25.1 Introduction

25.1.1 As kaitiaki, Waikato-Tainui have an obligation to nurture, monitor, and protect the natural, physical, cultural, historical, and spiritual elements of the natural environment. However, development activities have not always been conducted in a sustainable manner, or in a manner that respects the kaitiaki role of Waikato-Tainui. Waikato-Tainui recognises the need for the sustainable use of resources and has interests in land use for cultural and/or spiritual purposes, leisure, and commercial development.
25.1.2 The population of the Waikato Region is predicted to double in the next 50 years. Urban growth is expected to occur mainly in the sub-regions within the boundaries of Hamilton City Council and Waipaa and Waikato District Councils, though some urban growth is expected outside these areas. The mainly urbanised Hamilton City population is predicted to be 200,000 by 2031. Growth in Waikato District and Waipaa District is more modest with a population of 67,000 in Waikato District and 62,500 in Waipaa District by 2031.10 Of this growth around Hamilton City about half is expected in the new growth cells (Rototuna, Ruakura, Rotokauri, and Peacockes) and the balance in existing areas. 70% of growth in Waikato District is expected to be in rural areas immediately fringing Hamilton City along the eastern, western and northern borders including Ngaaruawaahia.

25.1.3 Waikato Regional Council have analysed changes from low-density rural use to more intensive use often in the form of lifestyle blocks. It is likely that subdivision will occur on more productive land as it has more gentle topography with better quality soils thus making the construction of roads and installation of services easier. It is also worth noting that in Waikato District in particular the number of rural subdivisions doubled from 6,500 to 13,000 between 2000 and 2010.

25.1.4 Auckland City, under a high-growth scenario projects a population of 2.5 million in 2041 with an additional 400,000 new homes needed. Natural increase is relatively steady, while net migration patterns vary. Between 2001 and 2006, just over half (55%) of Auckland’s population increase resulted from net gains in migration, and just under half (45%) was due to natural increase, which varies across ethnicities. Half of the population growth in New Zealand between 2001 and 2006 was in Auckland. Auckland’s population is continuing to grow at a faster rate than that of the country as a whole, and so its proportion of New Zealand’s overall population will also grow.

25.1.5 The pressure for urban development plus the increasing urbanisation of rural land is putting pressure on natural resources – land, air and water. In order to protect these resources there needs to be tight management of urban growth to prevent urban sprawl and restrictions placed on continuing rural lifestyle subdivision. The cumulative effects are often not well recognised, though District Plan initiatives from some local authorities, such as Waikato and Waipaa District Councils, and growth strategies, such as Future Proof, have attempted to address this issue.

25.1.6 The anticipated urban growth, particularly in new growth areas, provides the opportunity to develop new urban areas based on enhancement principles (as defined in Chapter 7, ‘Te Whakapakari i Te Taiao – towards environmental enhancement’). The types of principles that could be employed include on-site stormwater and wastewater treatment, recycling of treated wastewater, and water conservation where appropriate technology enables this to occur.

25.1.7 The increasing regional population means that additional infrastructure and natural resources are required to support them. These include landfills (Hampton Downs), wastewater treatment plants (District Councils), correctional and educational facilities, water and waste reticulation systems, transport corridors (Waikato Expressway and Southern Links), water supply, energy and mineral resources (coal and hydro power).

25.1.8 Farming intensity has increased and forestry organisations are converting their lands to farms to receive a greater economic return. This intensification and land use change needs to be accompanied by sustainable environmental and cultural management practices.

25.2 Issues

Land use and development

25.2.1 Historically, land development has often been driven largely by private sector economics rather than by a holistic, well-designed and integrated land use planning process. There has been urban sprawl around Hamilton and towns within the rohe. The demand for rural residential or lifestyle block developments, particularly in Waikato District, has increased substantially putting pressure on land and water. This situation has been exacerbated by a lack of consistency relating to land use planning across the rohe.

25.2.2 However, integrated land use planning processes cannot entirely ignore private sector investors and developers as it is these individuals and organisations that lead development and are often prepared to provide all, or part of the infrastructure required for a development. Investors and developers seek to ensure that any developments are economically feasible, and do not always respond positively to local authority land use planning interventions. The challenge then is finding a balance between private, public, and taangata whenua land use and development aspirations that provide a corresponding balance between social, cultural, spiritual, economic, and environmental effects and benefits.

25.2.3 Waikato-Tainui, as taangata whenua, have land use and development aspirations. After having limited access to development opportunities on Maaori owned land, it is anticipated that Maaori owned land within the Waikato- Tainui rohe will be seen as being able to deliver credible development on Waikato-Tainui land that achieves land use and development aspirations. Additionally Waikato-Tainui are relatively recent but increasingly significant commercial land users and developers and are keen to see land use and development that complements Waikato-mTainui aspirations. This includes the use and development of land owned under Te Ture Whenua Maaori Act 1993,mland returned as part of Treaty of Waitangi settlement redress, and land purchased by Waikato-Tainui entities on a purely commercial basis.

25.2.4 Ultimately the commercial benefit of any Waikato-Tainui development remains within the rohe and for the benefit of Waikato-Tainui tribal members and the wider community. The link between the economic and commercial success of Waikato-Tainui and their cultural and social success cannot be overstated. Waikato-Tainui have land development proposals that are indicative of the contribution and inherent interest that Waikato-Tainui has in sustainable and enhancing development within its rohe.

25.2.5 As kaitiaki within their rohe, Waikato-Tainui also seeks to ensure environmental sustainability and enhancement in their activities. Waikato-Tainui considers that land, air, and water have been degraded over time. It is no longer sufficient to apply sustainability principles to maintain a resource at a low standard. There is a need to take sustainability principles a step further towards enhancement principles where the quality of the land, air, and water is not only maintained but should be incrementally improved over time through the use of enhancing design principles.

25.2.6 Infrastructure development has often focused on the easiest, most cost effective alignment rather than on the environmental, cultural, and/or spiritual consequences of the infrastructure development.

Urban and rural development

25.2.7 Land has sometimes been developed and/or subdivided in an ad hoc way. The cumulative effect of increasing urbanisation has been poorly recognised and responded to and Waikato-Tainui considers that it is ineffective and inefficient to look at resource consent applications on a parcel-by-parcel basis. Evaluation of consent applications needs to take a more strategic and holistic view.

25.2.8 Ad-hoc development can lead to adverse effects on the environment, customary activities, culturally and/or spiritually significant sites, or on communities. For example, ‘ribbon’ developments along rural roads that alter the landscape, put pressure on infrastructure, limit access to waahi tapu and sites of significance, degrade the visual amenity of the area, and do not contribute to overall development of community identity. Another example is industrial or commercial development in areas that are not well supported by the infrastructure required to effectively operate the industrial or commercial activity, or that adversely impacts on residential living.

25.2.9 The strategic identification of growth cells around Hamilton City, with appropriate infrastructure provided in growth cell planning and development, is supported as it will enable the social and economic development of Waikato Tainui and the community.

Environmental and cultural effects

25.2.10 As urban development has occurred in the Waikato-Tainui rohe ground and surface water quality has deteriorated, the integrity of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems has been compromised, productive and versatile soils lost, and landscape character has been irretrievably changed. The positive economic effects of the development may in part, balance the adverse effects of these changes on the natural environment. However, positive economic effects cannot be the only driver or justification for land use.

25.2.11 Past development has isolated Waikato-Tainui communities from their rivers, waahi tapu, sites of significance, and sites of customary activity. Waikato-Tainui will measure the success of future development on how well it restores and protects these connections, relationships, and activities.

25.3 Objectives,Policies & Methods

Objective – approach to land use and development

25.3.1 Development principles are applied to land use and development (urban and rural) and, in particular, development in new growth cells, that enhance the environment.

Policy – approach to land use and development

25.3.1.1 To encourage development principles to be applied to land use and developments (urban and rural) and, in particular, development in new growth cells, that enhance the environment.

Method

(a) Proposed developments shall demonstrate how they have considered and applied development principles that enhance the environment including, but not limited to how the development:

i. Restores the capacity of ecosystems;

ii. Creates or maintains ecosystems that function without human intervention;

iii. Understands and acknowledges the diversity and uniqueness of the development location (socially, culturally, spiritually, economically, and environmentally);

iv. Considers how the development design incorporates the diversity and uniqueness of the development location (such as culturally appropriate design, interpretive panels, commemorative pou [poles], etc);

v. Minimises pollution and waste;

vi. Promotes efficient and effective energy conservation and use;

vii. Preserves and preferably enhances the natural hydrologic functions of the site;

viii. Identifies and preserves sensitive areas that affect the hydrology, including streams and their buffers, floodplains, wetlands, steep slopes, high-permeability soils and areas of indigenous vegetation;

ix. Effectively manages natural hazards;

x. Considers beneficial re-use on-site of stormwater and wastewater;

xi. Considers water conservation; and

xii. Provides for visual amenity consistent with the surrounding environment.

Objective – urban and rural development

25.3.2 Urban and rural development is well planned and the environmental, cultural, spiritual, and social outcomes are positive.

Policy – urban development

25.3.2.1 To ensure that urban development is well planned and the environmental, cultural, spiritual, and social outcomes are positive.

Methods

(a) Where possible and practicable, avoid development or subdivision of land where there are high quality and versatile soils.

(b) If development or subdivision occurs on high quality or versatile soils, demonstrate how the development or subdivision provides a greater environmental, cultural, spiritual, or social outcome than the current land use provides.

(c) Encourage the development and use of structure plans or similar tools for significant land use or development initiatives.

(d) Ensure that appropriate consideration is given to papakaainga development in rural and urban areas (see Chapter 13, ‘Ngaa Papakaainga me Ngaa Marae – Waikato-Tainui communities’).

(e) Land development, subdivision design, or applications shall consider cumulative effects and demonstrate in a clear fashion the real impacts of the development.

(f) Land development or subdivisions are not supported where the effects or the cumulative effects of the proposed development or subdivision decreases existing environmental, cultural, spiritual, or social outcomes.

(g) Land use and development of Waikato-Tainui owned land, regardless of the nature of the ownership is supported, providing such use and development is consistent with this Plan and/or the position and perspectives of those holding mana whakahaere in the area of this land use and development activity.

(h) Manage the adverse effects of urban and rural residential subdivision and development through the use of Low Impact Development (‘LID ’) principles in all new subdivisions and developments including, but not limited to:

i. Minimising stormwater impacts to the greatest extent practicable by reducing imperviousness, conserving natural resources and ecosystems, maintaining natural drainage courses, reducing use of pipes, and minimising clearing and grading;

ii. Providing runoff storage measures dispersed through the site’s landscape with a variety of detention, retention, and runoff practices;

iii. Where they will be of benefit, encouraging the use of mechanisms such as rainwater harvesting, rain gardens, roof gardens, and onsite storage and retention;

iv. Where they will be of benefit, encouraging the use of stormwater treatment devices including on-site treatment systems, allowing for emergency storage and retention structures; and

v. Such areas that have unavoidable impervious areas, attempt to break up these impervious areas by installing infiltration devices, drainage swales, and providing retention areas.

(i) For construction sites:

i. Reduce paving and compaction of soils;

ii. Manage the effects of soil disturbance;

iii. Site building and infrastructure to manage the effects on existing vegetation, particularly where that vegetation contributes to the overall amenity of the site;

iv. Minimise imperviousness by reducing the total area of paved surfaces; and

v. Maintain existing topography and pre-development hydrological processes.

Policy – rural development

25.3.2.2 To ensure that rural development is well planned and the environmental, cultural, spiritual and social outcomes are positive.

Methods

(a) Generally, the methods in policy 24.3.2.1 above, applies to rural residential subdivision.

(b) Recognise the genuine need, at times, for smaller rural residential subdivision to enable landowner use of their site for personal, family, or staff use. However, rural residential subdivision shall not result in ‘ribbon’ type ad hoc development along rural roads.

(c) Rural residential form shall be well designed taking into account the surrounding environment, visual amenity, and other policies and methods in this chapter.

(d) Minimise the amount of high quality or highly versatile land that is taken out of productive use or that has options for future use reduced as a result of rural development.

Objective – positive environmental and cultural effects

25.3.3 Land use and development has positive environmental and cultural effects.

Policy – positive environmental and cultural effects

25.3.3.1 To ensure that land use and development, particularly new land use and development, has positive environmental and cultural effects.

Method

(a) Through the use of LID (Low Impact Design) principles in all new subdivisions and developments;

i. Protect surface and ground water quality;

ii. Maintain the integrity of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems;

iii. Preserve the physical integrity of receiving streams;

iv. Protect soils by providing appropriate sediment and erosion control; and

v. Make maximum use of natural ground levels.

(b) Require reserves next to oceans, lakes and rivers to be set-aside during the subdivision and land development process to protect the water body, allow access, increase biodiversity, and enhance ecosystems.

(c) Decisions on use of reserves or similar provision in subdivision applications shall give priority to protecting the water body health regardless of the water body or subdivision size.

(d) Subdivisions should not impede access to and along waterways.

(e) Require resource consent conditions to be imposed that allow Waikato-Tainui access to culturally and/or spiritually significant sites and sites of customary activities through the imposition of caveats on titles or providing for the registration of right-of-way servitudes.

(f) Ensure in all development proposals that access is retained and improved to water bodies and cultural and/ or spiritual sites.

(g) Structure or management plans will be required as conditions of resource consent to ensure that critical environmental and cultural considerations are taken into account and that on-going monitoring and review occurs.

(h) Land use and development design features reflect Waikato-Tainui cultural values and perspectives.

(i) Protection of significant cultural and/or spiritual sites may have precedence over subdivision in some areas and the objectives contained in Chapters 15, ‘Ngaa taonga Maaori tuku iho me te aarai taiao – natural heritage and biosecurity’ and Chapter 16, ‘Ngaa taonga tikanga tuku iho – cultural heritage’ may apply.

(j) Local authorities revise their statutory instruments to reflect the principles contained in the Plan, including in so far as the Plan affects subdivision, use and development.