Waikato Biodiversity Waikato Biodiversity

INFO   District Councils

Please refer to the Quality Planning website for more information on Councils and Indigenous biodiversity see the Quality Planning pages

The main points from a meeting organised by The Waikato Biodiversity Forum and Environment Waikato to discuss issues related to biodiversity management and District Council Planning.

General Points

  • Regulatory mechanisms to apply not just to landowners and farmers but other resource users e.g. energy, roading and forestry 
  • Have to get buy in from all the key players 
  • Use LENZ, LCDB, overlay on aerials to find out sites of significant natural areas (SNA) 
  • Establish protocols in relation to visiting landowners about SNAs 
  • Incentives to be provided to developers of subdivisions as part of a package 
  • Issues related to developing a schedule include criteria can change 
  • Accuracy of information 
  • Basis for identifying as significance for protection
  • Combination of blanket and target rules useful 
  • Monitoring of sites is important 
  • Developing a schedule is expensive and dependent on finance available 
  • Survey information varies in quality 
  • Important to have a baseline information to use for prioritizing

Why use targeted rules through schedules 

  • To understand what is happening 
  • Informed landowners and community 
  • Should be on LIM 
  • Protects significant bush being removed 
  • Rules need to be designed according to threats and what biodiversity is present 
  • Rationale needs to be clear 
  • Targeted rules could be seen as re-active 
  • Process can also include support for landowners 
  • S.32 schedule vs other approaches 
  • Option include blanket, LENZ bases targeted rules 
  • Collecting data on SNA can be expensive, data can date, data can be used incorrectly 
  • Needs to relate to RPS rules 
  • Far North District Council use process tools

Package for biodiversity protection could include:

  • Rules, subdivision incentives and rate remission 
  • Sites on a schedule that are first in line for funding assistance- entry point to a raft of funding etc advice, assistance 
  • Support for management of key sites on-going 
  • Those who protect site receive benefits eg copy of QEII magazine, guide, possum trap, library 
  • Physically protect the best, legally protect the rest. Top 100-proactive, blanket rules cover the rest 
  • Can have list of top sites outside the District Plan which can be updated, gets get over privacy issues, District Plan can say "work with these landowners". 
  • If you need a list of Top 20-100 level of information needed is lower 
  • Landowners need to be aware that no more controls will be put on them if their site is listed in the schedule 
  • Local farmers can be champions to bring others on board 
  • Send letter out to landowners explaining what you are going to do, schedule etc in advance of doing it. They will then have a chance to comment at that stage 
  • Regional Plan rules-District Plan rules. Districts will need to take note of rule gaps in their District Plan reviews eg EW has rules for large scale vegetation clearance on steep slopes 
  • Introducing rules can generate a lot of animosity and may not deal with the issues of pest control and stock grazing 
  • Look at your desired end result and then work backwards

Non-regulatory approaches

  • Rate remission 
  • Bonus lots extra subdivision rights in return for protecting biodiversity 
  • Supporting catchment management and community groups 
  • Funding - local, regional, national, industry funding, mitigation money
  • Education
  • Free consent processing to enhance an area
  • Develop codes of practice 
  • Net environmental gain eg clear 1-10ha bush put rest in covenant 
  • Pest control assistance 
  • Reserve management plans-Councils leading by example using ecosourced plants
  • Recognition by way of awards - environmental citizens awards
  • Information and advice