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Review of NZ coastal policy statement

May 12, 2010

thanks to Neil Mackinder on Flickr

I’m a bit slow on commenting on the review of New Zealand’s coastal policy statement considering it was released six days ago. I think it is appalling that one of the authors had to release it because the government were essentially trying to bury it and wouldn’t make it public.

What it highlights is risks to our coastline, such as uncontrolled development and increasing degradation of coastline water from both point source and non-point source discharges. It says “this degradation has widespread adverse effects on economic social, cultural and environmental wellbeing”.

The report recommends strengthening regulations and preserving and protecting outstanding natural features, including surf breaks of national signficance. Yes, so it should: for too long great surf breaks have been stuffed up by developments affecting the swell corridor and ruined by discharges, access limitations and changes to natural character (Blackhead in Dunedin is one break that comes to mind). There are no mechanisms in place to protect surf breaks.

Unfortunately the conservation minister Kate Wilkinson says she has no intention on rushing decisions on the policy and it seems clear already that the government does not have much interest in fixing some of the problems facing our coastline, which are only going to get worse.

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