Case Study 11: Planning the Wairarapa Coastal Strategy

Local Authorities Working Together.

Who Is Involved?

Wellington Regional Council, Masterton District Council, Carterton District Council, South Wairarapa District Council, and the two Wairarapa iwi – Rangitaane o Wairarapa and Ngati Kahungungu ki Wairarapa.

What Led To The Joint Arrangement?

The Wairarapa Coastal Strategy Group was formed in 2001 to devise ways to better manage coastal development in the Wairarapa. Factors leading to the need for a coastal strategy included:

  • increasing land development pressures on the Wairarapa coast;
  • variable planning provisions in the three local authority District Plans;
  • that the local authorities were incurring significant costs in hearing applications and attending appeals; and
  • that, in objecting to applications, Wellington Regional Council was increasingly being viewed as taking an anti-development stance on coastal planning matters.

How Does It Work?

Wellington Regional Council arranged a Coastal Forum in February 2001 to discuss issues related to coastal development and to identify options to better address future coastal development. The forum led to the formation of a Wairarapa Coastal Strategy Group, with all four local authorities agreeing to work together to prepare a joint coastal strategy.

The Wairarapa Coastal Strategy Group is made up of two councillors from each of the four local authorities, along with representatives from each local iwi. The group is chaired by the Mayor of South Wairarapa District Council and has met 15 times during the course of the project – on average once every six weeks.

At its first meeting, the group agreed that Wellington Regional Council would meet all administrative costs, and that other costs incurred by each participant would lie where they fell. Wellington Regional Council identified various options for sharing external costs and the group agreed to a cost-sharing formula based equally on population and length of coastline.

Agendas and minutes of group meetings are sent to each local authority, with councillor representatives reporting back to their individual councils on progress. The group set up a project management team to meet regularly, review progress, assign tasks, and report to the group.

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