Komiti mō te Whakarite Mahere, te Taiao, me ngā Papa Rēhia / Planning, Environment and Parks Committee

 

OPEN AGENDA

 

 

MEMBERSHIP

 

Chairperson

Cr Richard Hills

 

Deputy Chairperson

Cr Angela Dalton

 

Members

IMSB Member Edward Ashby

Cr Mike Lee

 

Cr Andrew Baker

Cr Kerrin Leoni

 

Cr Josephine Bartley

Cr Daniel Newman, JP

 

Mayor Wayne Brown

Cr Greg Sayers

 

Cr Chris Darby

Deputy Mayor Desley Simpson, JP

 

Cr Julie Fairey

Cr Sharon Stewart, QSM

 

Cr Alf Filipaina, MNZM

Cr Ken Turner

 

Cr Christine Fletcher, QSO

Cr Wayne Walker

 

Cr Lotu Fuli

Cr John Watson

 

IMSB Member Hon Tau Henare

Cr Maurice Williamson

 

Cr Shane Henderson

 

 

(Quorum 11 members)

 

 

 

Sandra Gordon

Kaitohutohu Mana Whakahaere Matua / Senior Governance Advisor

 

30 October 2023

 

Contact Telephone: +64 9 890 8150

Email: Sandra.Gordon@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz

Website: www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz

 


Planning, Environment and Parks Committee

02 November 2023

A close up of a logo

Description automatically generated

 

ITEM   TABLE OF CONTENTS            PAGE

1          Ngā Tamōtanga | Apologies                                                   5

2          Te Whakapuaki i te Whai Pānga | Declaration of Interest                                                               5

3          Te Whakaū i ngā Āmiki | Confirmation of Minutes              5

4          Ngā Petihana | Petitions                                       5  

5          Ngā Kōrero a te Marea | Public Input                 5

6          Ngā Kōrero a te Poari ā-Rohe Pātata | Local Board Input                                                            5

6.1     Local Board Input:  Aotea/Great Barrier Local Board - Tu Mai Tonga                       5

7          Ngā Pakihi Autaia | Extraordinary Business     5

8          Adoption of the Future Development Strategy 7

9          Auckland Unitary Plan - Making Plan Change 60 - Open Space and Other Rezoning Matters (2020) Fully Operative                                        21

10        Auckland Council submission on potential changes to the National Policy Statement for Highly Productive Land                                     27

11        Auckland Council submission on the proposed National Policy Statement for Natural Hazard Decision-making 2023                                        35

12        Hauraki Gulf / Tikapa Moana Marine Protection Bill - Auckland Council's submission to Parliament's Select Committee                         41

13        Bottom Fishing Access Zones - central government discussion document                   49

14        Natural environment and water quality targeted rates annual report 2022/2023                           55

15        Summary of Planning, Environment and Parks Committee information memoranda, workshops and briefings (including the Forward Work Programme) - 2 November 2023                                                                              63

16        Te Whakaaro ki ngā Take Pūtea e Autaia ana | Consideration of Extraordinary Items

PUBLIC EXCLUDED

17        Te Mōtini ā-Tukanga hei Kaupare i te Marea | Procedural Motion to Exclude the Public                                               67

C1       CONFIDENTIAL: Auckland Unitary Plan - Proposed Plan Change 78 - Intensification. Submissions on city centre zone and precincts (Covering report)                                                67


1          Ngā Tamōtanga | Apologies

 

 

2          Te Whakapuaki i te Whai Pānga | Declaration of Interest

 

 

3          Te Whakaū i ngā Āmiki | Confirmation of Minutes

 

Click the meeting date below to access the minutes.

 

That the Planning, Environment and Parks Committee:

a)          whakaū / confirm the ordinary minutes of its meeting, held on Thursday, 5 October 2023, including the confidential section, as a true and correct record.

 

 

4          Ngā Petihana | Petitions

 

 

5          Ngā Kōrero a te Marea | Public Input

 

 

6          Ngā Kōrero a te Poari ā-Rohe Pātata | Local Board Input

 

6.1       Local Board Input:  Aotea/Great Barrier Local Board - Tu Mai Tonga

Te take mō te pūrongo

Purpose of the report

1.       Aotea/Great Barrier Local Board chair, Izzy Fordham will address the committee regarding the board’s Tu Mai Taonga project.

Whakarāpopototanga matua

Executive summary

2.       Aotea/Great Barrier Local Board chair, Izzy Fordham will speak to the committee regarding the board’s Tu Mai Taonga project.

3.        Tu Mai Taonga is an iwi-led conservation project to remove feral cats and rats from Aotea / Great Barrier Island. The project has funding from Jobs for Nature, Predator Free 2050 and Auckland Council.

4.       Makere Jenner, project lead and Chris Giblin, operations manager - Tu Mai Taonga will also attend.

5.       A presentation from Tu Mai Taonga is attached.

Ngā tūtohunga

Recommendation/s

That the Planning, Environment and Parks Committee:

a)      whiwhi / receive the Aotea/Great Barrier Local input regarding the board’s Tu Mai Taonga project

b)      whakamihi / thank Aotea/Great Barrier Local Board chair Izzy Fordham and representatives of Tu Mai Tonga for attending.

 

 

7          Ngā Pakihi Autaia | Extraordinary Business

 

 


Planning, Environment and Parks Committee

02 November 2023

 

Adoption of the Future Development Strategy

File No.: CP2023/15330

 

  

 

Te take mō te pūrongo

Purpose of the report

1.       To seek adoption of Auckland Council‘s Future Development Strategy as required under the National Policy Statement on Urban Development 2020.

Whakarāpopototanga matua

Executive summary

2.       Auckland Council is required to update the Future Development Strategy (FDS) under the National Policy Statement on Urban Development (NPS-UD).

3.       The purpose of the FDS is to provide the basis for strategic and long-term planning of growth and development in Auckland. It should inform the integration of land use planning with infrastructure planning and funding decisions. Importantly, it informs the preparation of the Long-term Plan 2024-2034. 

4.       The PEP Committee approved the draft strategy for consultation on 4 May 2023 (resolution number PEPCC/2023/62).

5.       Public consultation, under the Special Consultative Procedure, took place from 6 June to 31 July 2023.

6.       10,084 submissions were received during the consultation feedback.

7.       The Future Development Strategy largely follows the quality compact approach Auckland Council has been pursuing since the first Auckland Plan, and the approach in the current Development Strategy. It mostly contains refinement of concepts and approaches in recognition of known problems related to Auckland‘s growth and development.

8.       However, the strategy proposed for adoption has two major changes from previous strategies:

i.    A much stronger focus on adaptation, particularly in relation to flooding hazards and the protection of life and property.

ii.   A greater recognition of the financial challenges facing Auckland Council and ratepayers, giving the development sector clear signals about these constraints and when council is likely to be able to invest in infrastructure and services in respective areas, particularly in greenfield bulk infrastructure. The aim is to give the sector as much certainty as possible for their own planning, but also a ‘pathway’ for development that wishes to proceed earlier.

9.       The majority of submissions support the approach in the draft strategy, and in some cases requested the council to go further on matters such as climate change and its impacts, or development needing to pay the costs it generates. There was also feedback that raised disagreement with the draft strategy, concerns or suggested changes.  These were predominantly from the development sector and were sizeable submissions.

10.     Numerous, and in some cases, substantial changes are proposed in response to this feedback.

11.     The NPS-UD requires that a comprehensive implementation plan be prepared to support the FDS. This will be developed after the strategy is adopted. It will provide more detail on the scope of the actions described in the strategy and ascribe roles, responsibilities and indicative timeframes.

 

Ngā tūtohunga

Recommendation/s

That the Planning, Environment and Parks Committee:

a)      whai / adopt the Future Development Strategy (Attachment A of the agenda report)

b)      tuhi ā-taipitopito / note the extent of change from the draft Future Development Strategy in response to public submissions.

c)       tuhi ā-taipitopito / note that once published, the Future Development Strategy replaces the current Development Strategy (2018) and the Future Urban Land Supply Strategy (2017) and will be considered part of the Auckland Plan 2050.

d)      tautapa / delegate authority to the Chair and Deputy Chair of the Planning, Environment and Parks Committee, and a member of the Independent Māori Statutory Board to make any final changes to the strategy before publication.

e)      whakarite / provide this report to all local boards, thanking them for their valuable input into the development of the draft plan and the formal feedback they provided to inform finalisation of the plan.

 

Horopaki

Context

12.     Auckland Council is required to update the FDS under the National Policy Statement on Urban Development (NPS-UD).

13.     The purpose of the FDS is to provide the basis for strategic and long-term planning of growth and development in Auckland. It should inform the integration of land use planning with infrastructure planning and funding decisions. Importantly, it informs the preparation of the Long-term Plan 2024-2034. 

14.     The FDS replaces the Development Strategy (2018) and the Future Urban Land Supply Strategy (2017) but remains part of the Auckland Plan 2050.

15.     The Planning, Environment and Parks Committee approved the draft strategy for consultation on 4 May 2023 (resolution number PEPCC/2023/62).

16.     Public consultation, under the Special Consultative Procedure, took place from 6 June to 31 July 2023.

17.     The draft strategy and supporting material were available on the AK Have Your Say webpage and in libraries and service centres. Supporting material included an overview document, evidence reports, and translated summary documents.

18.     The consultation included:

·    six ‘drop-in’ Have Your Say events at locations around Auckland

·    two events for organisations and special interest groups to provide feedback directly to elected members

·    three online public information sessions to answer questions about the strategy

·    numerous meetings or online briefings at the request of particular groups (e.g. HouGarden (a Chinese real estate online platform), residents groups in Papakura/Drury, developer organisations or their representatives etc.).

Tātaritanga me ngā tohutohu

Analysis and advice

Submissions overview

19.     10,083 submissions were received during the consultation period. Of these:

·    8,552 responses were from individuals

·    256 responses were from organisations, including eight Māori organisations

·    1,275 responses were from pro forma submissions

20.     The AK Have Your Say consultation web page asked for feedback on four key aspects of the strategy. The four questions formed the core of the proposal and were:

·    what do you think of our approach to focus most of Auckland’s growth in existing urban areas?

·    what do you think of our approach to focus development near local centres?

·    what do you think of our approach to avoid further growth in areas which are exposed to significant environmental hazards?

·    what do you think of our approach to prioritising nature-based infrastructure that responds to the impacts of climate change?

21.     The feedback form asked respondents to indicate support (agree, disagree, other, I don’t know) for each of the consultation questions as well as giving the opportunity to add freeform feedback and attach more detail.

22.     Staff analysed all comments and coded them into common themes. Some comments were coded against multiple themes.

23.     Some respondents chose to provide feedback in different formats that did not directly respond to the questions asked on AK Have Your Say. These responses were analysed and included into the common themes where relevant. Where respondents provided feedback on topics not directly related to the consultation questions, their feedback was considered separately.

24.     Following consultation, staff shared a summary of the key themes from the feedback in a memo to the PEP Committee on 17 August and shared all submissions on 31 August. PEP committee workshops were held on 23 August and 6 September, focusing on the feedback and proposed responses. Local board chairs were invited to these.

Public feedback

25.     Overall, the majority of submissions supported the approach for each of the questions asked. A more detailed report summarising the consultation feedback is available in Attachment B.

26.     Question 1 “What do you think of our approach to focus most of Auckland’s growth in existing urban area?” received the following high-level responses:

·    of the 8,466 individual responses, 66 per cent support the approach, 27 per cent did not support, and seven per cent provided another response.

·    of the 157 organisation responses, 37 per cent support, 41 per cent did not support, and 21 per cent provided another response.

·    of the five Māori entity responses, three did not support, and two provided another response. 

·    of the 1,274 pro forma campaign responses, one per cent support, 18 per cent did not support, and 81 per cent provided another response. Of the 81 per cent that provided another response, their feedback was predominantly that greenfield growth needed to be included in the proposal and that intensification should be limited to locations with sufficient infrastructure.

27.     Question 2 “What do you think of our approach to focus development near local centres?” received the following high-level responses:

·    of the 8,439 individual responses, 74 per cent support the approach, 19 per cent did not support it, and seven per cent provided another response.

·    of the 149 organisation responses, 48 per cent support, 23 per cent did not support, and 28 per cent provided another response.

·    of the five Māori entity responses, one support, one did not support, and three provided another response. 

·    of the 37 pro forma campaign responses, 10 support, 23 did not support, and four provided another response.

28.     Question 3 “What do you think of our approach to avoid further growth in areas which are exposed to significant risk of environmental hazards?” received the following high-level responses:

·    of the 7,136 individual responses, 80 per cent support the approach, 13 per cent did not support it, and eight per cent provided another response.

·    of the 150 organisation responses, 59 per cent support, 19 per cent did not support, and 22 per cent provided another response.

·    of the four Māori entity responses, one support, one did not support, and two provided another response. 

·    of the 37 pro forma campaign responses, 22 support, nine did not support, and six provided another response.

29.     Question 4 “What do you think of our approach to prioritising nature-based infrastructure that responds to the impacts of climate change?” received the following high-level responses:

·    of the 7,110 individual responses, 74 per cent support the approach, 14 per cent did not support it, and 12 per cent provided another response.

·    of the 153 organisation responses, 58 per cent support, 19 per cent did not support, and 23 per cent provided another response.

·    of the four Māori entity responses, one support, one did not support, and two provided another response. 

·    of the 37 pro forma campaign responses, 20 support, ten did not support, and seven provided another response. 

30.     Regardless of whether respondents agreed or disagreed with the approach, the key themes that came through relate to the provision of infrastructure:

·        transport infrastructure was mentioned most often, and in particular, the need for improvements in public transport to facilitate mobility in higher density areas.

·        significant concern about the capacity of water infrastructure, following the weather events of 2023.

·        infrastructure needs to come before housing, both within brownfield areas and if/when greenfield areas are developed.

·        urban amenities and social infrastructure such as parks, community facilities, and schools, were also highlighted as critical to supporting a good quality of life and a sense of community, and respondents saw a need for these to be delivered at the same time, if not before, new housing in an area (whether that was brownfield or greenfield).

31.     256 organisations provided feedback on the strategy. Many of these were from organisations associated with greenfield development. Key themes from organisational feedback included:

·    the need for a holistic approach that looks at all of the different factors involved in supporting Auckland’s growth such as transportation, education, public spaces and healthcare

·    concern that focusing growth in brownfields would put too much stress on current infrastructure and/or that current infrastructure needs to/will need to be improved and requires more investment

·    concern about process issues with the FDS, including the time available for consultation, the lack of an updated Housing and Business Assessment for them to review and insufficient engagement with the development sector in preparing the draft FDS

·    feedback about specific aspects of the FDS that relate to their business interests, in particular about changes to future urban areas such as concern about the timing / delay of future urban areas and/or concern about the infrastructure requirements associated with respective future urban areas.

32.     Of the pro forma responses, 1,031 were from a campaign called Future Auckland and 199 from Bayleys Real Estate.

33.     The Future Auckland pro forma requested that greenfield development be included in the proposal and that intensification should be limited to locations with sufficient infrastructure. The pro forma emphasised the lack of information and time provided in the consultation for the public to be able to provide informed feedback. It requested that hearings be held so that their concerns could be shared with elected members.

34.     The Bayley’s pro forma opposed the approach of the Future Development Strategy, especially focusing growth in existing urban areas. The pro forma emphasises that brownfield residential areas cannot be further developed because the infrastructure is already at its limit. It requested that the FDS be deferred by two years until Plan Change 78 is resolved and an accurate assessment of feasible brownfield capacity is completed.

Central government feedback

35.     Submissions were received from:

·    Kāinga Ora

·    Ministry of Education

·    Ministry of Housing and Urban Development

·    Waka Kotahi

·    Other government entities including Auckland Regional Public Health Service, New Zealand Defence Force, Fire and Emergency New Zealand, KiwiRail and the Infrastructure Commission.

36.     Key themes included:

·    support for focusing most growth within the existing urban area and around local centres, for avoiding growth in areas with significant environmental hazards and for prioritising regenerative infrastructure that responds to the impacts of climate change

·    questions about the Spatial Priority Areas identified in the draft and suggestions for changes to these

·    requests for a greater focus on how the FDS addresses housing affordability

·    some concerns about the proposed delays in timing of the future urban areas and the perceived negative impacts on housing supply and available capacity

 

 

 

·    comments about the use of infrastructure triggers to determine timing and sequencing of future urban areas

·    more detailed comments relating to their specific portfolios.

Iwi feedback

37.     Eight submissions from iwi entities were received: 

·   Te Ahiwaru

·   Ngāi Tai Whenua (Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki) 

·   Te Ākitai Waiohua

·   Ngāti Te Ata and Ngāti Te Ata Waiohua

·   Waiohua–Tāmaki rōpū

·   Ngāti Tamaoho

·   Te Kawerau a Maki

 

38.     Key submission themes from iwi entities are:

·        recognise the compounding impact of change on mana whenua

·        all development should enable mana whenua and broader Māori wellbeing, whether greenfield or brownfield

·        support the environmental focus, however the kaitiaki role of mana whenua should be further enhanced and strengthened

·        actively provide for and protect the rights of mana whenua, including development rights

·        preventing or limiting growth in some areas (including rural areas) fails to recognise traditional and cultural relationship with the land – Te Tiriti implications

·        comments on the importance of the council supporting and enabling development in specific locations, such as Waiuku, Beachlands and the Te Auaunga Precinct (Carrington Road).

Local board feedback

39.     There was support from 20 local boards for the broad approach of the draft FDS, including the approach to focusing most growth in the existing urban area, the approach to significant hazard areas and the approach to more resilient, nature-based infrastructure.

40.     The support for intensification was caveated with the need to invest in infrastructure and services as growth occurs and in those areas that have already seen significant growth. Further information on local board views can be found in the ‘Local board impacts and local board views’ section below.

Changes to the draft FDS as a result of feedback

41.     The Future Development Strategy largely follows the quality compact approach Auckland Council has been pursuing since the first Auckland Plan, and the approach in the current Development Strategy. It mostly contains refinement of concepts and approaches in recognition of known problems related to Auckland‘s growth and development.

42.     However, the strategy proposed for adoption has two major changes:

i.    A much stronger focus on adaptation, particularly in relation to flooding hazards and the protection of life and property. It aims to address the issue of development in floodplains (and discharge to floodplains with downstream effects) as well as preparing for adaptation in the most vulnerable locations and communities. This is largely absent from the current Development Strategy.

 

 

ii.   A greater recognition of the financial challenges facing Auckland Council and ratepayers and aiming to give the development sector clear signals about these constraints and when council is likely to be able to invest in infrastructure and services in respective areas, especially in greenfields. The aim is to give the sector as much certainty as possible for their own planning. Still, the FDS also allows a ‘pathway’ for development that wishes to proceed earlier than council can, provided funding agreements that do not impact the council’s debt profile or already committed projects can be reached. The FDS sets out various ways that this can be done.

43.     In response to consultation feedback, numerous changes to the draft document are recommended. Some of the response results in substantial change. The revised FDS is available in Attachment A but the key changes include:

·    Updates to the Te Tiriti o Waitangi section to reflect iwi feedback in relation to the role of growth and development and the influence on iwi outcomes, and the introduction of a new sub-section later in the document to clarify the approach to iwi development.

·    Updates to the principles to clarify intent.

·    Updates to include key findings from the final 2023 Housing and Business Assessment (HBA).

·    Updates to the spatial priorities for clarity purposes and the findings of the 2023 HBA.

·    New sub-section on the benefits of creating more residential capacity to support a responsive and competitive market.

·    Bringing forward timing of some future urban business land to reflect feedback from the development sector and the findings of the 2023 HBA.

·    Clarifying infrastructure prerequisites (previously called infrastructure triggers) and how land development relates to the timing of the prerequisites to reflect feedback from the development sector.

·    Improved maps and descriptions of areas prioritised for development and future growth locations .

·    Updated approach to the removal of four future urban areas for urban development, removing those parts within the floodplain and ‘red-flagging’ those areas not within but discharging to the floodplain, to ensure associated requirements are met if development is to occur.

·    Resolving areas that were identified in the draft FDS as requiring further investigation.

44.     In addition to these more significant changes, there are numerous smaller changes throughout the document that respond to feedback received.

45.     This report was originally on the 5 October 2023 PEP Committee agenda but was withdrawn. Further changes have been made to FDS for adoption:

·    A map to show Auckland’s critical infrastructure

·    Updates to the infrastructure prerequisite section

·    Greater clarity on the funding of (bulk) infrastructure by the private sector or other partners ahead of when council can or intends to fund that infrastructure.


 

 

The FDS will guide decision making across the council group

46.     The FDS provides an integrated and coordinated strategic approach to Auckland’s spatial planning.

47.     It will guide decision-making and investment across the council group in three important ways:

i.     by articulating the strategic spatial direction and principles that guide decision-making;

ii.    by setting out spatial priority areas for LTP investment over the first 10 years of the strategy;

iii.    through specific near-to-medium term actions identified for implementation, including changes to the Auckland Unitary Plan (AUP).

48.     The FDS identifies four types of spatial priorities to inform resource allocation through the LTP:

·    Nodes - focused areas within the city centre and Westgate are identified for investment in the short to medium-term. Note that all nodes will require investment on an ongoing basis and the Albany and Manukau nodes, and as the rural nodes of Pukekohe and Warkworth, will need to be considered for investment in the longer term.

·    Joint priorities between the council and central government - focuses on the Auckland Housing Programme. This programme includes the development of significant areas where bulk infrastructure is needed to enable regeneration, housing, jobs and recreation areas. These priorities are reduced in number and scope from the previous Development Strategy, though remain aligned to previously agreed areas.

·    Local areas and community investment - to support growth in the existing urban area, as it happens. Investment in these areas is to provide for projects that strengthen communities through smaller scale interventions. Investments may be of shorter duration or broken into stages and may well be combined with local board funded projects and initiatives.

·    Infrastructure deficit priorities - areas where either bulk or more localised network infrastructure constraints (transport, water, wastewater) limit development in an otherwise good location. Prioritised locations are market attractive, accessible and free from significant natural hazards. In many cases the exact nature of the solutions to address the infrastructure deficit is yet to be confirmed.

Implementation and review of the FDS

49.     The NPS-UD requires that a comprehensive implementation plan be prepared to support the FDS. This will provide more detail on the scope of the actions described in the strategy and ascribe roles, responsibilities and indicative timeframes. This is required to be updated annually.

50.     Staff will prepare the implementation plan following adoption of the strategy.

51.     It is important to note that implementation of the FDS will require time and resources from across the council group. In particular, actions that require changes to the Auckland Unitary Plan will need to be resourced through decision-making in Annual Plan and Long-term Plan processes.

52.     The NPS UD requires that the FDS is reviewed and updated if necessary, every 3 years, in time to inform the next LTP. It is important to note that the recently introduced Spatial Planning Act, when implemented, will replace the FDS with a new spatial plan. It is not yet clear in which ’tranche’ Auckland will be in the roll-out of this Act. It is also not yet clear whether the Spatial Planning Act may be withdrawn or replaced.


 

 

Tauākī whakaaweawe āhuarangi

Climate impact statement

53.     Land use and planning decisions, particularly those around urban form, development and infrastructure, are fundamental to climate action. These decisions influence and lock in our emissions trajectory and our ability to deal with the risks and impacts of a changing climate for decades to come. These decisions also have an impact on the embodied carbon from infrastructure and development projects. These land use planning decisions fundamentally affect how Auckland will achieve its climate goals set out in Te Tāruke-ā-Tāwhiri: Auckland’s Climate Plan in the short, medium and long term.

54.     Adapting to and mitigating the effects of climate change were strong themes within public feedback on the draft strategy. While there were some submissions that were sceptical of the impacts of climate change and wished to see less emphasis on this in the strategy, the vast majority of people who commented about climate change supported the approaches proposed in the FDS or wanted the FDS to go further in its response.

55.     The approach taken in the FDS focuses on planning for more intensive urban development close to existing centres and stops on the rapid transit network. This is one of many important approaches which together seek to maximise the number of Aucklanders who walk, cycle and use public transport, thereby reducing transport related emissions.

56.     The FDS also creates stronger links between development in future urban areas and the ability to fund public transport infrastructure and services. Development without these public transport services will be car dependent, increasing VKT and likely lock in travel behaviours that may be hard to change once, or if, public transport services can be provided. The FDS links development readiness to infrastructure pre-requisites for development, which includes public transport infrastructure. This is expected to result in relatively positive emission outcomes compared to the alternative of not requiring public (and active mode) transport in future urban development.

57.     The FDS identifies four future urban areas for removal from urban development.  These areas have significant natural hazard risks. This is expected to result in relatively positive resilience outcomes compared to the status quo.

58.     The FDS further considers natural hazard risk in existing urban areas. It identifies and prioritises locations with potential natural hazard risk, combined with population density and levels of deprivation, as the initial focus for adaptive planning to determine appropriate responses.

59.     The FDS sets the strategy and direction. Achieving its direction and the climate change outcomes sought is dependent on following through in implementation. This includes actions aligned with Te Tāruke-ā-Tāwhiri, particularly actions around the built environment and the protection and enhancement of the natural environment, and both national and Auckland specific targets to reduce vehicle kilometres travelled and transport greenhouse gas emissions.

60.     It is expected that, if the “Principles for a quality compact approach to growth and change” (as set out in the FDS), are applied with implementations actions as proposed in (but not limited to) the FDS, then some of the adverse effects on climate mitigation and resilience could be avoided or mitigated. However, the FDS implementation needs to be accompanied by ambitious, bold climate policies and regulations across different domains, as well as local implementation action.


 

Ngā whakaaweawe me ngā tirohanga a te rōpū Kaunihera

Council group impacts and views

61.     As a first order strategy, and legislative requirement, the FDS impacts all parts of the council group whose activities relate to growth or development. It provides Auckland-wide direction and integration of the council’s approach to growth and development and guides subsequent strategies, operational plans, programmes of work and investment decisions.

62.     Achieving the alignment of resources and outcomes sought by the FDS requires the involvement, sharing of information and ongoing support from staff across the council group throughout its implementation.

63.     Staff from across the council group were involved in the development of the strategy:

·    Healthy Waters, Resilient Lands and Coasts, and Plans and Places provided detailed advice and evidence to support the approach to avoiding development in hazard areas.

·    Timing and sequencing of future urban areas for development was informed by the Development Programme Office, Watercare and Auckland Transport (as well as non-council infrastructure providers Waka Kotahi and KiwiRail).

·    Staff from across the council group were involved in other aspects of the strategy, and in particular the development and evaluation of the growth scenarios.

64.     There is broad agreement across the council group of the strategy’s core approach to continue focusing most growth within the existing urban area and particularly around local centres, to avoid growth in areas with significant natural hazards and to prioritise nature-based infrastructure that responds to the impacts of climate change.

Ngā whakaaweawe ā-rohe me ngā tirohanga a te poari ā-rohe

Local impacts and local board views

65.     Local boards were involved in, and made a significant contribution to, the Future Development Strategy. This included representation at PEP Committee workshops and meetings, local board briefings and memos, and individual board business meetings.

66.     There were two opportunities for local boards to pass resolutions on the draft strategy’s development. The first was during development of the initial strategic direction in July 2022. The second was after receiving a summary of the feedback from public consultation in August 2023.

67.     Local board resolutions from August 2023 have informed finalisation of the strategy (Attachment C). These resolutions were shared with the PEP Committee and were summarised and discussed at the workshop on 6 September.

68.     There was support from 20 local boards for the broad approach of the draft FDS, including the approach to focusing most growth in the existing urban area, the approach to significant hazard areas and the approach to more resilient, nature-based infrastructure.

69.     There was support for greater intensification, particularly in areas near centres, along the Rapid Transit Network (RTN) and in areas with greater transport options. Many local boards commented that this presented the greatest opportunity to reduce emissions and was a more cost-effective and efficient use of existing infrastructure that would lead to more vital local centres and improved access to employment opportunities close to where people live.

70.     Many local boards also commented that this support was contingent on a number of factors:

·    increasing investment in infrastructure and services within brownfield areas relative to greenfield areas to support greater intensification,

·    protection of existing green spaces and an increase in urban ngāhere / green spaces, especially for urban areas that currently have lower coverage,

·    equitable investment to address existing infrastructure deficits in some local areas,

·    improvements in local planning to ensure higher quality intensification.

71.     Many local boards raised other specific issues, including about specific local areas. Where these could be addressed in the FDS, they have been included in the proposed changes. Full detail of their requests can be found in Attachment C.

72.     Local board chairs were invited to PEP Committee workshops in August and September to discuss the overall consultation feedback and proposed response.

Tauākī whakaaweawe Māori

Māori impact statement

73.     Tāmaki Makaurau has the largest concentration, nearly one-quarter, of all Māori in Aotearoa New Zealand.  How Tāmaki Makaurau grows and develops has a major impact on Māori wellbeing and socio-economic outcomes.  As a population, not much benefit has accrued to Māori from Auckland’s growth and development.  Land confiscation led to the loss of an important economic base for iwi and loss of influence over decisions that shaped the region.  The FDS provides an opportunity to recognise and amplify iwi and hapū aspirations to contribute to outcomes for Māori.

74.     Mana whenua were engaged through the development of the FDS, the process and outcomes of which have been previously reported.  Key themes included the importance and integration of mātauranga Māori at all levels of decision-making, recognising mauri as a life-sustaining principle of living systems, and a holistic view from maunga to moana that sees Tāmaki Makaurau as an interconnected living system.

75.     Iwi Management Plans, iwi environmental documents, and iwi input into previous council engagements on Te Tāruke-a-Tāwhiri, Auckland’s Water Strategy, and Thriving Communities Strategy added to and reinforced the themes that contributed to shaping the consultation document.

76.     Eight iwi organisations made submissions during the consultation period. Te Tiriti o Waitangi, which guaranteed the rights of mana whenua, including development rights that the council needed to actively provide for and protect, was a consistent theme. Of the iwi that submitted, many were concerned about the potential effect of parts of the FDS on developments they were involved with or leading. Development can and should enable mana whenua and wider Māori wellbeing. Preventing or limiting growth in some areas (including rural areas) fails to recognise traditional and cultural relationships with the land and limits economic opportunities for iwi. 

77.     Changes to the draft document are recommended to reflect feedback. These relate to Te Tiriti o Waitangi section and a new sub-section to clarify the approach to iwi development.

Ngā ritenga ā-pūtea

Financial implications

78.     The NPS UD states that one of the purposes of the FDS is to assist with the integration of planning decisions under the RMA with infrastructure planning and funding decisions. The NPS UD also strongly encourages councils to use the FDS to inform its Long-term Plan, particularly its Infrastructure Strategy. This is done through setting the strategic direction for growth.

79.     Adoption of the FDS will have financial implications as the FDS prioritises locations for investment and this prioritisation will guide capital and operational spending over the next 10 years.

80.     Once the FDS is adopted, it will inform an update to the council’s growth model and therefore will play a significant role in future asset and service planning, especially assets and services related to growth. As well as the Long-term Plan, it will inform Annual Plans and Regional Transport Plans.

81.     By focusing most, but not all, growth in the existing urban area, the FDS aims to make the best use of existing infrastructure and services, and to focus new investment to achieve the greatest financial and social return.

82.     The FDS also states council’s position on when it will be able to fund new bulk infrastructure projects in greenfield areas (acknowledging that circumstances change over time), and that, should greenfield landowners wish to bring the development of such land forward/earlier, this will be considered by council provided suitable alternative funding methods can be found and/or there is no cost to council ahead of time, and that ’well-functioning urban environment’ outcomes can be met.

83.     The FDS identifies a range of actions to implement its strategic direction. Implementing these will have budgetary implications over time.

84.     Some actions will be completed using existing resources and will require no additional cost other than staff time.

85.     Where actions do require additional spend, this will be considered through council’s Annual Plan and Long-term Plan processes.

Ngā raru tūpono me ngā whakamaurutanga

Risks and mitigations

Risk

Assessment

Mitigation/Control measures

The FDS is not bold enough to support achieving the council’s strategic goals around climate change mitigation.

 

Medium-High risk

Achieving significant change in land use requires a long-term approach, and land use change takes time.

Even with the continued emphasis on prioritising growth in existing urban areas, the draft FDS retains large areas of future urban land.

Given council’s climate change goals, the retention of these large areas of future urban development creates risk to achieving those goals, especially with regard to reductions in transport emissions if public transport infrastructure and services are or cannot be provided.

The FDS proposes a number of measures to promote and incentivise more urban development near centres and rapid transport in the existing urban area. The market has also been moving significantly in this direction (and is likely to continue to do so). 

Infrastructure pre-requisites (for development in greenfields) have been introduced and include transport related pre-requisites. When council can provide these pre-requisite projects have resulted in a change in timing for when council can support growth in these locations.  

Land use policy needs to be supplemented by a strong policy framework - for instance transport demand management and initiatives to achieve mode shift.

It is likely that Auckland’s car fleet would have transitioned significantly towards an electric vehicle fleet by 2040, which will help mitigate transport emissions impacts.

The council receives legal challenge (judicial review) due to concerns about the process of developing the FDS

Medium – High risk

A number of submissions, mainly from organisations but also through pro-formas, express concern about the process of developing and consulting on the draft FDS.

Once initial concerns from the development community were raised about the length of consultation and lack of opportunity to speak directly to councillors, the consultation period was increased from four weeks to eight weeks and Have Your Say events were added for organisational and special interest groups to present directly to councillors.

Significant changes have been made to the draft version of the FDS to reflect the feedback received during consultation. This reflects the considerable time staff have spent understanding these detailed submissions and in cases talking to organisations who have expressed concerns.

Recognition that submitters always have the right to take legal action, regardless of actions council may take.

The council does not adopt the FDS in time to inform the Long-term Plan.

Medium – High Risk

The NPS-UD requires Auckland Council to prepare an FDS in time to inform the LTP.

Council could use the existing 2018 Development Strategy to inform the Long-term Plan however this would keep infrastructure investment expectations at levels that the council cannot meet.

It is noted that the council would be in breach of a statutory requirement in such a case.

Ngā koringa ā-muri

Next steps

Publication

86.     If the FDS is adopted, any final changes will be made with approval of the Chair and Deputy Chair of the Planning, Environment and Parks (PEP) Committee, and a member of the Independent Māori Statutory Board. 

87.     Staff will complete final formatting of the FDS and will then make the FDS and supporting documentation publicly available on the council’s website. Internal and external communications (including an ‘Our Auckland’ article) are planned.

88.     All submitters to the process will be informed of the finalisation of the FDS. A summary version of the strategy will also be made publicly available. The audience of the summary version is an interested Aucklander who would not need large amounts of detail.

Implementation

89.     There will be a growth model update to reflect the adopted strategy to inform Long-term Plans and asset management planning.

90.     Once adopted, work will begin on the Implementation Plan.

 

Ngā tāpirihanga

Attachments

No.

Title

Page

a

Future Development Strategy (Under Separate Cover)

 

b

FDS consultation summary report (Under Separate Cover)

 

c

Local board resolutions (Under Separate Cover)

 

      

Ngā kaihaina

Signatories

Authors

Sarah Smith – Portfolio Manager

Claire Gray - Manager Growth & Spatial Strategy

Authorisers

Jacques Victor – General Manager Auckland Plan Strategy and Research

Megan Tyler - Chief of Strategy

 

 

 


Planning, Environment and Parks Committee

02 November 2023

 

Auckland Unitary Plan - Making Plan Change 60 - Open Space and Other Rezoning Matters (2020) Fully Operative

File No.: CP2023/15558

 

  

 

Te take mō te pūrongo

Purpose of the report

1.       To make Plan Change 60 – Open Space (2020) and Other Rezoning Matters (PC60) fully operative.

Whakarāpopototanga matua

Executive summary

2.       PC60 has four components:

i)       Rezoning 49 land parcels that have been recently vested and/or acquired as open space so that the zoning reflects their purpose, function and intended use.

ii)       Rezoning 22 land parcels to correct anomalies and errors. These include aligning and updating zone boundaries with new property boundaries, rezoning Department of Conservation land incorrectly shown as road and privately owned land incorrectly zoned as open space.

iii)      Rezoning 26 land parcels as part of Auckland Council’s land disposal and rationalisation process.

iv)      Rezoning eight land parcels that include land swaps between Kāinga Ora and Auckland Council to facilitate redevelopment of certain neighbourhoods.

3.       The decision on PC60 was notified on 9 September 2022. No appeals were received against the decision.

4.       The Planning, Environment and Parks Committee resolved to make the plan change operative in part on 2 February 2023 (rather than fully operative) because ten sites were the subject of a variation – Variation 4 PLA/2023/9.

5.       Variation 4 to PC60 (Attachment B) proposed to amend the zoning of ten sites in the plan change to apply “relevant residential zones” to land that is proposed to be rezoned from an open space zone to a residential zone, where the zoning of the adjacent lots is proposed to change under Plan Change 78 – Intensification (PC78). The variation was required as a result of the National Policy Statement on Urban Development 2020 and the amendments introduced by the Resource Management (Enabling Housing Supply and Other Matters) Amendment Act 2021.

6.       Variation 4 to PC60 was withdrawn on 13 October 2023, using clause 8D of Schedule 1 of the RMA, as staff considered the more appropriate process is to enable PC60 to become fully operative, and to address any zoning anomalies relative to PC78 through a variation to that plan change rather than a variation to PC60.

7.       Schedule 1 of the RMA 1991 sets out the statutory process for plan changes. Clause 17(1) enables the council to approve a plan change if all appeals relating to that part have been disposed of. Under the Resource Management Act, the procedural decision to make a plan change operative (or operative in part as in this case) must be made by the Governing Body or a relevant committee comprising the Mayor and all councillors.

8.       Clause 20 of Schedule 1 sets out the process that is required to be undertaken for the notification of the operative date.

 

Ngā tūtohunga

Recommendation/s

That the Planning, Environment and Parks Committee:

a)      whakaae / approve in full Plan Change 60 to the Auckland Unitary Plan (Operative in Part) as included in Attachment A of the agenda report – Remaining Sites to be Made Operative – Plan Change 60, of the agenda report, under clause 17(1) of Schedule 1 of the Resource Management Act 1991

b)      tono / request staff to complete the necessary statutory processes to publicly notify the date on which the plan change becomes operative in full as soon as possible, in accordance with the requirements in clause 20(2) of Schedule 1 of the Resource Management Act 1991.

 

Horopaki

Context

9.       On 3 December 2020 the Planning Committee resolved to publicly notify PC60 to the Auckland Unitary Plan (Operative in Part).  (PLA/2020/113). 

10.     PC60 had four components:

i)       Rezoning 49 sites that have been recently vested and/or acquired as open space so that the zoning reflects its purpose, function and intended use.

ii)       Rezoning 22 sites to correct anomalies and errors. These include aligning and updating zone boundaries with new property boundaries, rezoning Department of Conservation and incorrectly shown as road and privately owned land incorrectly zoned as open space.

iii)      Rezoning 26 sites as part of Auckland Council’s land disposal and rationalisation process.

iv)      Rezoning eight sites that include land swaps between Kāinga Ora and Auckland Council to facilitate redevelopment of certain neighbourhoods – Mangere East, Owairaka and Northcote.

11.     Key dates associated with the plan change were:

·        Notified on 28 January 2021

·        Submissions closed on 1 March 2021

·        Summary of Decisions Requested was notified on 25 March 2021

·        Further submissions closed on 12 April 2021

·        A hearing by independent commissioners took place on 8 February 2022 and 26 May 2022.

12.     The decision on PC60 was notified on 9 September 2022. No appeals were received against the decision.

13.     The plan change was made operative in part (rather than fully operative) because ten land parcels were the subject of a variation and could not legally be made operative. These were:

·        R24 Linwood Ave, Forrest Hill (Auckland Council owned site)

·        67 East Street, Pukekohe (Auckland Council owned site)

·        Section 1 SO 430835 Princes Street West, Pukekohe (Auckland Council owned site)

·        Lot 6 DP 16500 Paerata Road, Pukekohe (Auckland Council owned site)

·        33R Pohutakawa Road, Beachlands (Auckland Council owned site)

·        17W Hawke Crescent, Beachlands (Auckland Council owned site)

·        8 Magnolia Drive, Waiuku (Auckland Council owned site)

·        5R Ferguson Street, Mangere East (Kainga Ora owned site)

·        50 Mayflower Close, Mangere East (Kainga Ora owned site)

·        62 Mayflower Close, Mangere East (Kainga Ora owned site).

14.     Variation 4 to PC60 sought to amend the zoning of ten sites in PC60 to apply “relevant residential zones” to land that is proposed to be rezoned from an open space zone to a residential zone, where the zoning of the adjacent lots is proposed to change under PC78. This somewhat complicated arrangement arose because of the National Policy Statement on Urban Development 2020 and the amendments introduced by the Resource Management (Enabling Housing Supply and Other Matters) Amendment Act 2021.

15.     Key dates associated with the variation were:

·    Notified on 18 August 2022

·    Submissions closed on 29 September 2022

·    Summary of Decisions Requested was notified on 5 December 2022

·    Further submissions closed on 20 January 2023.

16.     Schedule 1 of the RMA 1991 sets out the statutory process for plan changes. Clause 17(2) enables the council to approve a plan change if all appeals relating to that part have been disposed of. The majority of PC60 was approved by the committee on 2 February 2023, with only the sites subject to the variation requiring a subsequent approval.

17.     Clause 20 of Schedule 1 sets out the process that is required to be undertaken for the notification of the operative date.

Tātaritanga me ngā tohutohu

Analysis and advice

18.     A delay in the hearing schedule for PC78 and associated variations (including Variation 4) means that at this stage, decisions may not be released by the panel until late 2024/early 2025. Auckland Council is currently required to publicly notify its decisions on IHP recommendations by 31 March 2025.

19.     This decision-making timeframe means that it could be well over a year before land that should no longer be zoned open space has an appropriate residential zone.

20.     Variation 4 to PC60 was therefore withdrawn on 13 October 2023, using clause 8D of Schedule 1 of the RMA, as staff considered the more appropriate process is to enable the council to make PC60 fully operative, and address any zoning anomalies relative to PC78 through a variation to that plan change rather than a variation to PC60.

Tauākī whakaaweawe āhuarangi

Climate impact statement

21.     As the approval of a plan change is a procedural matter, impacts on climate change are not relevant to this recommendation.

Ngā whakaaweawe me ngā tirohanga a te rōpū Kaunihera

Council group impacts and views

22.     As the approval of a plan change is a procedural matter, no views are being sought from any council departments.

23.     Eke Panuku has responsibility for the sale of land approved for disposal included in PC60. Staff at Eke Panuku have been advised of both the withdrawal of Variation 4 and the recommended approval of the sites that were subject to the variation becoming operative.

Ngā whakaaweawe ā-rohe me ngā tirohanga a te poari ā-rohe

Local impacts and local board views

24.     The views of all local boards were sought on Proposed PC60. Many local boards provided feedback which was considered by the commissioners.

25.     Local board views were not sought for this report as making a plan change fully operative is a procedural matter.

Tauākī whakaaweawe Māori

Māori impact statement

26.     As a procedural step, there are no impacts on Māori associated with the approval of the plan change.

27.     All iwi authorities were consulted with during the preparation of the plan change and sent letters when PC60 was publicly notified. No submissions were received from iwi authorities on the plan change.

Ngā ritenga ā-pūtea

Financial implications

28.     The withdrawal of Variation 4 to PC60 allows the council to approve the plan change and make it fully operative. This will result in residential zonings being applied to the sites that were subject to the variation.

29.     In the case of those land parcels under management by Eke Panuku, residential zonings will enable the disposal of the sites to proceed, and enable redevelopment to occur in the case of those land parcels under management by Kainga Ora.

30.     There are no financial implications associated with making PC60 fully operative.  Approving plan changes and amending the Auckland Unitary Plan (Operative in Part) is a statutory requirement and is budgeted expenditure for the Plans and Places department.

Ngā raru tūpono me ngā whakamaurutanga

Risks and mitigations

31.     There are no risks and mitigations associated with making PC60 fully operative.

Ngā koringa ā-muri

Next steps

32.     The final step in making the plan change fully operative is to publicly notify the date on which it will become operative, and to update the Auckland Unitary Plan (Operative in Part).

33.     Plans and Places staff will undertake the actions required under Schedule 1 of the Resource Management Act to make PC60 operative.

34.     If a variation to PC78 is required to address any zoning anomalies between PC78 and sites included in PC60, staff will need to seek approval from this committee to notify a variation to PC78.


 

 

Ngā tāpirihanga

Attachments

No.

Title

Page

a

Remaining Sites to be Made Operative - Plan Change 60

 

b

Variation 4 - Proposed Zone Changes to PC60

 

     

Ngā kaihaina

Signatories

Author

Tony Reidy - Team Leader Planning

Authorisers

John Duguid - General Manager - Plans and Places

Megan Tyler - Chief of Strategy

 

 


Planning, Environment and Parks Committee

02 November 2023

 

Auckland Council submission on potential changes to the National Policy Statement for Highly Productive Land

File No.: CP2023/15533

 

  

Te take mō te pūrongo

Purpose of the report

1.       To inform the committee about the potential changes to the National Policy Statement for Highly Productive Land (NPS-HPL) and approve a submission from Auckland Council.

Whakarāpopototanga matua

Executive summary

2.       The NPS-HPL came into force in October 2022. Stakeholders have raised two issues with the Ministry for the Environment about the restrictions on uses and development that do not rely on the soil resource of the land. These issues are:

·    The lack of a clear consent pathway for construction of new infrastructure on highly productive land. This mostly relates to solar farms from entities than do not have the power to designate land.

·    The lack of a clear consent pathway for intensive indoor primary production (e.g. piggeries and poultry farms) and greenhouses (e.g. hydroponic food production) on highly productive land.

3.       The Ministry for the Environment is consulting on potential changes to the NPS-HPL that would make it easier for new infrastructure, intensive farming operations, and hydroponic greenhouses to locate on highly productive land.

4.       The Planning, Environment and Parks Committee resolved at its 5 October meeting that the council would lodge a submission on the potential changes, using any previously identified council positions as a foundation for the submission. 

5.       A draft submission has been prepared (Attachment A) that opposes the potential changes to the NPS-HPL.

6.       The draft submission does not support the potential change around specified infrastructure because:

·    the potential change is not necessary to achieve New Zealand’s renewable electricity goals

·    highly productive land used for solar farms and battery energy storage systems would result in losses to agricultural productivity

·    land around cities (such as Auckland) is likely to be a focus for solar farm developments

·    solar farms have options to locate outside of highly productive land

·    most infrastructure providers do not need this potential change

·    there are better methods for infrastructure ‘at pace’.

7.       The draft submissions does not support the potential change to the NPS-HPL to enable intensive indoor primary production and greenhouses to locate on highly productive land because:

·    indoor primary production and greenhouses (not relying on the soil) are inappropriate uses of highly productive land

·    the ‘functional and operational’ need has not been demonstrated

·    there are alternative locations for these activities

·    there is no urgency in Auckland to make this potential change

·    Auckland’s highly productive land is not a suitable area to relocate activities due to climate change hazards

·    highly productive land is required for some types of primary production

·    the potential change could make it difficult for councils to refuse activities with similar outcomes.

Ngā tūtohunga

Recommendation/s

That the Planning, Environment and Parks Committee:

a)      whakaae / agree to lodge a submission (in Attachment A) from Auckland Council on the potential changes to the National Policy Statement for Highly Productive Land

b)      taupapa / delegate to the Chair of the Planning, Environment and Parks Committee the power to make any minor wording changes to the draft submission in Attachment A of the agenda report.

Horopaki

Context

8.       The National Policy Statement for Highly Productive Land (NPS-HPL) came into force in October 2022. It directs the Auckland Council to introduce maps of highly productive land into the Auckland Unitary Plan (AUP) within three years (October 2025). Due to other priorities, this work will not commence until next year.

9.       In the interim there is a transitional definition of highly productive land. The areas of land meeting the transitional definition within Auckland are shown in Attachment B to this agenda report.

10.     The NPS-HPL adds a layer of policy to be considered by councils for proposals on highly productive land such as land use and development, subdivision, and rezonings.

11.     The Planning, Environment and Parks Committee resolved (PEPCC/2023/130) at its 5 October meeting that the council would lodge a submission on the potential changes, using any previously identified council positions as a foundation for the submission. The resolution also sought that Auckland Council staff request from the Ministry for the Environment a submission extension beyond 31 October. This extension has been given and it enables the council’s draft submission to be bought to the Planning, Environment and Parks Committee meeting on 2 November 2023 for approval.

Use and development of highly productive land

12.     The NPS-HPL requires council to avoid inappropriate land uses and development on highly productive land. All land use activities are considered inappropriate unless they are “Land-based primary production” activities, or they are explicitly included in a list of exceptions.

13.     The list of exceptions covers a range of matters including providing for supporting activities to land-based primary production, addressing risks to public health and safety, enhancing indigenous biodiversity, and providing public access. The full list of exceptions is included in Attachment C to this report.

Issues behind potential changes to the National Policy Statement on Highly Productive Land

14.     Stakeholders have raised two issues with the Ministry for the Environment about the NPS-HPL’s restrictions on non-land-based uses and development. These are:

·    the lack of a clear consent pathway for construction of new specified infrastructure on highly productive land in clause 3.9(2)(j)(i)

·    the lack of a clear consent pathway for developing and relocating intensive indoor primary production and greenhouses on highly productive land.

15.     The Ministry for the Environment is currently seeking feedback on potential amendments to the NPS-HPL that would provide a clear consenting pathway for these activities. The Ministry for the Environment discussion document on the potential changes is included in Attachment C to the agenda report.

New specified infrastructure on highly productive land

16.     The first potential change to the NPS-HPL relates to new infrastructure. ‘Specified infrastructure’ is a defined term in the NPS-HPL and includes (but is not limited to) road and rail networks, wastewater, stormwater, water supply, and electricity generation/distribution. The wording of the NPS-HPL enables the ongoing maintenance, operation, upgrade or expansion of specified infrastructure, but it does not include the construction of new specified infrastructure. This creates a challenging consenting pathway for some new infrastructure on highly productive land.

17.     It is noted that most infrastructure in Auckland is provided by ‘requiring authorities’. These are entities that have the power under the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) to ‘designate’ land for infrastructure purposes. Therefore, they have a pathway to develop their infrastructure and as such are not significantly impacted by the potential changes to this part of the NPS-HPL.

18.     However, there are specified infrastructure providers that do not have designation powers under the RMA and therefore have no apparent consent pathway to develop new infrastructure on highly productive land. The main example of this is the renewable electricity generation sector where often solar farms and battery energy storage systems are being proposed and/or developed by entities that do not have designation powers.

19.     There is significant demand for additional renewable electricity in New Zealand and solar farm proposals are increasingly common[1]. For example, across New Zealand since 2020 nine solar panel projects have been referred for fast track approval under the COVID-19 Recovery (Fast-track Consenting) Act[2].

20.     Solar farm developments often seek to develop on flat rural land because it is more economical, easier to source large blocks of land, and often receives high solar radiation. However, Auckland’s flat rural land is also where areas of highly productive land are located.

21.     The Ministry for the Environment see that a potential option to provide for activities such as solar farms on highly productive land is to amend the NPS-HPL by adding in the word “construction” to the exception for specified infrastructure.

Intensive indoor primary production and greenhouses on highly productive land

22.     ‘Intensive indoor primary production’ refers to farming that occurs within buildings and includes uses such as piggeries and poultry farms. Modern greenhouses mostly use artificial media to grow plants (e.g. hydroponics).

23.     As these activities do not rely on the soil resource of the land, they are not “land-based primary production”. Therefore, the NPS-HPL considers that these activities are inappropriate and directs that they be avoided on highly productive land.

24.     Some primary industry stakeholders have argued that the NPS-HPL should specifically provide for intensive indoor primary production and greenhouses on highly productive land because they have a functional and operational need to operate there (e.g. necessary to locate the activity close to markets, labour sources, supporting infrastructure etc.).


 

25.     They also argue that there are limited alternative locations that would be economically viable for intensive indoor primary production and greenhouses. This is because highly productive land is flat and therefore more cost-effective to develop. Highly productive land is also often near packhouses, rural labour markets, transport routes, nutrient solution management and discharge infrastructure.

26.     The Ministry for the Environment see that a potential option to provide for intensive indoor primary production and greenhouses on highly productive land is to add these activities to the list of exceptions. This would provide a bespoke consenting pathway for developing intensive indoor primary production and greenhouses on highly productive land.

Tātaritanga me ngā tohutohu

Analysis and advice

Draft council submission around issue 1: Providing for new specified infrastructure

27.     Council’s existing policies and submission on the proposed NPS-HPL support the overall intent of the NPS-HPL to protect highly productive land for land-based primary production. Council’s subject matter experts are concerned that the potential amendment to enable new specified infrastructure to locate on highly productive land could undermine that intent.

28.     It is therefore recommended that the Auckland Council submission does not support the potential change around specified infrastructure because:

·   Highly productive land used for solar farms and battery energy storage systems would result in losses to agricultural productivity

Some limited forms of land-based primary production can occur between the solar panels or battery units, such as sheep grazing. However, the presence of solar panels or battery units inherently reduces the range, intensity, and yield of land-based primary production activities on the land.

·   Land around cities (such as Auckland) is likely to be a focus for solar farm developments

Solar farm development will not occur equally across the country and there is a high level of interest in Auckland (currently applications and pre-applications for around 2,000ha with the majority of that likely to be on highly productive land). Therefore, Auckland could be disproportionately impacted and could lose significant areas of highly productive land.

·   Solar farms have options to locate outside of Highly Productive Land

While solar farms prefer to locate in rural areas with flat land, there are plenty of alternative options for solar farms to develop outside of highly productive land such as hilly terrain, rooftops and car parking areas, former landfills and quarries and contaminated land, lower productivity rural land, lakes, and oceans.

·   The potential change is not necessary to achieve New Zealand’s renewable electricity goals

New Zealand has a target to achieve 100 per cent renewable electricity generation by 2030. However, solar farms are just one of a range of renewable energy sources available in New Zealand. While solar electricity will be part of the mix, the inability of solar farms to establish on highly productive land is very unlikely to threaten New Zealand’s renewable electricity goals.


 

·   Most infrastructure providers do not need this potential change

Most infrastructure in Auckland is provided by authorities that can ‘designate’ land and therefore, they are not significantly impacted by the potential NPS-HPL changes. The main initial beneficiary would be private entities (who cannot designate land) seeking to establish new solar farms and battery energy storage systems on highly productive land. It is therefore more appropriate to maintain a challenging consenting pathway for new infrastructure on highly productive land to ensure that the finite soil resource is not lost unnecessarily.

·   There are better methods for infrastructure ‘at pace’

The Ministry for Environment discussion document refers to infrastructure ‘at pace’ and gives the example of the infrastructure needed to support the clean-up and repairs in the aftermath of Cyclone Gabrielle. However, it is more logical that emergency powers be given to infrastructure providers, when undertaking immediate repair works or replacement of assets affected by a weather event. It is not necessary and nor is it a comprehensive solution to amend the NPS-HPL to resolve the issue of infrastructure provision on highly productive land following natural disasters.

Draft council submission around issue 2: Intensive indoor primary production and greenhouses

29.     Council subject matter experts are concerned that the potential amendment to enable intensive indoor primary production and greenhouses on highly productive land significantly undermines the core objective of the NPS-HPL – that highly productive land is protected for use in land-based primary production, both now and for future generations. 

30.     It is therefore recommended that the Auckland Council submission does not support the potential change to the NPS-HPL to enable intensive indoor primary production and greenhouses to locate on highly productive land because:

·   Indoor primary production and greenhouses (not relying on the soil) are inappropriate uses of Highly Productive Land

Intensive indoor primary production and greenhouses remove the highly productive land resource by undertaking earthworks for a building platform and then occupying the land with large, industrial-scale buildings, often with concrete flooring. Primary production activities that do not rely on the soil resource of the land were deliberately excluded from “land-based primary production” in the NPS-HPL. This is because in practice, the end result of these activities on the finite highly productive land resource is the same as that of the other activities the NPS-HPL seeks to prevent, such as urbanisation (i.e. the highly productive land resource is lost).

·   The ‘functional and operational’ need has not been demonstrated

Some primary industry stakeholders argue that intensive indoor primary production and greenhouses need to be on highly productive land, so they are close to markets, labour sources, transport routes, and supporting infrastructure. However, demonstrating a ‘functional and operational’ need should more logically revolve around the activity’s need and use of the soil of the site for primary production activities (rather than being in proximity to supporting activities). In addition, being close to markets, labour sources, transport routes, and supporting infrastructure applies to much of Auckland’s rural land (not limited to highly productive land). 

·   There are alternative locations for these activities

There are other relatively flat and viable locations in rural Auckland for intensive indoor primary production and greenhouses. While some of Auckland’s rural flat to moderately sloping land is highly productive land, not all of it is. In fact, only a quarter of this land is highly productive land.

In addition, there is a broader argument that operations that grow plants or raise animals indoors, without the use of soil of the site, could essentially be located anywhere. In the long term it is logical that some of these activities will locate in urban areas. The future of industrial-type farming is not necessarily all in the rural area, and in any case, there is no demonstrated need for it to be on highly productive land.

·   There is no urgency in Auckland to make this potential change

The NPS-HPL only came into force in October 2022 and there has been little time to assess its impact on intensive indoor primary production and greenhouses. There is no strong evidence to support any potential change. For Auckland in particular there is no urgency required for this change as consent figures for these activities are not high and (until the council implements an NPS-HPL plan change) greenhouses are still a permitted activity in the Auckland Unitary Plan.

·   Auckland’s Highly Productive Land is not a suitable area to relocate activities due to climate change hazards

The Ministry for the Environment discussion document cites a reason for the potential change is to respond to climate change. While only 15 percent of Auckland’s land sits within a floodplain or coastal inundation area, around 40 percent of Auckland’s highly productive land is within these hazard areas. Therefore, enabling intensive indoor primary production activities and greenhouses to ‘relocate onto highly productive land’ is unlikely to shift them out of climate change hazard areas.

·   Highly Productive Land is required for some types of primary production

Even with new technologies associated with intensive indoor primary production and greenhouses, there is nevertheless a need to retain highly productive land as some crops require soil for growing (root anchorage or support, water and nutrient supply). As the climate of Auckland changes it will begin to favour the growing of other crops not traditionally grown in the region, meaning there will be more types of crops that could also need the highly productive land resource.

·   The potential change could make it difficult for councils to refuse activities with similar outcomes

Providing an avenue for intensive indoor primary production and greenhouses to locate on highly productive land has the potential to open the door to other activities that have the same effect on the land. If it is deemed acceptable for large industrial-scale buildings that do not use the soil to permanently consume the highly productive land resource then, other similar activities will seek to also locate there. 

In New Zealand’s ‘effects based’ planning system, it is challenging for councils to be able to grant consent for one activity but decline it for another when their effects are very similar. The potential change to the NPS-HPL would introduce grey-areas and complexities to its implementation and these could undermine the intent of the NPS-HPL.

Tauākī whakaaweawe āhuarangi

Climate impact statement

31.     The council declared a climate emergency in Auckland, in June 2019. The decision included a commitment for all council decision-makers to consider the climate implications of their decisions.

32.     Auckland’s Climate Plan (2020) includes a ‘food priority’ with a goal of “a low carbon, resilient, local food system that provides all Aucklanders with access to fresh and healthy food”. The plan recognises the importance of local food production and preserving productive soil. It states that “soils play a critical role in meeting our emissions targets as carbon is stored in soils. The more soil we lose, the less chance we have of meeting our emissions targets.”

33.     A priority action area in the plan is to “Protect our productive soils and move toward regenerative practices to increase food security and carbon sequestration”. This involves the following actions:

·    advocate for and implement regulation that protects Auckland’s productive soils for growing food and supports a change to more regenerative growing of food

·    advocate for the proposed National Policy Statement for Highly Productive Land.

34.     The potential changes to the NPS-HPL do not align with Auckland Climate Plan.

Ngā whakaaweawe me ngā tirohanga a te rōpū Kaunihera

Council group impacts and views

35.     The staff at Watercare and Auckland Transport who have been consulted support the potential changes to the NPS-HPL, as it would provide additional flexibility to apply for infrastructure via a resource consent pathway (rather than needing to rely on the designation process).

36.     In response, it is noted that Watercare and Auckland Transport are relatively unaffected by the changes around specified infrastructure as they are requiring authorities with the power to designate land (including HPL) for infrastructure purposes. Furthermore, significant examples of where the existing NPS-HPL has prevented the efficient delivery of water and transport infrastructure have not been identified.

Ngā whakaaweawe ā-rohe me ngā tirohanga a te poari ā-rohe

Local impacts and local board views

37.     All local boards were given a high-level briefing on the potential changes to the NPS-HPL. In addition, staff have presented directly to the local boards with the greatest proportion of highly productive land in Auckland – Franklin, Rodney, and Waiheke.

38.     The feedback from local boards has been considered in the development of the draft council submission. The draft submission is consistent with the overall thrust of the feedback from the local boards. However, it is noted that the local boards of Franklin and Whau generally supported intensive indoor primary production and greenhouses being able to locate on highly productive land (the council’s submission opposes this). The specific feedback on the potential changes to the NPS-HPL from the Franklin Local Board, Papakura Local Board, Rodney Local Board, and Whau Local Board is attached to the draft council submission (see Attachment A).

Tauākī whakaaweawe Māori

Māori impact statement

39.     The NPS-HPL contains specific clauses directing the council to actively involve tangata whenua (to the extent they wish to be involved) in giving effect to the NPS-HPL. In addition, specified Māori Land is included in the list of exceptions for use and development. This exception means that any use or development of specified Māori Land is not constrained by the presence of highly productive land. The Ministry for the Environment is not proposing any changes to these parts of the NPS-HPL.

40.     As part of a potential council submission, views from iwi were sought. Iwi were also advised that they may make their own submissions directly to the Ministry for the Environment. The only feedback received where the iwi sought to have their feedback attached to the draft council submission is from Te Ākitai Waiohua Settlement Trust. In summary, Te Ākitai supports providing a clear consent pathway for the specified infrastructure listed in the existing NPS-HPL. However, Te Ākitai does not support the proposed changes that would enable a clear consenting pathway for indoor primary production and greenhouses.

Ngā ritenga ā-pūtea

Financial implications

41.     Work on the council submission has been funded from existing operational budgets. There are no ongoing financial implications of lodging a submission. 

Ngā raru tūpono me ngā whakamaurutanga

Risks and mitigations

42.     The process for potential changes to the NPS-HPL is being run by the Ministry for the Environment. There are no significant risks to the council providing feedback on the potential NPS-HPL changes.

Ngā koringa ā-muri

Next steps

43.     The Chair of the Planning, Environment and Parks Committee will consider and make any minor changes required to the draft submission and then staff will lodge it with the Ministry for the Environment.

44.     Attached to the submission will be the direct feedback on the potential changes to the NPS-HPL from the Franklin Local Board, Papakura Local Board, Rodney Local Board, Whau Local Board, the council’s Rural Advisory Panel, and Te Ākitai Waiohua Settlement Trust.

 

Ngā tāpirihanga

Attachments

No.

Title

Page

a

Draft Auckland Council submission on the potential changes to the National Policy Statement for Highly Productive Land

 

b

Map of highly productive land in Auckland: Based on the transitional definition in the NPS-HPL.

 

c

List of land use exceptions in Clause 3.9(2) of then National Policy Statement for Highly Productive Land

 

     

Ngā kaihaina

Signatories

Author

Ryan Bradley - Senior Policy Planner

Authorisers

John Duguid - General Manager - Plans and Places

Megan Tyler - Chief of Strategy

 

 


Planning, Environment and Parks Committee

02 November 2023

 

Auckland Council submission on the proposed National Policy Statement for Natural Hazard Decision-making 2023

File No.: CP2023/14238

 

  

Te take mō te pūrongo

Purpose of the report

1.       To delegate authority to the Chair and Deputy Chair of the Planning, Environment and Parks Committee and an Independent Māori Statutory Board member, to approve Auckland Council’s submission on the proposed National Policy Statement for Natural Hazard Decision-making 2023 (proposed NPS-NHD).

Whakarāpopototanga matua

Executive summary

2.       The Ministry for the Environment (MfE) is developing comprehensive national directions for natural hazards. The proposed NPS-NHD has been released as the first stage in a two-stage process of developing national direction. It would direct how decision-makers consider natural hazard risk in planning decisions relating to new development under the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA).

3.       MfE is seeking feedback on a proposed NPS-NHD as part of a public consultation process which closes on 20 November 2023. The opportunity to provide feedback on proposed National Policy Statements is a statutory process under the RMA.

4.       Auckland Council staff are preparing a submission based on evaluation and previously identified council positions (e.g. those included in the Auckland Plan and regional policy statement chapter of the Auckland Unitary Plan). This report provides a summary of the main issues the submission could address.

5.       To enable council staff to develop a more detailed submission within the tight timeframe, it is recommended that approval of the submission is delegated to the Chair and the Deputy Chair of the Planning, Environment and Parks Committee and a member of the Independent Māori Statutory Board.

Ngā tūtohunga

Recommendation/s

That the Planning, Environment and Parks Committee:

a)      whakaae / agree to lodge a submission from Auckland Council on the proposed National Policy Statement for Natural Hazard Decision-making 2023, using previously identified council positions as a foundation for the submission

b)      tautapa / delegate the approval of an Auckland Council submission on the proposed National Policy Statement for Natural Hazard Decision-making 2023 to the Chair and Deputy Chair of the Planning, Environment and Parks Committee and a member of the Independent Māori Statutory Board.

Horopaki

Context

6.       MfE is developing comprehensive national directions for natural hazards. A proposed NPS-NHD was released by MfE on 18 September (Attachment B) and is open for feedback until 20 November 2023. The opportunity to provide feedback on proposed National Policy Statements is statutory process under the RMA.

7.       The proposed NPS-NHD is part of a phased work programme to improve the management of natural hazard risks under the RMA. The programme involves:

·    the proposed NPS-NHD (the focus of this consultation process), which is an interim measure intended to be developed and implemented by early 2024

·    the proposed comprehensive National Direction for Natural Hazards, to be developed over the next one-to-two years.

8.       The proposed NPS-NHD aims to direct how decision-makers consider natural hazard risk in planning decisions relating to new development under the RMA. It would apply to decision making on resource consents, plan changes and notices of requirement. It includes all natural hazards. It would apply to new development only, not existing development already at risk.

9.       Although the New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement 2010 addresses coastal hazards, there is no other general RMA national policy on natural hazards. This is a significant gap.

10.     The proposed NPS-NHD is therefore intended to fill a national policy gap. It could also set the scene for any future national direction. It could have a significant impact on the way the council exercises its RMA decision making and the cumulative long-term natural hazard risk exposure of communities in Tāmaki Makaurau / Auckland.

Tātaritanga me ngā tohutohu

Analysis and advice

11.     Tāmaki Makaurau / Auckland is subject to a wide range of natural hazards including flooding, coastal erosion, coastal inundation, tsunami, land slip and other geotechnical instability, earthquakes, volcanic hazards, tornadoes and other wind events, wildfire and drought. Some of these natural hazards will worsen with climate change.

12.     Communities, property, infrastructure, the environment and sites Aucklanders value are located in these natural hazard areas and are subject to varying levels of risk. There is the potential for this risk to increase as population and development increases. Currently we manage that risk through a combination of land-use planning under the RMA and methods available under other statutes such as emergency management, protective works, hazard monitoring, alert levels, warning systems, and the building code.

13.     In principle, it is desirable to have a nationally consistent approach to RMA decision making on natural hazards though national direction. The detail and clarity of the proposed NPS-NHD content determines its value in RMA decision making. Ideally, the NPS-NHD should lead RMA decision making in a direction that contributes to reducing natural hazard risk over time, or at least to ensure that it does not worsen with development growth. Analysis so far indicates the proposed NPS-NHD may not achieve that outcome. As it is currently worded, the proposed NPS-NHD could impede the council’s current natural hazards plan change which is considering strengthening the flood management provisions in the AUP. The proposed NPS-NHD would also require significant interim resource for consenting practices in order to implement it.

14.     The issues involved in responding to the proposed NPS-NHD are complex. This analysis is underway, and it is proposed that a council submission should use previously identified council positions as a foundation (e.g. positions in the Auckland Plan and Regional Policy Statement chapter of the AUP) and address the following themes:

·    Support in principle for improved national direction on natural hazards.

·    Ensure there is an ongoing focus on reducing risk over time for new development.

·    Support in principle for a risk-based approach based on likelihood and consequences, but the 3-level risk categorisation proposed in policies 1 and 5 could be optional rather than mandatory, as other risk-based approaches may be better suited to particular natural hazards and circumstances or be required by other legislation.

·    In accordance with resolution PEPCC/2023/82, seek to ensure the NPS-NHD enables councils to determine the risk tolerance for development in natural hazard areas.

·    Whether or not all natural hazards should be included.

·    Whether to apply to all forms of development including subdivision, where buildings will be occupied by people, i.e. retail, offices, light industry as well as to residential activities.

·    Addressing the characteristics of infrastructure such as reviewing hazard risk for lifeline utilities, while providing for infrastructure that inherently needs to be in hazard areas and is resilient to that.

·    Amendments to terms to ensure they are consistent with the existing RMA 1991 framework and terms, and not introducing new terms which would introduce uncertainty and unnecessary risk of litigation.

·    Practicality and proportionality for resource consent processing, which would moderate most of the interim implementation workload.

·    Addressing research and implementation costs for plan change development and resource consent processing.

·    Seek consistency between the NPS-NHD and the National Policy Statement on Urban Development and the Building Act 2004.

·    Recognition of Māori rights and interests on unscheduled land as defined in the proposed NPS-NHD.

·    Support for a national centre of excellence in natural hazard management.

15.     It will take more time to produce a well-considered submission including the items above, so it is proposed that the approval of a final submission be delegated to the Chair and Deputy Chair of the Planning, Environment and Parks Committee and a member of the Independent Māori Statutory Board.

Tauākī whakaaweawe āhuarangi

Climate impact statement

16.     One of the goals of Te Tāruke-ā-Tāwhiri: Auckland’s Climate Plan (2020) is “to adapt to the impacts of climate change by ensuring we plan for the changes we face under our current emissions pathway”.

17.     As global temperatures rise, Auckland is predicted to experience between 0.6m and 1.5m of sea-level rise by 2140. Under our current emissions pathway, the impacts for Auckland include an increase the frequency, intensity and magnitude of natural hazards including coastal inundation, coastal erosion, rainfall flooding, land slips (and other geotechnical instabilities) and severe weather events.

18.     Preparing a submission is consistent with Te Tāruke-ā-Tāwhiri: Auckland’s Climate Plan (2020) through action B1 (Ensure our approach to planning and growth aligns with low carbon, resilient outcomes) and sub-action 8 (Collaborate to ensure climate change mitigation and adaptation is a priority in national planning legislation).

Ngā whakaaweawe me ngā tirohanga a te rōpū Kaunihera

Council group impacts and views

19.     Watercare and Auckland Transport have provided comments on the proposed NPS-NHD and these will be considered in the more detailed submission preparation.

20.     Watercare supports a national policy statement and has concerns with definitions of terms, inclusion of controlled activities, provision for infrastructure in policy, vesting of infrastructure in hazard areas and who will monitor implementation and make decisions.

21.     Auckland Transport also supports a national policy statement and seeks that it excludes existing infrastructure and the maintenance of that infrastructure. In addition, Auckland Transport supports the provision for infrastructure in policy 5 and requests guidance for some terms. 

Ngā whakaaweawe ā-rohe me ngā tirohanga a te poari ā-rohe

Local impacts and local board views

22.     All local boards were given a high-level briefing on the proposed NPS-NHD.

23.     Feedback from some local boards has been received and is appended to this agenda report as Attachment C.

24.     Howick Local Board feedback indicates that more action is needed to reduce development at risk from natural hazards. The board supports: focusing on new developments, housing and actively inhabited land, inclusion of all natural hazards, risk-based analysis and categorisation of risk, the proposed objective and the precautionary approach.

25.     Waiheke Local Board supports the proposed NPS-NHD and among other comments supports the objective, all natural hazards being included, all new development being included and a precautionary approach.

26.     Waitematā Local Board supports the direction of the proposed NPS-NHD but considers it is too weak. The board ask that it be strengthened, with no new development in high-risk areas and that for areas of moderate risk, new development should be avoided unless the risk of serious harm can be reduced to insignificant levels. Comment is also provided on resource consent processing in this context.

27.     Any local board feedback will also be directly appended to the council’s submission.

Tauākī whakaaweawe Māori

Māori impact statement

28.     In Tāmaki Makaurau / Auckland many mana whenua and mataawaka live and work in areas subject to natural hazard processes. Some culturally significant sites are also located in areas subject to natural hazard processes. Therefore, the proposed NPS-NHD is likely to be of high interest to mana whenua and mataawaka.

29.     MfE have prepared a proposed NPS-NHD summary document for iwi, hapū and Māori (Attachment D) which addresses recognition and provision for Māori rights and interests. The summary document states: 

·    The proposed NPS-NHD seeks to acknowledge and deliver on the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi, to protect Māori communities and uphold tino rangatiratanga by requiring decision-makers to engage early and involve tangata whenua when making decisions on new developments on specified Māori land where there is a high or moderate natural hazard risk.

·    Māori will be involved in assessing the tolerance of a natural hazard event in relation to a new development on specified Māori land.

·    The NPS-NHD proposes to use the same definition of specified Māori land as used in the National Policy Statement for Indigenous Biodiversity. That definition refers to land that was returned through Treaty settlements along with Māori customary and freehold land under Te Ture Whenua 1993.

30.     The summary document also outlines consultation undertaken by MfE on the proposed NPS-NHD.

31.     The proposed NPS-NHD contains a policy requiring recognition and provision for Māori and tangata whenua values, interests and aspirations in respect of development on specified Māori land. This should be supported in the council’s submission.

32.     Additional consideration could be given to Māori interests that are not located on scheduled land, as the MfE consultation indicates that mana whenua requested that.

33.     Any future plan changes to the AUP to give effect to an operative NPS-NHD would require an extensive consultative process with mana whenua.

34.     As part of a potential council submission, views from iwi are being sought. Staff have reached out to all iwi to give them an opportunity to provide comment. Any feedback from iwi that is received will be considered in the development of a council submission. Any iwi feedback will also be directly appended to the council’s submission (should iwi agree with this).

Ngā ritenga ā-pūtea

Financial implications

35.     The submission will be developed within existing resources. There are no financial implications of agreeing to lodge a submission and delegating its approval to the Chair and Deputy Chair of the Planning, Environment and Parks Committee and a member of the Independent Māori Statutory Board.

36.     Cost implications relating to the council’s existing work on strengthening the natural hazard rules in the AUP have already been identified as part of the storm recovery funding and Long-term Plan processes. The plan change aspect of implementing the NPS-NHD can be met within those identified costs. However, there are likely to be financial implications for other parts of the council group in responding to the national direction on natural hazards.

37.     While these financial implications cannot be quantified within the timeframe for providing feedback, the council submission should highlight the likely implications and include a position on where the costs should be met (i.e. by central government, the council, private interests, a combination of two or more of parties).

Ngā raru tūpono me ngā whakamaurutanga

Risks and mitigations

38.     The process for consideration of submissions on the proposed NPS-NHD is being run by the Ministry for the Environment. There are no significant risks to the council providing feedback as part of this submission process.

39.     There is a risk that the NPS-NHD process is delayed as a result of the change in government. This means further time where there is no national direction on dealing with risks associated with development in natural hazard areas.

40.     The proposed NPS-NHD is an interim step (while comprehensive national direction is being developed and the resource management reforms are being implemented) that will require the council to develop methodologies with communities for assessing and addressing natural hazard risk. This work will be resource and time intensive and may be subject to change depending on the form of the final national direction.

Ngā koringa ā-muri

Next steps

41.     Should the committee agree, delegated members will meet with staff in November to discuss the matters raised in this report as well as any other issues related to a submission. The delegated members will also consider any feedback from local boards and iwi. A draft submission would be sent to all members of the committee for feedback prior to it being finalised and submitted to MfE.

42.     Formal resolutions from any local boards will be appended to any council submission in addition to any written feedback from iwi (should iwi agree).

43.     Submissions to the Ministry for the Environment on the proposed NPS-NHD closes on 20 November 2023.

 

Ngā tāpirihanga

Attachments

No.

Title

Page

a

Proposed National Policy Statement for Natural Hazard Decision-making discussion document

 

b

Proposed National Policy Statement for Decision-making 2023

 

c

Local Board Feedback

 

d

Proposed National Policy Statement for Natural Hazard Decision-making - Summary for iwi, hapū and Māori.

 

     

Ngā kaihaina

Signatories

Author

Christopher Turbott - Senior Policy Planner

Authorisers

John Duguid - General Manager - Plans and Places

Megan Tyler - Chief of Strategy

 

 


Planning, Environment and Parks Committee

02 November 2023

 

Hauraki Gulf / Tikapa Moana Marine Protection Bill - Auckland Council's submission to Parliament's Select Committee

File No.: CP2023/15957

 

  

 

Te take mō te pūrongo

Purpose of the report

1.       To provide an overview of Auckland Council’s draft submission on the Hauraki Gulf/Tīkapa Moana Marine Protection Bill.

2.       To seek approval of the draft submission, subject to any amendments by delegated members of the Planning, Environment, and Parks Committee responsible for its final approval.

Whakarāpopototanga matua

Executive summary

3.       The Environment Select Committee of Parliament New Zealand released a Hauraki Gulf/Tīkapa Moana Marine Protection Bill (the Bill) for public consultation on 31 August 2023. The Bill seeks to address environmental decline in the Hauraki Gulf/Tīkapa Moana due to human activities by establishing two new marine reserves (effectively as extensions to existing marine reserves), twelve high protection areas (HPAs), and five seafloor protection areas (SPAs). Submissions on this Bill must be made by 1 November 2023.

4.       Auckland Council staff have developed a draft Auckland Council submission (appended as Attachment A to this agenda report) based on input from relevant staff across the council group and feedback from local boards.

5.       The draft council submission supports the intent of the Bill, the new tools proposed (albeit with some modification), and the proposed protection areas.

6.       The Bill seeks to establish a dual-permitting regime for prohibited activities within the new protection areas that includes a permit by the Department of Conservation. This authorisation extends to resource management activities normally dealt with through consents under resource management legislation. The draft submission questions the dual-permitting regime, advocates for a more efficient and effective approach, and suggests several ways to streamline the proposed approach.

7.       The draft submission flags the impact of the proposed Bill on significant infrastructure within two of the proposed protection areas. While council staff support the location of these protected areas based on biodiversity values, the provision of this infrastructure is considered critical for Aucklanders. The draft submission suggests alternative approaches to allow for this infrastructure provision and operation without negatively impacting the biodiversity values of the proposed areas.

8.       Delegated authority to approve the council’s final submission is requested to enable council staff to incorporate any amendments to the draft submission following the 2 November 2023 committee meeting. While the formal deadline for submissions is 1 November, council staff have arranged for council’s final submission to still be received by the Environment Select Committee by no later than 6 November 2023.


 

Ngā tūtohunga

Recommendation/s

That the Planning, Environment and Parks Committee:

a)      whakaae / approve Auckland Council’s draft submission to Parliament’s Environment Select Committee on the Hauraki Gulf/Tīkapa Moana marine Protection Bill (Attachment A of this agenda report), subject to any amendments by delegated members of the Planning, Environment and Parks Committee responsible for final approval.

b)      tautapa / delegate final approval of Auckland Council’s submission to the Chair and Deputy Chair of the Planning, Environment and Parks Committee and a member of the Independent Māori Statutory Board.

c)       tuhi ā-taipitopito / note that Auckland Council’s submission needs to be received by the Environment Select Committee by no later than 6 November 2023.

d)      whakaae / agree that the Chair and/or Deputy Chair of the Planning, Environment and Parks Committee take the opportunity to speak to the Auckland Council submission, at Parliament’s Environment Select Committee.

Horopaki

Context

9.       Council has actively contributed to fisheries management advocacy in the Hauraki Gulf for many years, including initiating and resourcing the stakeholder-led process to develop the Sea Change Tai Timu Tai Pari Marine Spatial Plan (Sea Change plan) in 2017.

10.     Central government developed Revitalising the Gulf – Government Action on the Sea Change Plan (June 2021) in response to the Sea Change plan. Revitalising the Gulf addresses the respective Department of Conservation (DOC) and Fisheries New Zealand responsibilities and how the relevant Sea Change plan proposals could be advanced.

11.     DOC released a discussion document on marine protection proposals in the Hauraki Gulf closing on 28 October 2022. The proposed areas included two marine reserves, twelve High Protection Areas, and five Seafloor Protection Areas. Council submitted a technical staff submission supporting the proposals in principle and flagged potential conflicts with consented infrastructure (i.e. existing and planning wastewater infrastructure, as well as residence-level jetties and wharves).

12.     Parliament’s Environment Select Committee released a draft Hauraki Gulf / Tīkapa Moana Marine Protection Bill for public consultation on 31 August 2023 – the subject of this report. The purpose of the Bill is to address environmental decline in the Hauraki Gulf/Tīkapa Moana due to human activities. While submissions formally close on 1 November 2023, council staff have confirmed with staff of the Environment Select Committee that the council’s submission will still be received (by no later than 6 November 2023).

13.     The Bill coincides with consultation by Fisheries New Zealand on a discussion document on bottom fishing access zones in the Hauraki Gulf. The Hauraki Gulf/Tīkapa Moana Marine Protection Bill is separate from the proposals on bottom fishing access zones. However, Fisheries New Zealand and DOC worked closely in the concurrent release of the proposals under fisheries and conservation legislation, respectively.

14.     The bottom fishing access zone proposals encompassed by the Fisheries New Zealand discussion document are being addressed through a separate submission and associated report on the Planning, Environment, and Parks Committee agenda.

Tātaritanga me ngā tohutohu

Analysis and advice

About the Hauraki Gulf / Tīkapa Moana Marine Protection Bill

15.     The Bill seeks to address the continued degradation of the Hauraki Gulf/Tīkapa Moana (the Gulf) by establishing two new marine reserves (effectively as extensions to existing marine reserves), twelve high protection areas (HPAs), and five seafloor protection areas (SPAs). Together, these areas could increase the protected areas of the Gulf nearly threefold from 6.7% to just over 18% of the Gulf (including the Cable Protection Zones).

16.     The proposed protected areas include the use of two new ‘tools’ or types of marine protection: high protection areas (HPAs) and Seafloor Protection Areas (SPAs). The tools are not completely new, as complementary regulatory interventions have been used by collaborating agencies before. They are new in the sense that they intend to also encapsulate constraints on resource management activities beyond restrictions on fishing.

17.     High protection areas (HPAs) are intended to protect, restore, and enhance biodiversity. HPAs prohibit commercial and recreational fishing, large-scale removal of non-living materials (e.g., sand), and the dumping/discharge of waste that will adversely affect aquatic life, while allowing for customary activities. The Bill proposes twelve new HPAs in the Hauraki Gulf.

18.     Seafloor protection areas (SPAs) are intended to maintain and restore benthic (seafloor) habitats. SPAs prohibit activities that adversely impact the seafloor and associated aquatic life, including bottom-contact fishing methods, dumping, depositing, or discharging waste, and sand extraction, mining, and aquaculture activities. One proposed SPA (Mokohīnau Islands) proposes additional prohibitions regarding fishing activities. The Bill proposes five new SPAs in the Hauraki Gulf.

19.     The Bill sets out activities to which the prohibitions do not apply and a process for undertaking otherwise prohibited or regulated activities in the protection areas, as follows:

a)   section 21(a) sets out an exemption to allow existing consented activities under the Resource Management Act (1991) (RMA) to continue until those consents expire

b)   Part 3 Subpart 1 sets out a dual-permitting process for otherwise prohibited or regulated activities. This process requires not only a resource consent from council for these activities, but also a permit granted by the DOC. Approvals must be secured from both entities for an activity to proceed.

Key points in the draft submission

Support for the Bill

20.     The draft council submission (Attachment A) supports the intent of the legislation and acknowledges the positive progress it makes in embedding protection for marine environments across the Hauraki Gulf.

21.     The draft submission supports in principle the new tools proposed for marine protection, with modifications offered as it relates to how resource management activities are managed; and generally supports the areas set out respectively for marine reserve extensions, HPAs (12) and SPAs (5).

Alternatives to dual permitting approach

22.     The draft council submission opposes the process proposed for dual permitting set out in the Bill. Council staff view a system in which any prohibited activities in protection areas require both a resource consent from council and a permit granted by DOC to be inefficient and unnecessarily cumbersome for all involved.


 

23.     The draft submission highlights existing mechanisms within the Auckland Unitary Plan (AUP) to recognise, avoid, and manage adverse impacts on marine biodiversity. The submission advocates for a simplified yet compatible approach rather than the proposed dual permitting regime. This could simply be a stated biodiversity outcome that various agencies need to achieve, through regulatory alignment under respective legislation.

24.     Council staff have suggested alternative approaches to setting out controls that relate to resource management activities within the new protected areas proposed in the Bill. These include:

a)   embedding controls in the National Planning Framework (NPF)

b)   utilising the New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement (NZCPS) to ensure rules are consistent with desired outcomes

c)   creating a National Environmental Standard (NES) with the most stringent rules applying in protected areas.

Conflicts with existing infrastructure and uses

25.     Proposed protection areas in Kawau Bay HPA have significant implications for residents of Kawau Island. The Bill would make the building and maintenance of jetties and wharves that residents rely upon to access their properties a ‘prohibited activity.’ This means that any new or replacement consents for this necessary infrastructure would require both a resource consent from council and a permit from DOC, representing a significant hurdle for basic infrastructure for minimal impacts on the biodiversity of these proposed protected areas.

26.     The draft submission addresses this by suggesting the inclusion of a shoreline setback of 150 metres for small-scale infrastructure, which would cover basic shoreline infrastructure like jetties, piles, boatsheds, and wharves. Under this rule, these activities would require consents to ensure compliance with the RMA and the AUP (as they do now), but a secondary DOC permit would not be required.

27.     Watercare Services Ltd operates two wastewater discharge sites at Martins Bay and Army Bay that coincide with proposed protection areas in the Bill (Kawau Bay HPA and Tiritiri SPA). The Bill would have serious implications for these sites, as it prohibits the discharge of wastewater in proposed protection areas, as well as any seafloor disturbance associated with maintaining outfall pipes in SPAs. The operation and maintenance of these sites represents a critical service for growing populations on the North Shore and Rodney areas.

28.     The draft submission addresses this conflict by advocating for an extension of the ‘existing consented activity exemption’ (Clause 21(a)) to also cover replacement consents for those pre-existing activities. This would have benefits for the following:

a)   critical existing wastewater services infrastructure provided by Watercare, and

b)   basic existing infrastructure for residents of Kawau Island to access their residences.

Tauākī whakaaweawe āhuarangi

Climate impact statement

29.     The Bill does not comment on any climate impacts arising from the protection of the areas proposed. The marine environment is subject to climate change impacts, and additional protected areas should provide further resilience to the marine ecosystem. More generally, management responses will also need to apply at a much larger scale than just specific areas identified for marine protection initiatives.


 

Ngā whakaaweawe me ngā tirohanga a te rōpū Kaunihera

Council group impacts and views

30.     Staff input on the draft submission was sought from the following council divisions:

a)   Chief Planning Office (Auckland Plan Strategy and Research, Plans and Places)

b)   Infrastructure and Environmental Services (Environmental Services)

c)   Regulatory Services (Resource Consents).

31.     A conversation with staff from Waikato Regional Council helped to inform the development of the draft submission. The common issue of a dual authorisation process was the key issue discussed, as that potentially complicates the delivery of good law.

32.     Watercare staff feedback and views relate to the maintenance and renewals of specified infrastructure supporting wastewater systems along and out into adjacent coastal waters.

33.     Watercare provided feedback expressing concerns about the impact of the Bill on wastewater infrastructure on the North Shore and Rodney areas. Watercare staff noted the undesirable effect of duplicative and costly implications of the dual authorisation process for critical water services. They would rather see decisions for resource management continue to be made within the construct of resource management legislation, perhaps even if higher environmental expectations might need to be met at particular sites of biodiversity value.

34.     From a regulatory perspective, the proposed dual permitting regime may create a level of confusion for the public on how they obtain the relevant authority to undertake appropriate activities. Having multiple authorisations from different agencies is not necessarily good governance, and may exacerbate existing misunderstanding of agency responsibilities. Some agencies are more able to articulate their function (or advocate wider outcomes beyond statutory responsibilities held), whereas others have limited means (e.g. Fisheries New Zealand).

35.     Council staff observe that there are longstanding synergies with other research providers working for central government (principally Department of Conservation, Land Information New Zealand, Fisheries New Zealand etc), where that facilitates good monitoring outcomes, and a means to evaluate how biodiversity values are protected. For council, some more tailored monitoring activities may be required over time to dovetail with broader monitoring goals, as that also improves evaluation of the permitted activities, and how reserve boundaries serve the biodiversity outcomes sought.

36.     The regional coastal plan provisions within the Auckland Unitary Plan are not likely to be formally reviewed until around 2028, having been formally adopted in 2018. An RMA section 35 coastal plan provision effectiveness review is scheduled to start in 2024, and further seabed mapping information continues to be obtained. This information represents a return on investment made through the Natural Environment Targeted Rate, and collaboration with other research agencies. Central government agencies will commence further monitoring programmes at several of the protected areas sites over coming years. The council will be in a more informed position to assess its own coastal planning provisions from about 2025, in preparation for any plan review around 2028.

Ngā whakaaweawe ā-rohe me ngā tirohanga a te poari ā-rohe

Local impacts and local board views

37.     Council staff presented an overview of the discussion document and anticipated key submission points to local board members on 18 September 2023, along with an information memo dated 15 September 2023. Local boards provided input which contributed to thematically shaping and developing text for the draft council submission. Specific observations further assisted staff in evaluating the merits of issues associated with the Bill as drafted.

38.     Feedback expressed diverse views from eighteen of the twenty-one local boards. The full resolutions of the various local boards are contained in Attachment B. A summary table of key themes from local boards is included in the draft council submission.

39.     Much of the input received indicated generic support for the intent of the Bill and the range of marine protected areas proposed, with many requesting compliance and monitoring support from central government for the new protected areas. Staff have also considered the potential for local issues to be made more complex because of additional authorisation steps, as similarly recognised by some local boards.

Tauākī whakaaweawe Māori

Māori impact statement

40.     There are implications for Māori, as the Hauraki Gulf/Tīkapa Moana/Te Moananui-ā-Toi (the Gulf) is a taonga, ancestor, and pātaka kai. Māori were involved in the Sea Change Tai Timu Tai Pari Marine Spatial Planning initiative from its commencement, and in subsequent fora such as the June 2021 Government’s response strategy to the Sea Change plan (Revitalising Our Gulf).

41.     Māori have rights and interests in all types of fishing (and other practices). The nature of this new Bill affects how certain activities (notably fishing) may be restricted or prohibited from the discrete areas of biodiversity importance. Māori have been involved in the development of the proposals through direct engagement by the Department of Conservation and Fisheries New Zealand.

42.     The explanatory note of the Bill states that in establishing these marine protection areas, the Government recognises rights and interests of Māori provided for and by the Treaty of Waitangi (Fisheries Claims) Settlement Act 1992 and the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act 2011. The HPAs and SPAs will not affect an applicant group’s ability to obtain recognition of protected customary rights or customary marine title under the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act 2011. Council staff evaluation of the Bill’s provisions supports that assessment.

43.     The draft council submission notes that mana whenua in Tāmaki Makaurau have a limited capacity to participate in all the opportunities for decision-making across the region and suggests that central government set aside resources to support participation of tangata whenua in the collaborative processes set out in the Bill.

44.     Iwi entities within the Auckland region were advised that the council would be preparing a submission on the Bill and their feedback was sought should they wish to offer it to council, other than making their own representations to Parliament. No feedback was received prior to 16 October 2023 to enable staff to consider it for the drafting of this report and accompanying draft submission.

Ngā ritenga ā-pūtea

Financial implications

45.     The proposals are not anticipated to have significant financial implications for council. However, if the Bill’s provisions continue to include a dual authorisation regime (i.e. Department of Conservation and local government), there will be some additional regulatory services costs in ensuring that consent applicants are advised of the requirement of a further authorisation from the Department of Conservation.

46.     For asset managers such as Watercare, some increased consenting and authorisation steps associated with wastewater systems maintenance and renewals in the various protected areas classed as HPAs or SPAs would be expected.


 

47.     Central government (primarily Department of Conservation, but supported by Fisheries New Zealand and the New Zealand Police Maritime section) will bear the responsibility for enacting, enforcing, and monitoring the outcomes. There may be an increased expectation of compliance and enforcement activities from councils as it relates to resource management activities in these areas. That additional expectation is unlikely to be resourced at present.

Ngā raru tūpono me ngā whakamaurutanga

Risks and mitigations

48.     There are no significant risks to the council providing feedback through a submission. Providing feedback will help ensure good governance through well considered legislative provisions, as that intersects with the statutory obligations of councils in giving effect to improved outcomes for the Hauraki Gulf. The submission also adds council’s voice to the desired outcome of increased marine protection.

49.     The opportunity to speak to the council’s submission will highlight the broad support for the Bill’s intent and further highlight potential risks that could arise from the dual authorisation approach proposed for resource management activities.

Ngā koringa ā-muri

Next steps

50.     Submissions on the Bill will be heard by Parliament’s Select Committee once it has reconvened and established its business programme. The submissions hearing process, therefore, is unlikely to start before the House rises in December 2023. A considerable number of submissions are expected. The opportunity to speak to the submission is likely to be made available, and council staff recommend that this opportunity be taken, in early 2024. Council staff with a technical understanding of the implications of the Bill will assist relevant elected members with the preparation needed for this representation.

51.     Depending on the new government’s priorities, the original expectation was that the Bill would be reported back to the House for second reading and subsequent stages by July 2024. At the first reading of the Bill, both National and Act parties supported the Bill in principle, subject to some re-examination of the nature and extent of the provisions, and the robustness of technical information supporting specific sites or proposed boundaries.

52.     It is currently unclear when the Bill will pass into law as a new government has yet to be formed and priorities determined. Staff could provide further updates on this as required.

Ngā tāpirihanga

Attachments

No.

Title

Page

a

Draft submission, Hauraki Gulf / Tikapa Moana Marine Protection Bill

 

b

Local board input into council submission on Hauraki Gulf / Tikapa Marine Protection Bill

 

Ngā kaihaina

Signatories

Author

Dave Allen - Manager Natural Environment Strategy

Authorisers

Jacques Victor – General Manager Auckland Plan Strategy and Research

Megan Tyler - Chief of Strategy

 

 


Planning, Environment and Parks Committee

02 November 2023

 

Bottom Fishing Access Zones - central government discussion document

File No.: CP2023/15878

 

  

Te take mō te pūrongo

Purpose of the report

1.       To provide an overview of central government’s discussion document entitled ‘Bottom Fishing Access Zones in the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park’.

2.       To seek delegated approval for the final version of an Auckland Council submission on bottom fishing access zone proposals to Fisheries New Zealand (Fisheries NZ).

Whakarāpopototanga matua

Executive summary

3.       Fisheries New Zealand released a discussion document to consult on four different spatial options to close the Hauraki Gulf to bottom trawling and Danish seining with the exception of 4-6 specified areas (called ‘bottom fishing access zones’ or BFAZ areas).The proposal seeks to protect key seafloor habitats by excluding bottom trawling and Danish seining from the proposed areas. 

4.       Staff from Natural Environment Strategy (NES) developed the attached draft Auckland Council submission based on the input of relevant staff from across the council and feedback from local boards.

5.       Auckland Council’s draft submission supports Option 4, which is the most restrictive option in the discussion document, and proposes the inclusion of a sunset clause on bottom-trawling and Danish seining from the Hauraki Gulf.

6.       A complete ban was not presented as one of the four options by Fisheries New Zealand, as this would not align with the corridors approach agreed in Revitalising the Gulf (2021) and the Hauraki Gulf Fisheries Plan (2023). Fisheries New Zealand did offer the opportunity for other approaches to be considered. A sunset clause to phase out these methods provides an alternative approach that mitigates the risk of displacing these fishing activities to other adjacent areas (i.e. East Northland and Bay of Plenty) as an immediate ban would likely do.

7.       A delegated authority to approve the council’s final submission is requested to enable staff to incorporate any amendments to the draft submission following the 2 November 2023 committee meeting, prior to the submission deadline of 6 November 2023.

Ngā tūtohunga

Recommendation/s

That the Planning, Environment and Parks Committee:

a)      whakaae / approve Auckland Council’s draft submission on the Fisheries New Zealand discussion document ‘Bottom Fishing Access Zones in the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park’ (Attachment A of this agenda report), subject to any amendments by delegated members of this committee responsible for final approval.

b)      tuhi ā-taipitopito / note that final approval of council’s submission is delegated to the Chair, Deputy Chair of the Planning, Environment and Parks Committee and a member of the Independent Māori Statutory Board.

Horopaki

Context

8.       Auckland Council has actively contributed to fisheries management advocacy in the Hauraki Gulf for many years, including initiating and resourcing the stakeholder-led process to develop the Sea Change Tai Timu Tai Pari Marine Spatial Plan (Sea Change plan) in 2017.

9.       Central government developed Revitalising the Gulf – Government Action on the Sea Change Plan (June 2021) in response to the Sea Change plan. Revitalising the Gulf addresses the respective DOC and Fisheries New Zealand responsibilities and how the relevant Sea Change plan proposals could be advanced.

10.     The Hauraki Gulf Fisheries Management Plan was adopted on 9 August 2023. It includes an objective to protect marine benthic (i.e., ocean floor) habitats from any adverse effects of fishing, as well as an associated action to ban bottom contact fishing methods from the Gulf except in defined areas, resulting in this discussion document.

11.     Fisheries New Zealand released a discussion document on bottom fishing access zones in the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park on 30 August 2023. The purpose is to seek feedback on four different proposed options to allow for bottom contact fishing methods (bottom-trawling and Danish seining) in specified areas of the Hauraki Gulf. Submissions close on 6 November 2023.

12.     The areas proposed in the discussion document were informed by a comprehensive spatial planning approach outlined in the technical document Exploring the use of spatial decision-making support tools to identify trawl corridors in the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park (March 2023). Auckland Council staff inputted into this process by participating in the Hauraki Gulf Benthic Spatial Planning Advisory Group (HGBSPAG) and the Hauraki Gulf Fisheries Plan Advisory Group (HGFPAG).

13.     The proposals encompassed by the bottom fishing access discussion document are separate from the marine protection proposals outlined in the Hauraki Gulf Tīkapa Moana Marine Protection Bill under concurrent consultation. However, Fisheries New Zealand and the Department of Conservation (DOC) have worked closely in the synchronized release of the respective proposals under fisheries and conservation legislation respectively.

14.     The marine protection proposals encompassed by the Hauraki Gulf Tīkapa Moana Marine Protection Bill are being addressed through a separate submission and associated report to the Planning, Environment, and Parks (PEP) Committee.

Tātaritanga me ngā tohutohu

Analysis and advice

15.     Each option proposed by Fisheries New Zealand to establish BFAZ areas in the Hauraki Gulf encompassed by the Marine Park boundaries represents a trade-off in which greater protection for marine benthic habitats corresponds to greater financial costs for the fisheries sector.

16.     The four proposed options vary in closing 74.1% to 87.3% of the Gulf to Danish seining and 77.1% to 89.2% of the Gulf to bottom trawl fishing (within a depth of 200 metres, which includes all of the inshore depths above the continental shelf). Current closures protect on average 35% of predicted suitable inshore habitat within the Hauraki Gulf:

A close-up of a number of fishing methods

Description automatically generated

17.     Auckland Council’s draft submission supports Option 4 which is the most restrictive option for mobile bottom contact fishing proposed. Option 4 would establish only four BFAZ areas, closing 87.3% of the Gulf shallower than 200m to Danish seine activity and 89.2% to bottom-trawling. It would result in an estimated 59-60% decrease in annual revenue for commercial fisheries using bottom trawl and Danish seine fishing methods based on port prices and export data.

18.     Fisheries New Zealand did not propose an option to close the entire Gulf to bottom contact fishing methods, as this would not align with the approach agreed by Cabinet in Revitalising the Gulf (2021) and the Hauraki Gulf Fisheries Plan (2023). Council staff have nonetheless identified a supplementary approach where closures of remaining BFAZ areas could be phased over time.

19.     The draft submission proposes the addition of a regulatory sunset clause to phase out bottom-trawling and Danish seining from the Gulf should one of Options 1- 4 be agreed by Cabinet. This presents an alternative approach to an immediate ban, while progressing towards the ideals of removing bottom-trawling and Danish seining from the Gulf. A complete and immediate ban poses the risk of displacing bottom contact fishing efforts to other regional waters, which could have a greater detrimental impact on benthic biodiversity overall.

20.     The draft submission supports the spatial planning approach taken to identifying BFAZ areas, which involved the assessment of considerable technical information. The submission advocates for continued monitoring and evaluation of the proposed areas’ effectiveness in protecting marine benthic habitats, including necessary central government funding for monitoring programmes.

21.     The draft submission also recognises the ongoing spread of Caulerpa brachypus in the Hauraki Gulf. Bottom contact fishing methods are not the primary vector for the spread of this exotic seaweed, but the submission advocates that fisheries management decisions explicitly consider the interaction with Caulerpa and the vectors for its dispersal, whether natural or through vectors involving vessels transiting the Gulf.

Tauākī whakaaweawe āhuarangi

Climate impact statement

22.     Marine biodiversity will be impacted by climate change, however the spatial approach to determining the BFAZ areas did not consider the impact of climate change on predicted habitat suitability. Council’s submission suggests that plans to model the impact of climate change scenarios on species distribution be prioritised and inform a review of the BFAZ area effectiveness in the Gulf.

23.     Council staff are simultaneously conducting research in the marine habitats program to understand the distribution of marine habitats in the Hauraki Gulf and their suspected carbon storage potential. Linkages with central government research have been made and will support these outcomes.

Ngā whakaaweawe me ngā tirohanga a te rōpū Kaunihera

Council group impacts and views

24.     Staff input on the draft submission was sought from the following council divisions:

a)   Chief Planning Office (Auckland Plan Strategy and Research, Plans and Places)

b)   Infrastructure and Environmental Services (Environmental Services)

c)   Regulatory Services (Resource Consents)

25.     Conversations with staff from Waikato Regional Council (WRC) were also held to help inform the development of the draft submission, as fisheries issues are transboundary in nature.

26.     Council-controlled organisations (CCOs) input on the Fisheries New Zealand discussion document was not actively sought, as the proposals are not anticipated to impact their activities. An invitation was sent to a Watercare Services Ltd staff member for a drop-in session held on 25 September 2023 to discuss the council staff approach to the Hauraki Gulf proposals.

Ngā whakaaweawe ā-rohe me ngā tirohanga a te poari ā-rohe

Local impacts and local board views

27.     Council staff presented an overview of the discussion document and anticipated key submission points to local board members on 18 September 2023, along with an information memo.

28.     Staff received feedback expressing diverse views from twenty of the twenty-one local boards in Tāmaki Makaurau / Auckland. The following table summarises the feedback received from local boards in Tāmaki Makaurau / Auckland:

Feedback/Support:

Local Boards:

Support for Option 1

1.   Rodney Local Board

Support for Option 4

1.   Franklin Local Board

2.   Henderson-Massey Local Board

3.   Hibiscus and Bays Local Board

4.   Papakura Local Board

5.   Whau Local Board

Do not support a proposed option; advocate for a complete ban on bottom-trawling and Danish seining in the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park

1.   Albert-Eden Local Board

2.   Aotea / Great Barrier Local Board

3.   Devonport-Takapuna Local Board

4.   Howick Local Board

5.   Kaipātiki Local Board*[3]

6.   Māngere-Ōtāhuhu Local Board

7.   Maungakiekie-Tāmaki Local Board

8.   Ōrākei Local Board

9.   Ōtara-Papatoetoe Local Board

10. Upper Harbour Local Board

11. Waiheke Local Board

12. Waitākere Ranges Local Board

13. Waitematā Local Board*

Concern about the potential impact of bottom fishing methods on the spread of Caulerpa brachypus exotic seaweed

1.   Albert-Eden Local Board

2.   Aotea / Great Barrier Local Board

3.   Devonport-Takapuna Local Board

4.   Franklin Local Board

5.   Hibiscus and Bays Local Board

6.   Howick Local Board

7.   Māngere-Ōtāhuhu Local Board

8.   Maungakiekie-Tāmaki Local Board

9.   Ōtara-Papatoetoe Local Board

10. Upper Harbour Local Board

11. Waiheke Local Board

12. Waitākere Ranges Local Board

13. Waitematā Local Board

14. Whau Local Board

Support a sunset clause on bottom-trawling and Danish seining

1.   Franklin Local Board

2.   Hibiscus and Bays Local Board

3.   Papakura Local Board

4.   Whau Local Board

Did not support any above options; supports actions to protect the biodiversity and environment of the Hauraki Gulf

1.   Puketāpapa Local Board

No feedback received

1.   Manurewa Local Board

Tauākī whakaaweawe Māori

Māori impact statement

29.     There are implications for Māori with the proposed BFAZ areas, as the Hauraki Gulf / Tīkapa Moana / Te Moananui-ā-Toi (the Gulf) is a taonga, ancestor, and pātaka kai.

30.     Māori have rights and interests in fishing whether this is commercial, recreational and / or for customary non-commercial purposes. The nature of this proposal affects how commercial fishing is undertaken, rather than how much can be taken of relevant species caught by bottom trawl and Danish seine fishing methods. Māori hold 12% of the total quota shares for fish stocks most heavily impacted by bottom contact fishing methods. Commercial fishing interests, including Māori, have been involved in the development of the proposals through the Hauraki Gulf Fisheries Plan Advisory Group, or through direct engagement by Fisheries New Zealand.

31.     Fisheries New Zealand has engaged directly with tangata whenua throughout the development of Revitalising the Gulf and the Fisheries Plan from April 2020 to April 2022, including the proposal to develop trawl corridors, as subsequently entitled BFAZ areas. This includes engagement with iwi fisheries forums in areas that could be on the receiving end of displaced fishing activities resulting from the proposal.

32.     Iwi entities within the Auckland region have been advised that Auckland Council would be preparing a submission on the bottom fishing access zones discussion document and their feedback has been sought should they wish to offer it to Auckland Council, other than making their own representations to Fisheries New Zealand.

Ngā ritenga ā-pūtea

Financial implications

33.     The proposals are not anticipated to have financial implications for Auckland Council. Central government (primarily Fisheries NZ) will bear the responsibility for enacting, enforcing, and monitoring the outcomes.

34.     The approach taken to manage bottom fishing will impact the fisheries sector and could increase fish prices for consumers, including domestic supply to the Auckland market. The option supported by the draft Auckland Council submission is anticipated to reduce annual revenues for commercial fishers by $4.3 million based on port prices, and $6.2 million in annual export revenue. These estimated costs omit from consideration other impacting variables, such as displacement of fishing efforts, market prices, or income for wholesalers / processors / retailers. These estimates are not apportioned to give a view on local domestic supply impacts.


 

Ngā raru tūpono me ngā whakamaurutanga

Risks and mitigations

35.     There is a reputational risk should Auckland Council choose not to submit on the proposed options by Fisheries New Zealand. Auckland Council has supported previous central government commitments to pursue a BFAZ area approach prioritising areas with high fisheries importance and low importance for biogenic habitats. Supporting the status quo or a complete and immediate ban on bottom contact fishing methods would contradict previous council input and guidance.

36.     The displacement of bottom contact fishing methods represents a risk to the effectiveness of the proposals in protecting marine benthic habitats. The inclusion of a sunset clause is intended to mitigate this risk by gradually phasing out the allowable scale of bottom-fishing and Danish seining in alignment with the ongoing decline of these activities in the Gulf. Other than the ongoing rationalisation of the inshore fleet (some of which is quite aged), it is envisaged that commercial fishers could transition to using other fishing vessels set up with less harmful fishing methods.

Ngā koringa ā-muri

Next steps

37.     Consultation on the bottom fishing access zones discussion document closes on 6 November 2023. Delegated members of the Planning, Environment and Parks Committee will be provided a completed submission for their approval on 3 November 2023. Staff will dispatch to Fisheries NZ once approval has been received, but no later than 6 November 2023.

 

Ngā tāpirihanga

Attachments

No.

Title

Page

a

Bottom Fishing Access Zones- Draft Submission for Planning, Environment, and Parks Committee

 

b

Local Board Feedback- Bottom Fishing Access Zones

 

     

Ngā kaihaina

Signatories

Author

Olivia Blanchette - Senior Analyst Natural Environment Strategy

Authorisers

Jacques Victor – General Manager Auckland Plan Strategy and Research

Megan Tyler - Chief of Strategy

 

 


Planning, Environment and Parks Committee

02 November 2023

 

Natural environment and water quality targeted rates annual report 2022/2023

File No.: CP2023/11219

 

  

 

Te take mō te pūrongo

Purpose of the report

1.       To note the annual report for 2022/2023 on delivery of the natural environment and water quality targeted rate work programmes and the annual report on implementation of the Regional Pest Management Plan 2020-2030.

Whakarāpopototanga matua

Executive summary

2.       The natural environment and water quality targeted rates were established in 2018 to respond to increasing pressures and grow Auckland Council's investment in protecting and restoring our natural environment and improving water quality.

3.       The Long-term Plan 2021-2031 included an extension of both targeted rates to 2031 and an increase to the water quality targeted rate, enabling the eastern isthmus water quality improvement and southern catchments alignment programme to be brought forward six years.

4.       The total budgeted expenditure of the two targeted rates is $948 million over the 10-year period from 2021-2031. In the 2022/2023 financial year, the natural environment programme spent a total of $37 million against a budget of $38 million, and the water quality programme spent a total of $24 million against a budget of $27 million.

5.       The January and February weather events damaged some upgraded tracks in the Waitākere Ranges Regional Park and Kaipātiki Local Board area. There were no major storm impacts to the water quality targeted rate programmes, although water quality across Auckland has been affected by wastewater overflows caused by flooding and debris being washed into waterways through the storm events through 2023.

6.       Both targeted rates made significant progress in 2022/2023 towards achieving environmental and water quality outcomes.

7.       This report provides a summary of the key achievements from the natural environment and water quality targeted rate programmes for 2022/2023. A detailed annual highlights report is provided as Attachment A.

8.       Through the natural environment programmes, the targeted rate funds the protection of native ecosystems and species and the implementation of the Regional Pest Management Plan 2020-2030. This includes the pest management highlights set out in this report.

9.       Under Section 100B of the Biosecurity Act, the council is required to report annually on its operational plan for implementing the Regional Pest Management Plan. The annual report for 2022/2023 is provided in Attachment B. An updated operational plan can be found on the council website.

10.     The natural environment and water quality targeted rates annual report will be published on the council website. Throughout the year, quarterly updates on the natural environment and water quality programmes will be provided to the Governing Body and additional updates on specific programmes will be provided to committees and local boards as required.

 


 

Ngā tūtohunga

Recommendations

That the Planning, Environment and Parks Committee:

a)      tuhi ā-taipitopito / note the annual report on the natural environment and water quality targeted rate work programmes

b)      tuhi ā-taipitopito / note the annual report on the operational plan implementing the Regional Pest Management Plan 2020-2030

c)       tuhi ā-taipitopito / note the updated operational plan implementing the Regional Pest Management Plan 2020-2030.

 

Horopaki

Context

11.     Auckland Council’s Long-term Plan 2018-2028 introduced the natural environment and water quality targeted rates. These targeted rates provided $311 million of investment towards environmental outcomes and to deliver on the statutory Regional Pest Management Plan 2020-2030 and $452 million for investment into water quality outcomes over 10 years.

12.     In June 2021, the Long-term Plan 2021-2031 was adopted. This included extension of the water quality targeted rate to 2031 and increasing it in line with general rates. This provides an additional $256 million investment into water quality outcomes over 10 years. The extension and increase of the water quality targeted rate will help continue to improve water quality in other areas of the city, including coastal water quality from Hobson Bay to St Heliers, as well as the Manukau Harbour.

13.     The natural environment targeted rate was also extended to 2031, with an additional $107 million of investment into environmental outcomes, although not increasing it in line with general rates. Ongoing investment will be required to maintain the benefits gained from this work programme, particularly as environmental pressures increase with new invasive species such as exotic Caulerpa and as delivery costs increase with inflation.

Tātaritanga me ngā tohutohu

Analysis and advice

14.     Key highlights from the fifth year of delivery of the natural environment and water quality targeted rate work programmes are summarised in the end of year report in Attachment A.

15.     Key outcomes from the delivery of the natural environment targeted rate work programmes in 2022/2023 include:

·        Biodiversity Focus Areas: we collaborated with mana whenua to complete a survey of 10 threatened plant species across 30 sites. The pekapeka-tou-roa (long-tailed bat) survey was delivered for a second year across the Franklin Local Board area as part of the Finding Franklin Bats project, with 51 long-tailed bat roosts detected.

·        Plant pathogens: 12.1km of tracks were upgraded in regional parks and 4.7km in local parks. The council is partnering with ngā iwi mana whenua o Te Ngāherehere o Kohukohunui to conduct a baseline survey of kauri health in the Hunua Ranges.

·        Mainland: we delivered 2579ha of pest plant control in regional parks and 23,000ha of ground-based possum control across the region. Both ground and aerial pest animal control in the Hunua Ranges has contributed to a record-breaking kōkako population survey, with 259 pairs recorded, up from 55 in 2015 and 116 in 2018.

·        Islands: on Aotea / Great Barrier Island, 57ha across four sites were declared free of Argentine ants. Te Korowai o Waiheke pest animal eradication programme removed 9200 pests, including 180 stoats.

·        Marine and pathways: despite frequent unfavourable weather conditions, 1383 vessels were inspected, surpassing the annual target of 1150. Our dog handlers and their pest and pathogen detection dogs inspected 853 ferry sailings, up 13 per cent from last year. They identified 125 risky goods on sailings and four items were intercepted. Dog handlers and their dogs also inspected 25 relocated houses before they were transported to the Hauraki Gulf islands.

·        Marine ecology: 16 priority seabird species were monitored and researched this year to assess population trends and distribution to help inform management requirements.

·        Expanding community action: the Community Coordination and Facilitation grant invested $1.43 million in community-led conservation (comprising $625,003 from NETR and $417,996 from Healthy Waters) across 35 projects. The grant supports group planning and organisational support alongside the embedding of coordinators and facilitators in the community.

·        Enabling tools: 120,000 Aucklanders visited the Tiaki Tāmaki Makaurau | Conservation Auckland website for current best practice conservation information, including resources to help Aucklanders get involved in conservation on public and private land.

16.     Most of the water quality targeted rate work programmes were on track at the end of the 2022/2023 financial year. Some projects within the western isthmus water quality improvement programme were delayed. This includes Picton Street separation, which was delayed due to an archaeological find, and Great North Road, Potatau Street and Pt Chevalier upgrades which were paused while Auckland Transport projects in those areas were being reviewed. The overall programme remains on track.

17.     Key outcomes from the delivery of the water quality work programmes in 2022/2023 include:

·        Western isthmus water quality improvement: work planned for the St Marys Bay, Herne Bay and Pt Erin catchments has been redesigned to deliver better cost efficiency and water quality improvements in wet weather. A key outcome for this year was the decision to extend the Central Interceptor tunnel from Grey Lynn to Pt Erin and associated design and consenting work.

·        Safe Networks: we tested 130 stormwater outlets across 25 beaches and began a further 14 network investigations. We inspected private property drainage at over 8000 properties. Private drainage issues were referred to the compliance team to work with property owners, and approximately 155 private issues were resolved this year.

·        Safe Septic: new digital processes have enabled the council to track onsite wastewater system compliance. More than 3000 systems became compliant this year, and 494 faulty systems were repaired following compliance investigation.

·        Urban and rural stream rehabilitation: through the Regional Waterway Protection Fund, we provided 50 per cent co-funding for landowners to install 16.5km of fencing, protect 47.5ha of riparian areas, 33km of waterways and 12.5ha of wetlands, and plant approximately 160,000 plants in newly protected areas.

·        Contaminant reduction: the Kaipara Moana Remediation programme enabled installation of 550km of fencing and planted 1.1 million plants, which will reduce sediment contamination to Kaipara Moana. Through the Industrial and Trade Activity Proactive Programme pilot, staff visited 60 sites in Wiri to discuss actions business can take to reduce their impact on water quality.

·        Eastern isthmus water quality improvement: private drainage separation inspection work has been completed in Newmarket, which will help to develop wet weather overflow solutions for the area. Design work is underway for separation and extension of stormwater networks in the Khyber Pass area. This work will complement Watercare’s investment in the wastewater network and will improve water quality in coastal environments from Hobson Bay to St Heliers.

·        Southern catchments alignment: this year we focussed on identifying opportunities for projects where we could implement water quality improvements alongside scheduled infrastructure improvements.

18.     Water services currently delivered by Auckland Council are expected to transfer to a new entity, Wai Tāmaki ki te Hiku, on 1 July 2024 under the water services reform legislation. This will include urban stormwater and some water quality functions. The potential impact of water reform on the water quality targeted rate is still to be determined.

Impacts of the January and February storm events

19.     Responses to the Auckland Anniversary storm and Cyclone Gabrielle required the diversion of some resources into operational and response work. This has not had a material impact on the overall delivery of the targeted rate programmes. 

20.     The storm events damaged some upgraded tracks in the Waitākere Ranges Regional Park and Kaipātiki Local Board area. This delayed the re-opening of the Kuataika-Houghton tracks and Auckland City Walk which were otherwise completed. Some other tracks were damaged and will need further investigation or repairs before reopening, including the Gibbons, Muir and Zig Zag tracks. In Kaipātiki, significant slip damage has closed tracks in Le Roys Bush Reserve, and remedial work to address scouring, damage to structures, tree fall and minor slips continues in Eskdale, Leigh Scenic, Fern Glen and Kauri Glen Reserves.

21.     Following the storms, the council undertook additional surveillance on the Tīkapa Moana / Hauraki Gulf islands to check for pests that may have been transported to the islands by the storms. Some impacts on pest spread may not be apparent for years. For example, the storms are likely to have spread pest plant species that are being targeted for eradication throughout the region. Additional survey for these will be required for several years as a result and there is increased risk to eradication success.

22.     Despite diversion of resources to storm response, there were no major storm impacts to the water quality targeted rate programmes. Water quality across Auckland has been affected by storm events through 2023, most significantly by wastewater overflows caused by flooding and debris being washed into waterways. The work delivered by the water quality targeted rate programmes so far has given us the tools and knowledge to support this recovery for stream rehabilitation and will be an ongoing focus in future work programmes.

Regional pest management plan

23.     The natural environment targeted rate funds the implementation of the Regional Pest Management Plan 2020-2030. This includes those pest management highlights set out above.

24.     Under Section 100B of the Biosecurity Act, the council is required to report annually on its operational plan for implementing the Regional Pest Management Plan. The annual report for 2022/2023 is shown in Attachment B.

25.     The operational plan itself has also been updated, to better align key performance indicators with current reporting on the natural environment targeted rate. The updated operational plan can be accessed online.

26.     The current Auckland Regional Pest Management Plan (RPMP) is scheduled to be operative until 2030.

27.     Project planning is underway for the next RPMP. Elected member engagement on the new RPMP will commence in mid-2024. Preliminary public consultation will occur in late 2024, and formal consultation on a draft plan in 2027.


 

Tauākī whakaaweawe āhuarangi

Climate impact statement

28.     Indigenous flora and fauna are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change through habitat loss, extreme heat and drought, and exotic species that can adapt more easily to a changing climate. Protecting and restoring indigenous ecosystems and controlling pest plants and animals improves the resilience of native species to the impacts of climate change.

29.     The natural environment targeted rate programme contributes to the following action areas of Te Tāruke-ā-Tāwhiri: Auckland's Climate Plan through ecological restoration, pest control and planting:

·        Action area N1: Build the resilience of Auckland’s indigenous biodiversity, habitats and ecosystems to the impacts of climate change

·        Action area N2: Grow and protect our rural and urban ngahere (forest) to maximise carbon capture and build resilience to climate change

·        Action area N4: Maximise potential of terrestrial and marine ecosystems to capture carbon.

30.     The water quality targeted rate programme contributes to the following action areas of Te Tāruke-ā-Tāwhiri: Auckland's Climate Plan:

·        Action area B2. Ensure new infrastructure is planned and designed to minimise climate risks and lifecycle emissions

·        Action area N5: Advocate for land use practices that deliver healthy, resilient soils, waterways and ecosystems.

31.     Initiatives such as the Regional Waterway Protection Fund, Trees for Survival and the contaminant reduction programmes support rural Aucklanders to protect local waterways, improving biodiversity and making waterways more resilient to the impacts of climate change.

32.     The western isthmus and eastern isthmus water quality improvement programmes fast-track major infrastructure upgrades to significantly reduce wastewater overflows entering our waterways. These upgrades allow us to better manage the increasing demands on our network due to wet weather and population growth.

Ngā whakaaweawe me ngā tirohanga a te rōpū Kaunihera

Council group impacts and views

33.     Delivery of the natural environment targeted rate is led by Environmental Services, working closely with departments across the council. The kauri dieback management, expanding community action and mainland programmes are co-delivered with Parks and Community Facilities. The marine ecology programme is led by RIMU, and the Biodiversity Focus Areas programme is supported by the Research and Evaluation Unit (RIMU). The enabling tools programme is supported by ICT.

34.     Delivery of the water quality targeted rate is led by Healthy Waters, working with the council’s Compliance unit for the Safe Networks, Safe Septic and contaminant reduction programme.

35.     The western isthmus and eastern isthmus water quality improvement programmes are co-delivered by Healthy Waters and Watercare. Watercare’s investment in these programmes supports their annual targets for fewer wastewater overflows, as well as lower volumes, and complements their Central Interceptor programme.

Ngā whakaaweawe ā-rohe me ngā tirohanga a te poari ā-rohe

Local impacts and local board views

36.     As part of the Long-term Plan 2021-2031, local boards were consulted on the proposed extension of the natural environment targeted rate, and extension and increase of the water quality targeted rate.

37.     Eighteen local boards supported the extension of the natural environment targeted rate. Seventeen local boards supported the proposed extension and increase to the water quality targeted rate, and four supported the extension only.

38.     Local boards are provided with an annual snapshot of the regionally funded natural environment and water quality targeted rate delivery in their areas. These snapshots will be provided in October 2023.

39.     Staff engage with local boards on specific targeted rate-funded projects in their local areas, and seek local board views on individual projects where appropriate. Where possible targeted rate programmes and locally driven initiative-funded programmes are aligned at a local level to be complementary and to optimise investment in local environmental and water quality outcomes.

Tauākī whakaaweawe Māori

Māori impact statement

40.     Both the natural environment and water quality targeted rate programmes contribute to the Kia ora te Taiao outcome of Kia ora Tāmaki Makaurau, the council’s Māori outcomes performance measurement framework. The mahi outcome statement for this area is ‘Māori exercise tino rangatiratanga and kaitiakitanga through Te Tiriti based relationships with the council group, to enhance the mauri of te taiao’.

41.     The following are examples of programmes that highlight how these targeted rates are being used to give effect to this outcome, by supporting and enabling mana whenua to exercise tino rangatiratanga and kaitiakitanga of their ancestral lands.

Natural environment targeted rate

42.     Auckland Council is partnering with ngā iwi mana whenua o Te Ngāherehere o Kohukohunui, Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki, Ngāti Tamaoho, Ngāti Te Ata, Ngāti Whanaunga, Ngāti Tamaterā, and the Department of Conservation to conduct a baseline survey of kauri health in Te Ngāherehere o Kohukohunui / Hunua Ranges. There are mana whenua representatives on the steering group and iwi members working alongside the council contractor. This approach ensures that tikanga is central to the programme.

43.     Te Wharekura, the heritage B category kiosk on Quay Street, has been repurposed into a cultural and environmental digital storytelling place through a co-design and co-delivery process with Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei. Interactive screens, audio and written media encourage visitors to reflect on how they engage with, and are connected to, their local environment. Other iwi have been invited to participate in this kaupapa by Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei. Te Wharekura is a contemporary expression of ahikā for iwi, and a place that provides both te ao Māori and western science perspectives to environmental education of the Hauraki Gulf / Tīkapa Moana / Te Moananui ā Toi.

44.     Partnership with mana whenua takes place through other programmes throughout the natural environment targeted rate programme, including the Tū Mai Taonga pest eradication project on Aotea / Great Barrier Island, led by Ngāti Rehua Ngātiwai ki Aotea, a rangatahi internship programme, and a pekapeka-tou-roa (long-tailed bat) survey with Te Ara Hikoi (Predator Free Franklin) and local iwi. We are also working to realise mana whenua aspirations for Tiaki Tāmaki Makaurau, with some significant enhancements and new content expected in the coming year and have co-designed a ecosystem restoration guide with mana whenua which is soon to be released.

Water quality targeted rate

45.     Partnership with mana whenua is a key outcome of the Hōteo Project with representatives from Ngā Maunga Whakahī o Kaipara, Te Uri o Hau and Ngāti Manuhiri co-leading the programme. A cultural monitoring framework has been developed specifically for the project and for the Hōteo awa. Drones have been provided to each hapū, along with drone certification and training, as well as upskilling in water quality testing techniques to input into the cultural monitoring results. On the geomorphic side of the project, mana whenua representatives selected the sites in collaboration with the local community, and all paid contractual works in the project have been offered to mana whenua first.

46.     Safe Networks main focus is investigative work improving water quality. The goals to improve water quality is by improving wastewater cross connections from stormwater and streams. As part of the Safe Networks programme, engagement with the Ngāti Whātua environmental team has enabled iwi to conduct water sampling at their significant sites, providing a level of cultural monitoring for their iwi. 

Ngā ritenga ā-pūtea

Financial implications

47.     The Long-term Plan 2021-2031 includes budgeted expenditure of $355 million for the natural environment targeted rate and $593 million for the water quality targeted rate.

48.     In the 2022/2023 financial year, the natural environment programme spent a total of $37 million against a budget of $38 million, and the water quality programme spent a total of $24 million against a budget of $27 million.

49.     The water quality targeted rate programme had a capital expenditure underspend of $3.7 million, primarily due to resources being re-directed to support operations and urgent works triggered by the extreme weather events. There was a $2.6 million operational expenditure overspend due to storm response work.

50.     The natural environment targeted rate programme had a planned capital expenditure overspend of $2 million owing to the acceleration of regional park track upgrades. There was a $4.2 million underspend primarily driven by delays in pest plant and pest animal control work on regional parks due to reduced staff and contractor capacity as resources were reallocated to storm response work. Some work also could not be completed because of ground conditions.

51.     As part of the Annual Budget 2023/2024, the Governing Body agreed to temporarily reduce the natural environment targeted rate by 48.8 per cent and the water quality targeted rate by 77.7 per cent for one year and use the money in the reserve funds for these rates to continue to deliver their work programmes as planned in 2023/2024 (GB/2023/118). This use of the reserve will impact planned outer-year NETR delivery, with decisions relating to future years for the targeted rates being made through the Long-term Plan 2024-2034 process.

Ngā raru tūpono me ngā whakamaurutanga

Risks and mitigations

52.     Increasing costs and demand for construction materials, labour and professional services continue to affect the timeframes and costs of planned projects funded by both targeted rates. This is being partially mitigated through early engagement with suppliers and a strategic procurement approach.

53.     Flood response and recovery work has increased supplier demand for some types of work, causing an industry-wide shortage of resources and price increases for services.

54.     There is a risk that the arrival and spread of invasive species such as exotic Caulerpa will require the diversion of resources from existing natural environment targeted rate programmes. Resourcing for some programmes will need to be re-examined through the Long-term Plan 2024-2034 development process.

Ngā koringa ā-muri

Next steps

55.     The final natural environment and water quality targeted rates annual report will be published on the council website.

56.     The next annual report on the natural environment targeted rate and the Regional Pest Management Plan will be provided to the Planning, Environment and Parks following the end of the 2023/2024 financial year. Annual reporting requirements for the water quality targeted rate following 1 July 2024 are still to be determined.

57.     Throughout the year, quarterly updates on the natural environment and water quality programmes will be provided to the Governing Body through its quarterly performance reporting, and additional updates on specific programmes will be provided to committees and local boards as required.

 

Ngā tāpirihanga

Attachments

No.

Title

Page

a

Natural environment and water quality targeted rates annual report 2022/2023

 

b

Annual report on the Regional Pest Management Plan Operational Plan 2022-2030

 

     

Ngā kaihaina

Signatories

Authors

Rachel Kelleher – General Manager Environmental Services

Craig Mcilroy – General Manager Healthy Waters

Authorisers

Barry Potter - Director Infrastructure and Environmental Services

Megan Tyler - Chief of Strategy

 

 


Planning, Environment and Parks Committee

02 November 2023

 

Summary of Planning, Environment and Parks Committee information memoranda, workshops and briefings (including the Forward Work Programme) - 2 November 2023

File No.: CP2023/15324

 

  

Te take mō te pūrongo

Purpose of the report

1.       To tuhi ā-taipitopito / note the progress on the forward work programme appended as Attachment A.

2.       To whiwhi / receive a summary and provide a public record of memoranda, workshop and briefing papers that may have been held or been distributed to committee members.

Whakarāpopototanga matua

Executive summary

3.       This is a regular information-only report which aims to provide greater visibility of information circulated to committee members via memoranda/workshops and briefings or other means, where no decisions are required.

4.       As noted previously decisions on the Annual Budget may well affect the forward work programme.  The work programme underpinning the long-term scope of work as a result of the flooding events will also mean that this work programme will need to be reprioritised and updated.  Items raised at committee where work continues, as well as items from departmental work programmes, are being worked through and in coming iterations will be highlighted on the forward work programme as appropriate.

5.       The following memoranda/information have been sent:

Date

Subject

28/8/20223

Memorandum – Shot Tower Removal

2/10/2023

Memorandum - Auckland Unitary Plan - recent decisions on council plan changes and private plan change requests

3/10/2023

Memorandum – Publication of the 2023 Housing and Business Development Capacity Assessment (HBA) for the Auckland Region

3/10/2023

Memorandum - Resource Management system reform: Transitional National Planning Framework

12/10/2023

Memorandum - Progress update: Implementation of the change programme from the review of Community Occupancy Guidelines 2012

18/10/2023

Memorandum - El Niño climate event: Implications for Tāmaki Makaurau / Auckland and preparedness

 


 

6.       The following workshops/briefings have taken place for the committee:

Date

Subject

4/9/2023

National Policy Statement – Freshwater Management Political Working Group – Agenda, minutes and minutes attachments

11/10/2023

Planning, Environment and Parks Committee workshop – Waste Assessment 2023 and review of the Waste Management and Minimisation Plan 2018

11/10/2023

Planning, Environment and Parks Committee workshop – Auckland City Centre Action Plan: Our priorities for a thriving city centre

16/10/2023

Open Space, Sport and Recreation Joint Political Working Group – Agenda, minutes and minutes attachments

25/10/2023

Planning, Environment and Parks Committee confidential workshop – Future Development Strategy – no attachment

7.       These documents can be found on the Auckland Council website, at the following link:

http://infocouncil.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/

at the top left of the page, select meeting/te hui “Governing Body” from the drop-down tab and click “View”;

under ‘Attachments’, select either the HTML or PDF version of the document entitled ‘Extra Attachments’.

8.       Note that, unlike an agenda report, staff will not be present to answer questions about the items referred to in this summary.  Governing Body members should direct any questions to the authors.

 

Ngā tūtohunga

Recommendation/s

That the Planning, Environment and Parks Committee:

a)      tuhi ā-taipitopito / note the progress on the forward work programme appended as Attachment A of the agenda report

b)      whiwhi / receive the Summary of the Planning, Environment and Parks Committee information memoranda, workshops and briefings – 2 November 2023.

 

Ngā tāpirihanga

Attachments

No.

Title

Page

a

Planning, Environment and Parks Committee - Forward Work Programme

 

b

Memorandum – Shot Tower Removal, 28 August 2023 (Under Separate Cover)

 

c

Memorandum - Auckland Unitary Plan - recent decisions on council plan changes and private plan change requests, 2 October 2023 (Under Separate Cover)

 

d

Memorandum – Publication of the 2023 Housing and Business Development Capacity Assessment (HBA) for the Auckland Region, 3 October 2023 (Under Separate Cover)

 

e

Memorandum - Resource Management system reform: Transitional National Planning Framework, 3 October 2023 (Under Separate Cover)

 

f

Memorandum - Progress update: Implementation of the change programme from the review of Community Occupancy Guidelines 2012, 12 October 2023 (Under Separate Cover)

 

g

Memorandum - El Niño climate event: Implications for Tāmaki Makaurau / Auckland and preparedness, 18 October 2023 (Under Separate Cover)

 

h

National Policy Statement – Freshwater Management Political Working Group, 4 September 2023 - Agenda, minutes and minutes attachments (Under Separate Cover)

 

i

Planning, Environment and Parks Committee workshop – Waste Assessment 2023 and review of the Waste Management and Minimisation Plan 2018, 11 October 2023 (Under Separate Cover)

 

j

Planning, Environment and Parks Committee workshop - Auckland City Centre Action Plan: Our priorities for a thriving city centre, 11 October 2023 (Under Separate Cover)

 

k

Open Space, Sport and Recreation Joint Political Working Group – Agenda, minutes and minutes attachments, 16 October 2023 (Under Separate Cover)

 

     

Ngā kaihaina

Signatories

Author

Sandra Gordon - Kaitohutohu Mana Whakahaere Matua / Senior Governance Advisor

Authoriser

Megan Tyler - Chief of Strategy

 

 


Planning, Environment and Parks Committee

02 November 2023

 

 

Exclusion of the Public: Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987

That the Planning, Environment and Parks Committee

a)      whakaae / agree to exclude the public from the following part(s) of the proceedings of this meeting.

The general subject of each matter to be considered while the public is excluded, the reason for passing this resolution in relation to each matter, and the specific grounds under section 48(1) of the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987 for the passing of this resolution follows.

This resolution is made in reliance on section 48(1)(a) of the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987 and the particular interest or interests protected by section 6 or section 7 of that Act which would be prejudiced by the holding of the whole or relevant part of the proceedings of the meeting in public, as follows:

 

C1       CONFIDENTIAL: Auckland Unitary Plan - Proposed Plan Change 78 - Intensification. Submissions on city centre zone and precincts (Covering report)

Reason for passing this resolution in relation to each matter

Particular interest(s) protected (where applicable)

Ground(s) under section 48(1) for the passing of this resolution

The public conduct of the part of the meeting would be likely to result in the disclosure of information for which good reason for withholding exists under section 7.

s7(2)(g) - The withholding of the information is necessary to maintain legal professional privilege.

s7(2)(i) - The withholding of the information is necessary to enable the local authority to carry on, without prejudice or disadvantage, negotiations (including commercial and industrial negotiations).

In particular, the report contains advice in relation to the council's case before the independent hearings panel established to hear and make recommendations on submissions relating to proposed Plan Change 78 - Intensification

s48(1)(a)

The public conduct of the part of the meeting would be likely to result in the disclosure of information for which good reason for withholding exists under section 7.

 



[1] Business Desk. Powered by the sun: NZ's top 10 projects. 22 July 2023. (sourced https://businessdesk.co.nz/article/environment/powered-by-the-sun-nzs-top-10-projects)

[2] See https://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/nearly-two-million-solar-panels-fast-tracked

[3] * Indicates that this local board also acknowledged Option 4 as the most restrictive option proposed