Regional coastal plans are plans prepared by regional councils and unitary authorities for the coastal marine area of a region. Their purpose is to assist these councils in achieving the sustainable management of their coastal environment. The plans include objectives, policies and rules that govern what activities the councils will allow, control or prohibit in the coastal environment. The plans are a tool used to manage any actual or potential effects from the use, development, or protection of the coastal marine area.
In terms of the Resource Management Act 1991 all regional councils are required to prepare a regional coastal plan. To ensure consistency and integration of the management of the coastal environment throughout New Zealand, the pegional coastal plans must give effect to the New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement.
For the coastal environment of the Hauraki Gulf, the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park Act 2000 requires that sections 7 and 8 of that Act must be treated as a New Zealand coastal policy statement issued under the Act. Section 10(2) of the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park Act 2000 states that if there is a conflict between sections 7 and 8 and the provisions of the NZCPS, the NZCPS prevails.
The Minister of Conservation must approve all regional coastal plans and any changes to them.
The Minister of Conservation’s responsibilities for coastal planning are represented by DOC in day to day planning processes. When councils are preparing regional coastal plans DOC assists councils, where it can, by providing any relevant information it has before the public process starts. A public consultation process is required by the Resource Management Act 1991. DOC participates in the public process by making submissions, attending pre-hearing meetings and, where necessary, giving evidence at hearings.
If an individual or organisation that has made a submission objects to the inclusion of some provisions in a coastal plan, they can make an appeal to the Environment Court. In some cases DOC may appeal to the Environment Court if the proposed plan does not give effect to the New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement, contains provisions that are ultra vires, or is not considered appropriate.
Once councils have adopted their plan it is forwarded to the Minister of Conservation for approval..
Restricted coastal activities
The Minister of Conservation may specify in the New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement any activities that are to be assessed as restricted coastal activities. Policy 29 of the NZCPS 2010 does not require any activity to be specified as a restricted coastal activity in a regional coastal plan.
Transitional provisions relating to restricted coastal activities included in regional coastal plans in accordance with the New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement 1994 are also set out in Policy 29 of the NZCPS 2010.