John Key's Government seems intent on burying the revised Coastal Policy Statement that could protect New Zealand's beaches from overdevelopment, the Green Party said today.
The 2009 Coastal Policy Statement protects the national interest in our coastline. It updates a previous Coastal Policy Statement from 1994 but has remained buried in draft form on the Minister of Conservation's desk since July.
"A gold rush mentality has driven coastal development for much of the last two decades turning our beach communities into sprawling suburbs. Without a strong Coastal Policy Statement, this Government is playing directly into the hands of developers," said Green Party RMA spokesperson, David Clendon.
"The last Labour Government dragged its feet on revising the Statement to respond to the intense development pressures on our coastline. The Key Government now wants to bury it. "The Minister of Conservation needs to be the strongest advocate for our coastline protecting it from wealthy developers motivated by huge short-term profits.
"This Government appears to be in the back pocket of developers, and not representing the interests of the coastal environment, beach-goers, local communities, and iwi."
Despite the existing Coastal Policy Statement, Part II of the Resource Management Act, and district plans, many iconic coastal landscapes had been compromised by excessive or poorly designed developments. Local authorities often did not have the resources needed to match the capacity of developers to pursue litigation. "We're in desperate need of some strong tools to manage and protect of our coastline," said Mr Clendon.
"Local authorities are struggling to limit inappropriate development. A revised Coastal Policy Statement would begin to redress this imbalance and reduce the increasing waste of resources spent litigating contentious developments.
"The Greens support the call for a national exercise to identify and protect coastal areas with outstanding natural features and landscapes. This is the regulatory clarity our coastline urgently needs. "This has to happen fast. The current downturn in demand for coastal property and development is the only thing restraining another boom that could wreck what is left!"
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