Iwi input into RMA plans

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Māori Provisions in Plans – Mana Whenua, Mauri of Water, and Wāhi Tapu. By Nathan Kennedy and Richard Jefferies
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For iwi/hapū concerned about the resources in their rohe, getting the right words into District and Regional Plans is crucially important. These Plans are developed by District and Regional Councils, and contain the local rules about use and development of fresh water, land, air and sea. They also state the problems that the council wants to address, and the council’s long-term aims for the area’s resources. They can also state how resource consent applications are to be assessed.

If Plans are written effectively, they can be very powerful for reinforcing mana whenua. They can highlight the issues that are important to iwi/hapū, and how these need to be addressed. There are many ways iwi can influence the Plans, but this can only happen when the Plans are reviewed (usually every 10 years) or if changes are formally proposed.  At these times, Councils must consult with iwi authorities, and must take into account the content of iwi/hapū management plans.  Iwi and hapū can also make submissions to the council hearings, and can appeal council’s decisions to the Environment Court.

The 2013 Resource Management Act reforms mean that over the next five years each region is likely to be developing one combined plan, which is an important opportunity for iwi/Māori involvement in resource management. See page http://ngatokitaiao.maori.nz/te-ara-tauiwi-mo-te-taiao/ for more details.

Key idea: District and Regional Plans written effectively with iwi/hapū involvement, can powerfully reinforce mana whenua.

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December 12, 2012

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