May 24, 2021
Maori landowners alarmed at significant natural areas plan
A Far North District councillor says a provision for significant natural areas in the draft district plan is creating a headache for the council.
Once land is declared an SNA, owners must seek a resource consent if they want to modify it.
Moko Tepania says the council has extended the date for submissions to June 11 because of the high public interest, including many large hapū hui where people are objecting to any restrictions on the use of their whenua.
He says all councils will eventually have to go through the process, which is driven by the draft national policy statement on indigenous biodiversity attached to the Resource Management Act.
While he agrees with the need to protect the ngahere, the process rankles with many of the 9000 far north property owners affected.
"Whānau are saying 'no we just don't want it, don't make it happen,' but that isn't a possibility in what we can do right at the bottom of the whakapapa of SNAs which falls out of central government so the message for me is what can we do as council to make sure that although we cannot remove the provision of SNAs, how we can make sure the SNAs identified are correct," he says.
Mr Tepania says the council needs to ensure whānau understand the new process, because the district plan will be in place for at least the next 10 years.
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