Case Study - Taranaki Regional Council

Taranaki Regional Council (TRC) was the first local authority to provide for surf break protection under the RMA.  The Taranaki Regional Policy Statement 2009 recognises 81 surf breaks that are important to the region.  The list of breaks was based on TRC’s Inventory of Coastal Areas of Local or Regional Significance in the Taranaki Region (2004), the Wavetrack New Zealand Surfing Guide (Brunskill and Morse 2004) and on consultation with local board-riding clubs (TRC 2009).  

The 81 breaks are mapped showing the location of an individual surf break or by a line extending along the coast where there is a protected surf zone.  Some breaks are within a yellow shaded area identified as a “coastal area of local or regional significance” but it is not clear if the extent of the shading reflects the spatial area of the surf break. No information is provided within the Taranaki RPS 2009 regarding the values of the different breaks or whether some are more significant than others. 

In terms of the policy approach TRC has taken to protect these breaks they are referred to in RPS explanations, but not in objectives, policies or methods.  This approach has some advantages and disadvantages.  The explanations can include examples, a description of what is meant by policies and provide useful context for them.  In addition, having more general objectives and policies allows a more concise form of RPS than is created if a greater level of specific detail is included within the statutory provisions.  

However, it is the objectives, policies and methods that actually have statutory weight and this approach does not give any greater statutory recognition of surf breaks than was present before the amendments were made in response to submissions.  This approach could result in a lack of recognition of surf breaks unless plan users continually refer back to the background sections of the RPS.  There is also no statutory link between the wording of the policies and the surf breaks shown in the RPS maps (ARC 2010).

Last updated at 10:49AM on November 17, 2017