Coastal landowners to put up fight

DENISE PIPER
Last updated 11:03 29/11/2012

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Bay Chronicle

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Landowners are having their freedom undermined and property rights taken away, with the latest attack being the Northland Regional Council's Regional Policy Statement.

That is the view of Landowners' Coalition convenor Bob Syron who says he is joined by more than 300 landowners across Northland prepared to fight.

"Personally I believe that the politicians are undermining personal property rights and making a mockery of Anzac Day - taking away people's property rights and personal freedoms," he says.

The council released its new proposed Regional Policy Statement for Northland in October after more than two years' work.

Submissions are open until December 3.

The statement sets out how Northland's natural and physical resources will be managed.

About 23,000 properties across Northland are identified in associated maps showing coastal land, areas of high and outstanding natural character, plus outstanding natural landscapes and outstanding natural features.

This includes up to 10,000 properties which are newly identified but no rules or guidelines have been released for these mapped areas.

Mr Syron surmises the rules will mean restrictions on everyday rural activities, such as minor land clearance, animal stocking and building, impacting the productivity of farming and forestry productivity.

But it is not solely the fault of the regional council, he says.

The National Party's 2010 New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement is the main issue.

The regional council says the impact on mapped areas will depend on what applies in the district plan now.

Policy programme manager Justin Murfitt says there are many layers and many steps in the planning process which means the rules cannot just be released. The Regional Policy Statement shows where the outstanding areas are, it cannot contain the rules.

Once it becomes operative, the policy will be incorporated into regional and district plans and it is this process which will determine any rules.

"Many of the rules will be district council rules - covering subdivisions and new buildings."

But Mr Murfitt says areas of high or outstanding natural character have never been identified in Northland before and new rules will have to be written.

Natural character is land mostly in a highly natural state.

Mr Murfitt agrees there are some landowners who will be subject to tighter development controls.

"It's raised some eyebrows and that's perfectly understandable when we're talking about property rights."

But he says it depends on what they are zoned as now - and some may even have the rules relaxed.

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He encourages landowners to get involved, find out about the difference between what they are currently zoned as and the new mapping, and inform the council if they think the mapping is wrong.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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