Natural hazards : RMA plan analysis to manage existing use rights and implementation of the New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement 2010

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Saunders, W.S.A.; Ruske, M.; Coomer, M.A. 2015 Natural hazards : RMA plan analysis to manage existing use rights and implementation of the New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement 2010. Lower Hutt, N.Z.: GNS Science. GNS Science report 2015/30 78 p.

Abstract: This report assesses how existing use rights are managed for natural hazards; and how natural hazard provisions in the New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement (NZCPS 2010) have been given effect to in operative Regional Policy Statements (RPSs), regional plans and regional coastal plans, and in district plans. The objectives of this project were to: Undertake an analysis of how the natural hazard provisions in the NZCPS 2010 have been given effect to in operative RPSs, regional plans and regional coastal plans, and in district plans; Investigate how existing use rights for natural hazards are managed within RPSs, regional plans (including coastal), district plans, and unitary plans; Undertake a case study assessment of best practice in natural hazards provisions on the above. This included one operative RPS and two proposed RPS’s and a combined regional coastal plan. Ensure the results of this study are able to be compared and integrated into the analysis previously undertaken (Saunders, Beban et al. 2014), and to undertake this comparison. A total of 99 plans were assessed for their management of existing use rights, and 84 plans for their coastal objectives, policies and rules. The assessment of existing use rights found that plans follow the legislative requirements set out in s10 of the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA); that is, regional councils are generally not taking responsibility for reassessing existing use rights. This has the implication of existing use rights being allowed to continue, even in high risk areas. There is an opportunity to scope the options on how existing use rights can be further managed, and regional powers implemented, to reduce future risks. The second edition of the NZCPS 2010 came into effect in December 2010, almost five years ago, which is considered time enough to give effect to the NZCPS 2010 through RPS’s, regional and district plans. However, it was found that many plans are yet to give full effect to provisions in the NZCPS 2010. The implementation could be improved by strengthening the linkage to the RMA. While the NZCPS 2010 takes a risk-based approach, currently the RMA does not. However, proposed RMA reforms, which include managing significant natural hazard risk, rather than just hazard, will assist with this linkage. All aspects analysed – identifying areas at risk, precautionary approach, avoidance, managed retreat, protection – have varied implementation rates, ranging from a high of 63 (75%) of plans analysed specifically including coastal hazards within their own chapter or section, and one plan (1.2%) managing beyond 100 years. Guidance under development by Department of Conservation as part of their NZCPS 2010 Implementation Plan may provide further guidance in these areas. The case studies have shown that practice is becoming more innovative and risk-based, a trend that is likely to continue as the next generation of plans is developed. (auth)