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Thank you! We had lots of responses to the District Plan Review Discussion document feedback form and survey plus many others via email, post and in our public engagement meetings. We have been analysing your feedback and we are using it to help draft the new District Plan for Waitaki. We will be releasing the draft District Plan in mid 2020 for another round of public consultation and chance for you to have your say.

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District Plan Review engagement summary

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District Plan Review Discussion Document (PDF, 5MB)

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Ecosystems and indigenous biodiversity

New Zealand’s indigenous biodiversity evolution is exceptional and unique. However, it has been adversely affected by a variety of human activities. Waitaki’s remaining indigenous biodiversity is fragmented and indigenous species continue to decline. A direct cause of indigenous biodiversity and habitat loss is vegetation clearance. Indirect causes include inconsistent rules and poor enforcement of Plan provisions.

KEY ISSUES

► Regional policy requires identification of areas of indigenous vegetation and habitats within the Waitaki District. Not all areas of indigenous vegetation and habitats have been identified – this makes management, protection and enhancement difficult.
► Subdivision of land containing SNA areas can lead to fragmentation, this can lead to loss of biodiversity values.
► Areas of indigenous vegetation and habitats continue to decline in Waitaki.
► Habitat loss and modification often occurs through land use change, for example, clearance of indigenous vegetation/draining wetlands to break in new paddocks or create a new subdivision – there needs to be a balancing between recognition and protection of values and the working rural environments.
► Habitat degradation and indigenous species loss as a result of domestic and wild grazing animals, for example, minimal regeneration of threatened tree species due to browsing of seedlings by livestock and rabbits.
► Climate change causing increased drought frequencies – impacts at all levels of the ecosystem.

DRAFT RESPONSES TO KEY ISSUES

► Identification of Significant Natural Areas (SNAs) on public and private land using site surveys and aerial photos and historic data where access has been denied.
► Consult with landowners that have had both a ground based verification survey, and those which have been identified by desktop survey about inclusion of their SNAs in the District Plan.
► Investigate the provision of a financial incentive (eg. rates relief, transferable development rights) for those landowners who have SNAs listed in the District Plan.
► Improve the effectiveness and application of current indigenous vegetation rules including definitions.
► Encourage landowners to protect and enhance areas of indigenous biodiversity, and support them in a co-operative manner by considering a range of options and protection mechanisms such as biodiversity management plans.
► Encourage retention of SNA areas within one land parcel by introducing specific subdivision rules where SNA’s have been identified.