News and Views

Councils and government agencies look to forge closer ties

Multiple agencies are joining together to achieve the best environmental, tourism and economic outcomes for the Mackenzie / Waitaki Basin.

Land Information New Zealand (LINZ), the Department of Conservation (DOC), Environment Canterbury and the Mackenzie and Waitaki district councils will review how they can align their services to improve the effectiveness of land and water management activities in the Basin.

A review will look at the vision for land use in the Mackenzie / Waitaki Basin, review all the relative legislative and regulatory functions, and consider how better alignment can be achieved within existing statutory constraints.

Environment Canterbury Chief Executive Bill Bayfield said; “The Basin is a unique environment with outstanding landscape values and significant ecological values.

“It has been subject to significant change over the last decade because of land-use intensification and everyone has a role to play to protect these internationally significant values.

“The Canterbury Water Management Strategy is already making some good progress in delivering community-led environmental, economic and cultural outcomes and this agreement will strengthen this,” he said.

Land-use in the Basin is managed through various pieces of legislation and associated policies, which are administered by various agencies of both central and local government.

Lou Sanson, DOC Director-General says a closer working relationship will ensure the area’s substantial natural values get the protection and support they need while increased numbers of visitors are managed in a way that benefits conservation and the local community.

“This work aligns central and local government in support of the vision for the Basin set by the Mackenzie Agreement.

“Together we can work towards a multifunctional high country space that enables the Basin’s precious natural landscapes and ecosystems to be enjoyed for years to come,” he said.

LINZ Chief Executive Andrew Crisp says a stronger relationship will help ensure a coordinated approach is taken to achieving ecological and landscape protection in the Mackenzie / Waitaki Basin.

“Land-use in the Basin has changed significantly and there is some important work to be done to ensure we reach a balance between its environmental, agricultural, and tourism uses.

“This strengthened relationship will ensure we’re all on the same page as we work towards achieving the goals for the Basin,” he said.

Mackenzie District Council Chief Executive Wayne Barnett says the closer working relationship will enable the on the ground activities and regulatory functions of these agencies to be incorporated.

“A considerable amount of activity has taken place over the last decade in the Basin and by working closer with our governing partners on land and water management we will ensure the best outcomes possible for the Basin’s communities, Rūnanga and the environment,” he said.

The five parties initiating the project have agreed on a Terms of Reference to outline how the review to achieve a closer working relationship will progress.

This review will initially be done in consultation with Ngāi Tahu and The Environmental Defence Society, and the community and stakeholders will be engaged with in the future.

Source: ECAN

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