Tough rules for indigenous vegetation clearance, activities on lakes and rivers in the Mackenzie District

26 Jan 18

Mackenzie District Council has notified two new plan changes. Plan Change 18 is relevant to those interested in indigenous vegetation clearance, particularly for farm intensification, while Plan Change 19 will be of interest to people who undertake or are impacted by boating activities on lakes and rivers.

Plan Change 18 – Indigenous Biodiversity

New provisions are proposed to address concerns about the impact of indigenous vegetation clearance for farm intensification purposes, and to give effect to the Canterbury Regional Policy Statement requirement to achieve no net loss of indigenous biodiversity.

The Council considers the operative rules to be overly complicated. There are separate rules for each indigenous vegetation type, which vary considerably as to the thresholds for clearance requiring resource consent. As a result, a survey of the extent of indigenous vegetation to be removed is often required to determine whether consent is required. Further, exemptions to the rules have proven to provide loopholes which enable clearance of vegetation without the need for consent. This has enabled large areas to be cleared and certificates of compliance to be obtained providing for such clearance.

The proposed rules require consent for any indigenous vegetation, except where the clearance is undertaken for one of a limited number of purposes. The new rules provide an option for farmers to prepare farm biodiversity plans as the basis for approval to clear indigenous vegetation. Farm Biodiversity Plans are to include an assessment of existing ecological values; descriptions of historic, current and proposed land use management and activities; identification of management methods to achieve protection of values to achieve ‘no net loss’; and a monitoring and reporting programme.

The new rules will avoid previous requirements for a survey of the extent of vegetation to be removed. However the requirement to obtain consent is now proposed to apply regardless of the type or extent of indigenous vegetation to be removed. This is likely to result in significantly greater number of indigenous vegetation clearance activities requiring resource consent.

Plan Change 19 – Activities on or within waterbodies.

A new stricter regime is proposed for those undertaking activities on identified lakes and rivers within the district.
The plan change proposes that all motorised boating be prohibited on Lakes Pukaki, Alexandrina and McGregor. The following activities will require resource consent:
– Lakes Pukaki, Alexandrina and McGregor – all commercial non-motorised activity
– Lakes Tekapo, Ruataniwha and Benmore – all commercial activity (motorised and non-motorised)
– Opihi and Opuha Rivers – all motorised activity

For those undertaking non-commercial activities, these will remain permitted on Lakes Tekapo, Ruataniwha and Benmore, as will non-motorised activities on Lakes Pukaki, Alexandrina and McGregor, and the Opihi and Opuha Rivers.

Want to know more?

Plan Changes 18 and 19 are open for submissions until 9 March 2018. For further advice or assistance in preparing a submission, please contact one of our specialist Resource Management Team

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