Thanks to Anne Maloney for pointing us to this July 14 Herald article, Drawing a line in the sand.

It provides an excellent primer on the interplay between regional and district councils, as well as between the Resource Management Act, the coastal planning statement (CPS) and local councils interpretation and implementation of same.

If you’re puzzled by the murky process surrounding proposed Ocean Beach development, this article will help you get oriented.

As the Herald puts it: “A hierarchy of national and regional policy statements is supposed to guide councils. On coastal land, the national CPS sits on top of regional policy statements and regional coastal plans (by regional councils), which district councils must follow … The CPS spells out that coastal development should be concentrated in already compromised areas.”

As it turns out, a formal Government review of coastal development and the CPS is underway (courtesy of Conservation Minister Chris Carter), with a draft discussion document due this month. The goal is to have a new CPS in place before next year’s election.

Just how prescriptive a new CPS should be — for vagueness has worked against environmental protection — should be at the center of the public debate to come.

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