Have your say on incentives to protect nature on rural land
Kāpiti Coast District Council is seeking feedback on draft changes to the District Plan to improve incentives for landowners to do more to protect indigenous biodiversity on rural land.
District planning manager Jason Holland said Council had worked with iwi, regional and central government, landowners and consultants to review the existing incentives in the District Plan. The review found there had been little uptake of provisions that incentivise landowners to do more to improve or protect indigenous biodiversity because the provisions were considered ‘difficult to work with’.
“We’re keen to support landowners and developers who are prepared to go ‘above and beyond’ standard levels of resource management practice in the use of their land. We think those who do this should be recognised with additional subdivision opportunities. It’s apparent that the existing provisions are not working well enough, at least those relating to enhancement or restoration planting,” Mr Holland said.
“There’s a lot of new central and regional government direction in place or coming down the pipeline to require landowners and developers to do more, but we also think there’s an opportunity to provide better incentives to encourage improvements in return for some subdivision opportunities,” he said.
“It’s a delicate trade-off. Achieving gains for indigenous biodiversity is an exciting prospect, but we need to be careful about subdivision impacting the character of rural areas. The draft plan change also accounts for new government direction restricting subdivision of some rural land (the National Policy Statement for Highly Productive Land).
“We want to achieve a win-win for everyone.”
Mr Holland said indigenous biodiversity is important for many reasons.
“Our wetlands purify water and help prevent flooding and drought. Indigenous forests provide carbon sinks, purify the air we breathe, and have recreation and amenity values. Our farming, forestry and horticulture depend on the resources and services provided by these biological systems.”
The review looked at how well development incentives worked in practice and how well they align with other central, regional, and local government direction and strategies. As a result, Council has developed an exposure draft of a plan change designed to refocus the development incentive provisions of the District Plan.
Have your say by 5pm, Monday 31 October.