Iwi reveals environmental strategic plan

LAIRD HARPER
Last updated 05:00 11/12/2012

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A South Taranaki iwi has unveiled a comprehensive strategic plan to help central and local governments develop their environmental policies.

In what could be a New Zealand first, the 83-page Ngati Ruanui Environmental Plan outlines the need to balance cultural, political and economic opportunities with "environment imperatives".

Te Runanga o Ngati Ruanui Trust chief executive Debbie Ngarewa-Packer said the management plan had three main focus areas - land, water, and oil and minerals.

"Our plan has set out clear directions and policy approaches for our councils to follow. In some areas we have made it very clear where we think the environment is under a lot of stress, and have suggested new ways to helping to reduce that stress.

"We have also set out some practical endorsements of current council policies, like the maintenance of the coastal protection areas and the Hawera Urban Growth Strategy."

Speaking from the iwi-owned Stratford Mountain House yesterday, Ms Ngarewa-Packer said the plan "will be formally recognised under the Resource Management Act, which must be taken into account when both regional and local councils amend and review their planning documents".

She said they were the first Taranaki iwi to release a "new-generation" iwi management plan.

"The plan reflects the environmental outcomes which are important to our people, and being the first makes this a very proud moment."

The plan represents another part of the inclusive and sophisticated working relationship Ngati Ruanui has been adopting during the past two years with key environmental agencies and resource users.

The plan is considered to be "first generation" and the iwi will continue to work with councils and the energy sector to develop it.

Earlier this year, Ngati Ruanui developed a strategy to remove the roadblocks for its youth to reach success in education.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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