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4. Notices of Requirement

4.1 Statutory Assessment

4.1.1 Section 171 of the RMA

The NOR are to be assessed in terms of s 171 (1) of the RMA, which states:

171 Recommendation by territorial authority

(1) When considering a requirement and any submissions received, a territorial authority must, subject to Part 2, consider the effects on the environment of allowing the requirement, having particular regard to—

(a) any relevant provisions of—

(i) a national policy statement:

(ii) a New Zealand coastal policy statement:

(iii) a regional policy statement or proposed regional policy statement:

(iv) a plan or proposed plan; and

(b) whether adequate consideration has been given to alternative sites, routes, or methods of undertaking the work if—

(i) the requiring authority does not have an interest in the land sufficient for undertaking the work; or

(ii) it is likely that the work will have a significant adverse effect on the environment; and

(c) whether the work and designation are reasonably necessary for achieving the objectives of the requiring authority for which the designation is sought; and

(d) any other matter the territorial authority considers reasonably necessary in order to make a recommendation on the requirement.

Each of the relevant sections of s 171 (1) are considered in Section 4.2 below.

4.1.2 Part II of the RMA

The provisions of s 171 are all subject to Part II which means that the purpose (s 5) and principles (ss 6 – 8) are paramount.

Section 5 states:

(1) The purpose of this Act is to promote the sustainable management of natural and physical resources.

(2) In this Act, sustainable management means managing the use, development, and protection of natural and physical resources in a way, or at a rate, which enables people and communities to provide for their social, economic, and cultural wellbeing and for their health and safety while—

(a) Sustaining the potential of natural and physical resources (excluding minerals) to meet the reasonably foreseeable needs of future generations; and

(b) Safeguarding the life-supporting capacity of air, water, soil, and ecosystems; and

(c) Avoiding, remedying, or mitigating any adverse effects of activities on the environment.

Applying s 5 involves an overall broad judgement, which allows for the comparison of conflicting considerations, the scale of them and their relative significance or proportion in the final outcome.

Sections 6, 7 and 8 of the RMA set out the principles to be applied in achieving the purpose of the Act. The principles contained in sections 6, 7 and 8 of the RMA are subordinate to the overall purpose of the Act. Each plays a part in the overall consideration of whether the purpose of the Act has been achieved in a particular situation. These matters are not an end in themselves but are an accessory to the principal purpose.

The adequacy of information provided by Transpower to enable the Board to address the proposal against Part II of the RMA is outlined in Section 4.3 of this report.

4.2 Section 171 Considerations

4.2.1 National Policy Statements / New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement

The Government has proposed a National Policy Statement (“NPS”) setting out the objective and policies for managing the electricity transmission network under the RMA. The Proposed NPS was notified in May 2007 and submissions closed on 25 June 2007. An independent Board of Inquiry (separate from that appointed to determine the NOR and associated resource consent applications) established by the Government considered the submissions and submitted a report to the Minister for the Environment in late November 2007. The Board report on the Proposed NPS on electricity transmission is still being considered by the Minister and a final NPS is expected to be issued in 2008. The NPS will set the overall policy framework for the electricity transmission network and will contain policies that need to be taken into account when electricity transmission projects are considered under the RMA.

In respect to Transpower’s applications, s 171(1)(a)(i) requires the Board to have regard to an NPS, not a proposed or draft statement, and as such, the Board will only have to take into account the NPS on electricity transmission once it takes effect. At present, consideration of the Proposed NPS has not been completed, therefore it has not been considered further in this report. However, the Board may need to consider a NPS on electricity transmission should the Minister issue the statement prior to the hearing.

As a separate exercise, the Ministry for the Environment (“MfE”) is currently consulting on proposals for two National Environmental Standards (“NES”) for electricity transmission. One proposed standard sets out a consent framework for managing the environmental effects of the operation, maintenance and enhancement of the national grid (but it excludes construction of new transmission lines). The other standard relates to controlling activities that could impact on the national grid.

The proposed standards are intended to compliment the NPS on electricity transmission by providing national consistency in how electricity transmission activities are managed, and also by providing protection to the national grid.

Public submissions on the proposed NES for electricity transmission closed on 30 November 2007. A report (and recommendations) to the Minster is expected in early to mid 2008, and the Ministry has indicated that the NES for electricity transmission are unlikely to take effect until late 2008. A decision on the Transpower’s applications is expected before this time, and as such, the Board will not have to take into consideration the NES on electricity transmission.

The New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement has no material implication for these applications.

There are no other National Policy Statements relevant to the proposal.

4.2.2 Regional Council Statutory Documents

The proposed overhead transmission line passes through two regions (Auckland and Waikato) and seven districts (Manukau, Franklin, Waikato, Matamata-Piako, Waipa, South Waikato and Taupo).

The relevant regional planning documents for these applications are the Auckland Regional Policy Statement, Auckland Regional Plan: Air, Land and Water, the Auckland Regional Plan: Sediment Control, the Waikato Regional Policy Statement and the Waikato Regional Plan.

Below, we consider the applications against the policies and objectives of the relevant Regional Policy Statements and Regional Plans. This report does not seek to traverse each and every potentially relevant statutory provision rather it provides a broad overview of relevant objectives and policies pertaining to the proposal.

Auckland Regional Council

Auckland Regional Policy Statement

The Auckland Regional Policy Statement sets in place the broad direction for the management of natural and physical resources. The relevant objectives and policies of the Regional Policy Statement are outlined in Appendix I and include:

  • Chapter 3 – Matters of Significance to Iwi.
  • Chapter 5 – Energy.
  • Chapter 6 – Heritage.
  • Chapter 8 – Water Quality.
  • Chapter 12 – Soil Conservation.
  • Chapter 18 – Esplanade Reserves and Strips.

Chapter 3 (Matters of Significance to Iwi) includes objectives relating to cultural values and places of significance, and the need to recognise and provide for these values and places. In particular, Objective 3.3.2 (recognising the relationship of Tangata Whenua and their culture and traditions) is relevant to Transpower’s application. We are not aware of any cultural issues associated with the proposal that have not been taken into account in the project design.

Chapter 5 (Energy) seeks to promote the sustainable and efficient use of Auckland’s energy resources, including its production and use. The objectives and policies of particular relevance to this application seek to:

  • Avoid, remedy, or mitigate any adverse effects of development proposals relating to the production, distribution and use of energy (Objective 5.3.2);
  • Efficiently use available energy resources (Policy 5.4.1).

The applicant proposes to provide a sustained and efficient use of an existing energy resource and is considered consistent with this general policy.

Chapter 6 (Heritage) seeks to preserve, protect and restore the regions heritage resources. The objectives and policies of particular relevance to Transpower’s application seek to protect and restore ecosystems and other heritage resources and whose heritage value and/or viability is threatened (Objective 6.3), and controlling development on regionally significant ridgelines so that there are no adverse effects, including cumulative effects (Policy 6.4.19 (3)). The route of the transmission line has been chosen to avoid significant ridgelines and does not impose on any threatened heritage values.

The objectives and policies of Chapter 8 (Water Quality) seek to maintain and enhance the values of Auckland’s water resources. The objective of particular relevance to Transpower’s application is Objective 8.3 (maintenance of water quality). Transpower propose to undertake earthworks to construct underground cables, substation alterations and access tracks, some of which may be in close proximity to water bodies. Earthworks and sediment guidelines proposed by the applicant and conditions of consent will ensure the proposal is consistent with this objective.

Chapter 12 (Soil Conservation) contains objectives and policies that seek to promote the sustainable management of Auckland’s soil resource. Objective 12.3 is to protect the productive potential and long-term health of soils in the region while avoiding, remedying and mitigating effects on soil degradation. The relevant policies that are applicable to Transpower’s application seek to:

  • Control vegetation clearance on land with moderate to severe erosion potential (Policy 12.4.4(1));
  • Avoid, remedy or mitigate adverse effects on soil degradation (Policy 12.4.4(3)).

The earthworks proposed by the applicant and the soil and sediment control measures will not compromise the productive capacity of surrounding soils and should have no impact on soil erosion if appropriate guidelines are followed.

Chapter 18 (Esplanade Reserves and Strips) outlines the mechanisms for identifying present and future needs for the setting aside of esplanade reserves. The objective of relevance to Transpower’s proposal seeks to recognise the ability of esplanade reserves and strips to achieve the purpose and principles of Part II of the RMA (Objective 18.3.2). Transpower’s proposal will cross some esplanade reserves but this is not considered inconsistent with objectives and policies of the Regional Policy Statement.

Summary

The Auckland Regional Policy Statement recognises that infrastructure and development are required within the region and specifically the different ways in which particular issues are to be addressed (particularly through regional and district plan provisions). There are no particular matters that arise that suggest the proposal is inconsistent with the Regional Policy Statement. Specific aspects of the proposal will be addressed through the District Plan provisions (developed to give effect to the Regional Policy Statement provisions).

Auckland Regional Plans

The Proposed Auckland Regional Plan: Air, Land and Water and the Auckland Regional Plan: Sediment Control apply to this proposal. The relevant objectives and policies of these documents in respect to Transpower’s application are contained in Appendix II of this report and include the following:

Proposed Auckland Regional Plan – Air, Land and Water:

  • Part 1 – Values.

Auckland Regional Plan – Sediment:

  • Chapter 5 – Regulation.
  • Chapter 7 – Minimum Earthworks Strategies.

Auckland Regional Plan – Air, Land and Water

The Proposed Regional Plan: Air, Land and Water provides for the management of air, land and water resources in the Auckland Region, including, soil, rivers and streams, lakes, groundwater, wetlands and geothermal water.

Part 1, Chapter 2.1 seeks to sustainably manage the values of the Auckland Region, including natural character, ecosystems and habitats, amenity and Tangata whenua values. The objectives and policies of particular relevance to Transpower’s proposal are:

  • Avoid, remedy or mitigate adverse effects on the natural character of wetlands, lakes and rivers, and their margins (Objective 2.1.3, Policy 2.1.4.1);
  • Use, development, upgrading or maintenance of network utility infrastructure shall be considered appropriate if it is consistent with strategic directions of the Regional Policy Statement and improves environmental outcomes (Policy 2.2.4.2);
  • Consents for network utility infrastructure may be granted on a network wide basis if it promotes the integrated management of the infrastructure, and is effective and efficient to grant a network wide consent (Policy 2.2.4.3);
  • Consideration of the positive social, economic and cultural effects and benefits from any proposal (Policy 2.2.4.6).

Transpower seeks to provide national transmission utility services to ensure ‘security of supply’ to the Auckland region to provide positive social, economic and cultural effects, consistent with these policies.

Auckland Regional Plan – Sediment

The Auckland Regional Plan: Sediment Control addresses the issue of sediment discharges and provides measures to ensure that the potential effects associated with land development involving vegetation clearance and/or earthworks is avoided, remedied or mitigated accordingly.

The objective and policies of particular relevance to Transpower’s proposal seek to maintain or enhance water quality and methods to avoid, remedy or mitigate adverse effects on water quality through land disturbance (Objective 5.1.1, Policy 5.2.1).

Chapter 7 seeks to reduce the surface erosion and sediment generation (Objective 7.1) and reduce the duration of vegetation removal (Policy 7.2.1).

Transpower propose to follow standard operational regimes and sediment guidelines that will minimise sediment runoff. We consider there are no particular matters in Transpower’s applications that are inconsistent with the objectives and policies of the Auckland Regional Plan – Sediment.

Waikato Regional Council

Waikato Regional Policy Statement

The Waikato Regional Policy Statement sets out the significant resource management issues for the region and the methods that will be used to manage natural and physical resources. The relevant objectives and policies of the Waikato Regional Policy Statement to Transpower’s application are contained in Appendix III and are as follows:

  • Part 3.3 – Land and Soil.
  • Part 3.4 – Water.
  • Part 3.11 – Plants and Animals.
  • Part 3.12 – Energy.
  • Part 3.13 – Structures.
  • Part 3.15 – Heritage.

Part 3.3 (Land and Soil) includes objectives and policies to achieve the sustainable management of the regions land and soil resource. In particular, Objectives 3.3.7 (accelerated erosion) and 3.3.9 (maintenance of soil health) are relevant to Transpower’s application. Recommended conditions of consent will ensure that the proposed works are undertaken in a manner consistent with these objectives.

Part 3.4 (Water) contains objectives and policies that seek to promote the sustainable management of Waikato’s water resource. In particular, Objectives 3.4.8 (Wetlands) and 3.4.10 (Mauri) are relevant to Transpower’s application. Overall, it is considered that Transpower’s application is consistent with the relevant objectives and policies of Part 3.4.

Part 3.11 (Plants and Animals) seeks to maintain the regions biodiversity, including important ecological areas. Objective 3.11.4 (maintenance of biodiversity) is of particular relevance to Transpower’s applications. Transpower’s proposal to replace vegetation cleared from the construction of the towers is consistent with these objectives.

Part 3.12 (Energy) and Part 3.13 (Structures) seek to promote efficient energy use and maintain and enhance infrastructure in the region. Objectives 3.12.2 (Efficient Energy Use) and 3.13.2 (Infrastructure) are of relevance to Transpower’s applications. Transpower’s proposal to provide and enhance the regions network utilities and provide for the transmission of energy is consistent with these Objectives.

Part 3.15 (Heritage) includes objectives relating to the regions natural and cultural heritage, and the need to recognise and provide for these values and places. In particular, Objectives 3.15.2 (protecting regionally significant heritage resources) and 3.15.3 (protecting heritage resources of significance to Maori) are relevant to Transpower’s proposal. We are not aware of any heritage issues associated with the proposal that have not been taken into account in the project design.

Summary

The Waikato Regional Policy Statement recognises the need to promote efficiency in the transmission of energy and the continued operation of regionally significant infrastructure while maintaining the natural and cultural resources of the region. Transpower’s applications are consistent with these provisions and there are no particular matters that arise that suggest the proposal is inconsistent with the Regional Policy Statement.

Waikato Regional Plan

The Waitkato Regional Plan provides direction regarding the use, development and protection of natural and physical resources in the Waikato Region. The relevant objectives and policies of the Waikato Regional Plan are contained within Appendix III of this report. Relevant chapters include:

  • Chapter 1 - Approaches to Resource Management.
  • Chapter 2 - Matters of Significance to Maori.
  • Chapter 3 - Water Module.
  • Chapter 5 - Land and Soil Module.

Chapter 1 (Approaches to Resource Management) sets out the purpose and scope of the plan, and the objectives and policies to achieve this. Objectives 1.2.3 (approaches to resource management) sets out the controls exercised by the Plan to manage adverse effects on the environment.

Chapter 2 (Matters of Significance to Maori) identifies the resource management issues of concern to Maori in the Waikato region. Of particular relevance to Transpower’s application is Objective 2.3 (Tangata whenua relationship with natural and physical resources). We are not aware of any cultural issues associated with the proposal that have not been taken into account in the project design and therefore consider Transpower’s proposal does not overtly offend these objectives.

The objectives and policies in Chapter 3 (Water Module) seek to safeguard, maintain and enhance the values of Waikato’s water resources. The objectives and policies of particular relevance to this application seek to:

  • Allocate and promote the use of, Waikato’s water resource in a sustainable manner (Objective 3.1.2);
  • Protect the natural character of lakes and rivers and their margins from inappropriate use and development (Policy 3.1.2.3).

Guidelines proposed by Transpower and conditions of consent will ensure the proposal is consistent with this objective and policy.

Chapter 5 (Land and Soil) contains objectives and policies that seek to promote the sustainable management of Waikato’s soil resource. Objective 5.1.2 seeks to reduce accelerated erosion across the region. The relevant policies that are applicable to Transpower’s application seek to:

  • Manage activities that have the potential to cause accelerated erosion and encourage appropriate land management practices (Policy 5.1.3.1); and
  • Promote regulatory and non-regulatory approaches to manage soil disturbance and vegetation clearance activities in high risk erosion area (Policy 5.1.3.2).

The earthworks proposed by the applicant and the soil and sediment control measures will not compromise the productive capacity of surrounding soils and should have no impact on soil erosion if appropriate guidelines are followed.

Summary

The Waikato Regional Plan provides for the use, development and protection of the natural and physical resources in the region. A high level review of the provisions of the Waikato Regional Plan indicates that Transpower’s proposal is not inconsistent with the Plan and no particular issues are identified that would preclude applications of this type.

4.2.3 District Council Statutory Documents

The relevant district planning documents are the Manukau City District Plan, Franklin District Plan, Waikato District Plan, Matamata-Piako District Plan, Waipa District Plan, South Waikato District Plan and the Taupo District Plan. A complete overview of the relevant objectives, policies and rules from each District Council is contained in Appendix IV of this report.

By way of summary, the overall activity status of the line for each District Council is as follows:

  • Manukau City Council – discretionary.
  • Franklin District Council – discretionary.
  • Waikato District Council - non-complying.
  • Matamata-Piako District Council – discretionary.
  • Waipa District Council – discretionary.
  • South Waikato District Council - non-complying.
  • Taupo District Council – discretionary.

Each of the District Plans is assessed briefly below.

Manukau City District Plan

Relevant Zones

The land is zoned Rural 1 in the Manukau Operative District Plan. It is also subject to Plan Change 8 (Whitford Rural), and is within the conical protection surface designation for Ardmore Aerodrome and the Auckland International Airport Approach path.

Overview of District Plan

Tangata Whenua

Objectives and Policies

Regard needs to be given to Tangata Whenua’s right to exercise rangatiratanga and kaitiakitanga over ancestral lands, waters, sites, waahi tapu and other taonga. These rights need to be enabled, and priority must be given to the relationship of Tangata Whenua and their culture and traditions with their ancestral taonga. Tangata Whenua should be able to fully participate in resource management activities and be actively consulted. Adverse effects of development on Tangata Whenua and taonga should be avoided, remedied or mitigated.

Heritage

Objectives and Policies

The heritage values of a diverse range of natural, physical, and cultural resources within Manukau should be preserved or protected, and Tangata Whenua taonga should be actively protected from being damaged, destroyed or desecrated. The adverse effects of development on heritage resources and Tangata Whenua taonga need to be avoided, remedied or mitigated. Tangata Whenua should also be actively consulted when taonga is affected.

Network Utility Services

Objectives and Policies

Network Utility Services should not have an adverse effect on the environmental values of the city, including heritage, visual, aural and other amenity values, nor should they have an adverse effect on the health and safety of people. Network utilities need to be managed in a sustainable manner and the operational efficiency and safety of network utility services in the city should be protected. Land use and infrastructure planning should be co-ordinated to achieve the efficient and effective provision, operation and maintenance of network utilities in the city. Network utilities should be sited and designed in such a way that there are minimal adverse effects on visual and other amenity values of the environment, adverse effects on sites, buildings, places or areas of heritage value are avoided, and should provide for other network utility services and allow these to operate efficiently.

Land Modification, Development and Subdivision

Objectives and Policies

Land modification, development and subdivision should proceed in a manner that will maintain or enhance environmental qualities and amenity values. This includes preserving and protecting areas or features of heritage value, and ensuring that land modification, development and subdivision do not create or exacerbate natural hazards, or that they do not increase the potential for natural hazards to adversely affect the environment. Network utility services need to be sustainably managed by co-ordinating their progression to support subdivision and development.

Hazardous Facilities and Substances

Objectives and Policies

The environment and community needs to be protected from the adverse effects and risks from facilities and activities involving the use, storage and transport of hazardous substances. Hazardous facilities and activities involving the use or storage of hazardous substances should be managed in such a way that avoids, remedies or mitigates adverse effects and unacceptable risks to the environment, human health and property. The risks associated with hazardous substances and facilities should not be incompatible with those of surrounding landuses.

Rural Areas

Objectives and Policies

Rural land and soil resources need to be maintained and significant vegetation and fauna, landscapes of outstanding value, the rural character and amenity values of the area need to be protected. The relationship of Maori and their culture and tradition with their ancestral land should be recognised, and the environment should be protected from the adverse effects of expressing that relationship.

Buildings, structures and activities in the rural area should not compromise the future productive potential of the land or soil resources, and should not accentuate erosion. Significant areas of vegetation should be retained, and buildings, structures and activities should not create adverse visual effects on particular “sensitive ridgeline and coastal margins”, nor should they detract from the open space of the area or dominate the site. They should not generate adverse noise, dust and odour that is not in keeping with the rural environment.

Residential Areas

Objectives and Policies

The natural environment needs to be protected from the adverse effects of development in residential areas and the pleasantness and aesthetic qualities of the City’s residential environment needs to be maintained and enhanced. Residential development should encourage energy efficiency, support existing and likely future passenger transport and utilise existing social and physical infrastructure. Activities within residential areas should be compatible with human activities such as sleep, the learning process and communication should be in keeping with residential intensity, residential character and use of buildings, and should not generate nuisance effects.

Business Areas

Objectives and Policies

The quality of the natural environment and amenity values in and neighbouring business areas needs to be maintained and enhanced. Potentially objectionable, noxious or dangerous business activities should be separated from sensitive areas and activities, and businesses should be developed in such a way as to avoid, remedy and mitigate adverse effects on air and water quality.

Public Open Space

Objectives and Policies

The efficient, effective and safe use of public open space needs to be ensured, and the amenity values of neighbouring residential areas and public open space areas needs to be protected, maintained and enhanced. Buildings and structures on public open space should be designed and sited in such a way as to enhance safety and should be compatible with the function and predominant purpose of the public open space. They should also enhance the visual amenity of the public open space, and avoid the loss, damage, desecration or deterioration of natural and cultural heritage resources.

Future Development Areas

Objectives and Policies

Natural and physical resources need to be protected and sustainably used as urbanisation occurs. Urban development should be energy efficient, have a high standard of design and amenity, and retain natural features when appropriate.

Plan Change 8 (12A Whitford Rural)

Objectives and Policies

This plan change allows for subdivision to occur in the Whitford area, but any use or development of the land must be done in such a way as to maintain the landscape character of the Whitford Rural Area. Adverse effects on the environment such as removal of native bush and vegetation, and soil and water contamination should be avoided, remedied and mitigated. Further, land use activities should not conflict, and physical infrastructure such as roading, power and communications networks should be provided in association with land subdivision, use and development in order to manage environmental effects. The relationship of Maori and their culture and traditions needs to be recognised. Sustainable management practices should be used to retain landscape character and amenity values, work with the natural characteristics of sites, protect and enhance existing remnants of native bush, riparian vegetation and wetlands, and pursue opportunities to improve biodiversity.

Other

Auckland Airport Conical Protection Zone

The towers at the northern end of Section 1 will be below the height limits for the approach path to Auckland International Airport. The height restriction in this area is approximately 182 m above sea level (Appendix 2B.1 in the Manukau Operative District Plan 2002).

Ardmore Aerodrome

Ardmore Aerodrome is under Designation 234 in Schedule 5A of the Manukau Operative District Plan 2002. It states that “a building, structure, mast, pole, tree or other object shall be permitted to penetrate any horizontal surface or conical surface provided its maximum height is no greater than 9 metres above terrain. The requiring authority may in terms of Section 176 (1)(b) of the Resource Management Act 1991 consent to works not in compliance with this rule, but any application will be considered principally in the light of potential adverse effects on the safe and efficient operation of the aerodrome and conditions may be imposed to ensure these effects are avoided, remedied or mitigated”.

Part of Section 1 of the proposed line falls within the Ardmore Aerodrome conical surface designation.

Summary

Our high level overall analysis of the provisions of the Manukau City District Plan indicates that the proposal is not necessarily inconsistent with the Plan, although some aspects of the proposal may not be strictly in accordance with specific objectives and policies within the Plan. These are matters that are likely to be highlighted in evidence to the Board from the various submitters and Transpower, but do not preclude consideration of the NOR.

Franklin District Plan

Relevant Zones

The land is zoned rural and is subject to Plan Change 14, which relates to rural and coastal objectives, policies and methods. The proposal would also fall under the Utilities provisions of the Plan.

Overview of District Plan

Partnership with Tangata Whenua

Objectives and Policies

The relationship of Maori and their culture and traditions with their ancestral lands, water, sites waahi tapu, and other taonga should be protected and adverse effects on these should be avoided, remedied or mitigated. Any effects on Tangata Whenua should be assessed in a way that respects Maori customary values and practices. Tangata Whenua should be consulted where activities have the potential to adversely affect ancestral lands, water, sites, waahi tapu, and other taonga.

Conservation of Natural Features

Objectives and Policies

The adverse effects of activities on the life supporting capacity of indigenous ecosystems should be avoided, remedied or mitigated, and the natural heritage resources of the District should be sustainably managed. This would be achieved by protecting outstanding natural features and landscapes, areas of significant vegetation and significant areas of indigenous fauna from inappropriate subdivision, use, and development; and by ensuring that representative samples of natural features, areas of indigenous vegetation, and habitats of indigenous fauna that are of value at a Regional and District level are protected.

Natural Hazards

Objectives and Policies

The potential for natural hazards to occur should be avoided and mitigated. Buildings are required to be controlled in terms of their floor levels and potential for flooding, and a hazard risk assessment should be carried out for any proposal that is in an area of known or suspected natural hazard potential. Adverse effects on flood protection works are to be avoided remedied or mitigated.

Cultural Heritage

Objectives and Policies

Heritage features need to be safeguarded, through protecting places, areas, trees and objects that have known heritage significance from inappropriate subdivision, use, and development. All persons shall avoid the modification, damage, or destruction of archaeological sites, heritage items, historic places, trees or objects, and all activities for which a resource consent is required be assessed in terms of any effects on known or significant heritage places, trees or objects in the District. In general the extent of protection required should be limited to the exterior of a building or object and to an area around the "item" which is relative to its size and scale.

Recreation and Reserves

Objectives and Policies

Sufficient recreation and open space land needs to be provided to meet the needs of present and future generations, and recreational activities need to avoid any adverse effects on the quality of natural and physical resources. Public access to the margins of the coastal area, rivers and lakes need to be maintained and improved.

Activities throughout the District (Network and other Utilities and Essential Services)

Objectives and Policies

The importance of network and other utilities and other essential services should be recognised and their development, operation and maintenance provided for. These services should be provided in a manner that does not adversely affect the health and safety of the people of the District, and that allows any adverse effects on the natural and physical resources to be avoided, remedied or mitigated. They should be sensitive to the amenity values of the District and relevant cultural or spiritual values

Network and other utilities and essential services will be controlled according to the potential effects of the activity and the continuing operation of significant infrastructure shall be protected from adverse effects from other inappropriate activity. Where technically practicable and financially realistic, utilities shall be placed underground and all agencies shall be encouraged or required, as circumstances permit, to co-site utility equipment and infrastructure where this is technically feasible and practical.

Rural Zone

Objectives and Policies

Land and soil resources should be maintained and managed in such a way that their accessibility, versatility and life-supporting capacity are sustained for present and future generations, life-supporting capacity of soils is safeguarded, and the inappropriate removal of soil from versatile land is avoided. Conflicts between rural residents and primary productive activities should be avoided, remedied or mitigated, as should the adverse effect of activities on outstanding natural features and significant habitats. To manage conflicts, activities in the rural zone should not create noise, odour or dust that would not normally be expected from a rural environment. Buildings and structures should not visually compromise outstanding natural features.

Rural Plan Change: Part 17 Rural and Coastal Objectives and Policies

Objectives and Policies

Landscape values, water resources, indigenous ecological resources and natural character should be recognised, maintained and enhanced. The life supporting capacity of versatile soils should be recognised and provided for.

It is necessary to enhance opportunities to utilise the productive potential of natural, rural and soil resources in an environmentally sustainable manner while promoting the safe, efficient use, development and protection of physical resources and providing for the sustainable growth of the District at appropriate rural and coastal village settlements. Rural land use conflicts should be managed to balance the expectations of new residents with the need to recognise and protect existing rural activities.

Within the Hunua Rural Management Area the connectedness of indigenous vegetation in the area should be protected and enhanced, and there needs to be a wide range of rural, recreation, tourism, visitor, countryside living and environmental activities provided for in ways which complement each other. Conflicts need to be managed, the coastal and rural character needs to be maintained, and the adverse effects on outstanding natural features and significant habitats need to be avoided or minimised.

Activities in the rural area shall not create effects of noise, odour, dust etc. that would not normally be found in the rural environment, and activities in the rural area should not cause an adverse effect that would prevent activities that are dependent on the productive potential of land and soil. Buildings and structures should not visually compromise outstanding natural features or the values of significant habitats, or the rural landscape.

Summary

The Franklin District Plan seeks to protect ecological, heritage and cultural values, while providing for the essential nature of network and other utilities. The proposal is not necessarily inconsistent with the Plan, but the specific details of the project within the Franklin District will need to be considered against the Plan provisions in relation to particular ecological, heritage, and cultural values along the route. Again, this is a matter for evidence at the hearing.

Waikato District Plan

Relevant Zones

The land is zoned rural, and the line runs through a Mining Zone and may encroach on a Landscape Policy Area and a Natural Conservation Area.

Overview of District Plan

Tangata Whenua and Region

Objectives and Policies

Maori perspectives of natural and physical resource management need to be taken into account. This will be done by recognising the importance of the marae to Tangata Whenua and the cultural diversity it introduces to the district as a whole, by promoting the protection and preservation of waahi tapu, by recognising and respecting the spiritual and cultural significance of particular landforms to Tangata Whenua, and by supporting the right of Tangata Whenua to protect indigenous forests.

Rural Zone

Objectives and Policies

The versatility and life-supporting capacity of the soil resource needs to be maintained and safeguarded and the efficient and effective management of the District's physical resources of roading, land drainage, and rural water supplies needs to be ensured. Rural land needs to be retained, intensive forms of farming, rural industries, and commercial services should not adversely affect the environment and the rural visual character and amenity values need to be maintained or enhanced. Rural industries and commercial services must be located in areas free from any natural hazard and coal mining subsidence. Land in the rural zone needs to be efficiently utilised, while recognising the foreseeable needs of future generations.

There needs to be provision for subdivision of rural land into shapes and sizes that enable efficient use of the land and all new lots must contain sufficient appropriate area to provide for network utilities, to prevent surface water contamination, and to remedy the effects of noise. Land containing high quality soils must be retained in appropriately shaped and sized lots that enable efficient use and development of the soil resource. The physical effects of tall or large buildings on the landscape need to be avoided, remedied or mitigated.

Extractive Industry

Objectives and Policies

Land use activities should not unduly constrain potential access to, and the development of, identified significant coal and aggregate resources. Mineral resources identified in the Aggregate Extraction Policy Area need to be protected from the effects of the constraints created by encroachment by sensitive activities.

Landscape Policy Area

Objectives and Policies

In the Landscape Policy Area, development should be encouraged to occur in such a way as to integrate physical development with the natural landscape. Any disunity and imbalance in scale between buildings or structures and natural elements within the Landscape Policy Area should be avoided, mitigated or remedied. Any disharmonious placement of buildings through poor design and any dominance of structures through their being located as a visual focal point should also be avoided, mitigated or remedied.

Natural Hazards and Coal Mining Subsidence

Objectives and Policies

The adverse effects of natural hazards and coal mining subsidence on people and property need to be minimised. Activities in high risk areas which would place people or significant property at risk should be avoided. Hazard avoidance measures should be adopted in hazard prone areas, and activities should not increase the adverse effects of natural hazards.

Noise

Objectives and Policies

An acceptable ambient noise level must be created or maintained in the District. People, particularly those in dwellings, should be protected from the effects of noise arising from activities.

Public Works and Utilities

Objectives and Policies

Public works and utilities need to be provided in a manner which is sensitive to the amenity values of the District and avoids and/or mitigates any adverse effects on the natural and physical environment. There should be a balance between the operational requirements of public works and utilities with the need to avoid, remedy and mitigate adverse effects on the environment. Further, public works and utilities should be placed underground where practicable, or co-sited with other facilities. The installation of network utility services should not detract from amenity values, and should contribute to the social wellbeing and health and safety of residents.

Conservation and Natural Resources

Objectives and Policies

Those qualities which contribute to the natural character and amenity values of the area need to be conserved and enhanced, and significant habitats of indigenous flora and fauna safeguarded. Outstanding natural features and landscapes and significant areas of remnant indigenous vegetation need to be protected.

Items of Cultural Value

Objectives and Policies

Developments associated with heritage resources should not adversely affect their historical or cultural integrity. The use of land within areas where there are buildings, objects, items and areas associated with early Maori and European settlement should not compromise the visual character of those settlements or the links that they provide with ancestral lands, water, sites, waahi tapu and other taonga.

Summary

The Waikato District Plan recognises the importance of infrastructure and other development, and tries to provide for this in a way that does not compromise environmental values. While the proposal is not necessarily inconsistent with the Plan, landscape and visual effects will be important Board considerations. These are matters that are likely to be highlighted in evidence to the Board from the various submitters and Transpower.

Matamata - Piako District Plan

Relevant Zones

The land is zoned rural, and the line runs through a flood hazard area and an area shown as peat soils on the Council Planning Maps.

Overview of District Plan

Natural Environment and Heritage

Objectives and Policies

The varied landscape qualities of the district should be retained and enhanced, and the natural and heritage resources within the District need to be recognised, protected and enhanced. Buildings, structures and activities in outstanding landscapes should preserve the natural character, and not detract from the amenity values of the landscape. Any activities that have the potential to compromise, destroy or damage significant areas of vegetation and fauna should be avoided, mitigated or remedied, and outstanding natural features and areas of indigenous vegetation or fauna are to be permanently protected from subdivision, use and development. Activities in the vicinity of significant heritage resources should be sensitive to their original forms and features, and should not adversely affect significant recorded archaeological sites and waahi tapu.

Natural Hazards

Objectives and Policies

The risks of flooding affecting people and property need to be minimised. Future development must not increase the flood risk and new developments and subdivision should take note of overland flow paths in their design to avoid adverse effects.

Land and Development

Objectives and Policies

The District's land resource needs to be maintained and enhanced to enable activities that do not threaten the life supporting capacity of the soil and consequently water and ecosystems. All activities need to be managed in a way that maintains and enhances the District’s good quality soils and ensures that the productive capability of rural land is not compromised.

Amenity

Objectives and Policies

Residences need to be free from the effects of unreasonable and excessive noise, odour, dust, glare and vibration. A healthy and safe working, living and recreational environment needs to be provided by avoiding and mitigating the effect of excessive noise, vibration, odour and dust.

Residential and rural amenity need to be protected by the use of performance standards for noise, glare, odour, particulates and vibration control to ensure that generated effects do not exceed background or ambient levels. Activities in business, rural, industrial and recreational areas need to avoid, remedy or mitigate generated effects to maintain and enhance a healthy, safe and pleasant environment. Existing mitigation measures need to be reinforced, and those who generate the nuisance effect need to be encouraged to maintain and enhance those measures.

Works and Network Utilities

Objectives and Policies

The effective provision of works and utilities should minimise the adverse environmental effects while enabling people and communities to provide for their social economic and cultural wellbeing and for their health and safety. The co-siting of facilities is encouraged where practical, and existing and proposed works and infrastructure should be protected from incompatible use or subdivision of adjacent lands. Works and network utilities need to have particular regard to the avoidance, remediation or mitigation of anticipated environmental effects, and there needs to be a precautionary approach in the siting of facilities relative to dwellings where there is significant doubt or debate over the impact of its effects.

Other

State of the Environment Report 1999

There has been concern over the proximity of the proposed line to Morrinsville, which has experience residential growth in the recent years, and that future residential growth will be affected by the line route. The State of the Environment Report 1999 states that Residential and Rural Residential Zones have been provided for in the District Plans, and it is anticipated that the majority of subdivision/residential growth should occur in these areas. The line route passes relatively close to a Rural Residential Zone, but it will not affect development in this area. The main effect of the line will be visual.

Summary

The Matamata-Piako District Plan seeks to enable the provision of works and utilities in a way that minimises adverse environmental effects while enabling people and communities to provide for their social, economic and cultural wellbeing and for their health and safety. On high-level review basis, the Transpower proposal has addressed this basic issue, however a site specific assessment can only be determined on a case by case basis through evidence at the hearing. The proposal may affect future growth in the Morrinsville area in terms of its potential visual effects.

Waipa District Plan

Relevant Zones

The land is zoned Rural in the Waipa District Plan, and the line runs through Special Landscape Character Areas.

Overview of District Plan

Rural Activities

Objectives and Policies

The rural environment needs to be managed so that changes induced by humankind do not significantly affect the ability of the land and water to sustain the activities of human, animal and plant communities. Development which could have an adverse effect on the landscape qualities of the scenic landscape protection corridor should be discouraged. Areas of significant indigenous bush and trees, or significant habitats of indigenous fauna need to be identified and protected. Maori conservation ethics and issues need to be taken into account in the management of rural areas, and assets of cultural significance to Maori need to be protected. Iwi should be consulted on issues of cultural significance. Activities in rural areas should not adversely effect the rural environment, or the sustainability if natural and physical resources.

Public Works and Works of Utility Service Operators

Objectives and Policies

Public works and utility services need to be provided for in the District Plan, and any adverse effects on the environment caused by these services need to be avoided or mitigated. Utility structures of the Council and utility services operators that are not otherwise designated as activities allowed should be included in particular zones as Permitted, Controlled, or Discretionary Activities as may be appropriate. Works and projects which are likely to have a major impact on the environment need to have defined zones.

Noise

Objectives and Policies

The adverse effects of noise on the health and wellbeing of people and on the amenity values of the District need to be avoided. Areas for particular performance standards for noise need to be defined, and a maximum permissible noise level needs to be established.

Heritage Protection

Objectives and Policies

Heritage objects and areas should be protected from adverse effects of incompatible uses and activities. The sensitivity of iwi should be respected in identifying the location of places which are waahi tapu or have some aspect of taonga associated with them. The New Zealand Historic Places Trust needs to be advised of significant developments involving identified Heritage Objects and Areas. Significant stands of bush or specimen trees should be identified and protected.

Other

Special Landscape Character Areas

Objectives and Policies

Most of the line through the District runs through Special Landscape Character Areas. In these areas, structures must be in keeping with the natural environment, with the height of a structure not permitted to be over a height plane of 8 metres parallel to the ground. The structure should also not be placed so that it intrudes upon views from the length of the state highway within the Landscape Character Area.

Summary

While the Waipa District Plan provides for the establishment of public works and utility services, and provides for existing infrastructure, it seeks to do this within a framework that protects the environment, and in particular, recognises important landscape features such as the area around Lake Karapiro. The proposed transmission line passes through the area identified as “Special Landscape Area” in the Plan, but otherwise is not contrary to the provisions of the Plan.

South Waikato District Plan

Relevant Zones

The zone is Rural, and the line passes through a Riparian Protection zone along the Waipa Stream which is an advisory overlay, and passes through the Kinleith Waste Disposal Systems overlay.

Overview of District Plan

Planning Objectives

Objectives and Policies

The overall planning objective for the District is the sustainable management of natural and physical resources in the South Waikato District. Landscape and amenity values of the District should be enhanced, and significant cultural historic and natural sites should be recognised and protected. The natural and physical resources of the District should be sustainably managed, and adverse effects on these should be avoided, remedied or mitigated.

Tangata Whenua

Objectives and Policies

The principles of the Treaty of Waitangi should be taken into account in all aspects of resource management within the South Waikato District. Any use, development and protection of natural resources should recognise and provide for the relationship of Maori and their culture and traditions. When deemed appropriate by the Council, consultation is required to be undertaken between the applicant and Tangata Whenua prior to lodging a resource consent application.

Public Works and Network Utilities

Objectives and Policies

Appropriate infrastructure should be provided in such a way that it does not have significant adverse effects on the environment. Physical resources need to be sustainably managed, and the importance of network utilities to the social, economic and cultural well-being of the people of the district needs to be recognised.

Most public works and network utilities will be provided for as Permitted Activities subject to compliance with Performance Standards. Significant effects of public works and network utilities on the environment need to be avoided, remedied or mitigated. The co-siting or sharing of public works and network utility facilities is encouraged where this is technically feasible and practical and where the operations of co-sited facilities are compatible. Further, public works and network utilities should be placed underground where appropriate and practical to avoid adverse effects on amenity values. Public works and utilities need to be located and designed in a manner that will not adversely affect the health and safety of people.

Hazards

Objectives and Policies

Land use practices should not cause or promote hazards, nor should they increase the risk of adverse effects from hazards on the environment, people and their property. The location of buildings is controlled to ensure they are not going to be damaged by, or cause, hazards.

Landscape and Amenity Values

Objectives and Policies

Amenity values should be maintained and enhanced, and special landscapes protected, including areas of indigenous forest and vegetation. The natural character of rural areas needs to be protected and enhanced, as do the amenity values in the District’s commercial areas. The adverse visual effects of industrial and commercial activities should be avoided, remedied or mitigated.

Noise

Objectives and Policies

An environment should be created where noise levels and types of noise do not exceed a reasonable level. Noise should be controlled in order to avoid, remedy and mitigate the adverse effects of noise on the health and wellbeing of people. The amenity values of the District should be protected from the adverse effects of noise, and development should be controlled to minimise conflict between 'noisy' and 'quiet' activities.

Heritage and Ecological Protection

Objectives and Policies

Cultural, historic, and natural sites, areas, places and structures within the District, including important ecosystems and vegetation, need to be protected. Indigenous vegetation and natural habitats need to be sustainably managed to protect them from any adverse effects of development.

Rural Zone

Objectives and Policies

The potential of soils in the District needs to be protected for productive rural uses by present and future generations, and the potential of the rural land resource needs to be conserved for use by a wide range of rural activities. Potential incompatibilities between activities in rural areas should be minimised, and the “clean green” image of the District should be protected and enhanced. Land use practices that result in this should be encouraged.

Reserve Zone

Objectives and Policies

A sufficient area of publicly owned reserve land needs to be maintained with a high level of visual, cultural, historical and ecological amenity and protection to allow for recreation and other activities.

Hydro-Electric Power Generation Zone

Objectives and Policies

General and transmission of electricity needs to be allowed for in this zone, and the maintenance, upgrading and limited expansion of existing electricity generation facilities provided for. Any adverse effects on the environment need to be avoided, remedied or mitigated through the use of rules Performance Standards.

Summary

As with other District Plans, the South Waikato District Plan recognises and provides for public works and network utilities, but also requires adverse effects to be avoided, remedied or mitigated. The proposal will not be contrary to the Plan, although some aspects of the proposal may not be strictly in accordance with specific objectives and policies within the Plan. These are matters that can be addressed in evidence to the Board from Transpower and the relevant submitters.

Taupo District Plan

Relevant Zones

The land is zoned as Rural Environment in the Taupo District Plan, and the line passes through a foreshore protection area.

Overview of District Plan

Rural Environment

Objectives and Policies

The Rural Environment should be protected to maintain and enhance the rural amenity and character. This is done by protecting the District’s lakes and river margins from buildings that are visually obtrusive and/or result in a decline of the amenity of the foreshore area, and by avoiding, remedying or mitigating adverse effects of subdivision, use and development of land on areas or features of cultural, historical, landscape or ecological value.

The efficient and effective functioning of the Rural Environment should occur by enabling the use and development of natural and physical resources, while at the same time ensuring appropriate environmental outcomes are achieved. The important role of resource use and development in the Rural Environment should be recognised by providing for the continued operation and associated development of existing electricity generation facilities and network utilities by allowing their use, maintenance and minor upgrading where all significant adverse effects are avoided, remedied or mitigated.

Tangata Whenua

Objectives and Policies

The cultural and spiritual values of Tangata Whenua should be recognised and provided for when managing the effects of activities on the natural and physical resources within the District. In particular, the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi need to be taken into account. Activities need to have regard for the cultural values of Tangata Whenua, especially those activities on or near sites of significance to Tangata Whenua.

Landscape Values

Objectives and Policies

Outstanding natural features and landscapes need to be protected through Outstanding Landscape Management Areas. Landscape amenity values should be maintained and enhanced through Landscape Amenity Management Areas.

Natural Values

Objectives and Policies

The integrity of areas of natural value should be protected and maintained, particularly from inappropriate activities and development. The scale, intensity and location of activities within areas of natural value needs be considered to avoid adverse effects on the natural values.

Natural Hazards

Objectives and Policies

Activities should be protected from the adverse effects of natural hazards, while at the same time they should not accelerate, displace or increase the effects of a natural hazard. The design and location of activities and development within identified natural hazard areas should be controlled to avoid or mitigate the effects of the natural hazard. The activity or development should also avoid altering or changing the nature of a natural hazard event.

Network Utilities

Objectives and Policies

The efficient and effective operation, maintenance and minor upgrading of existing Network Utilities and the provision of new Network Utilities should be continued, and the establishment of new Network Utilities should be provided for in a way that recognizes the characteristics and amenity of the different Environment Areas. Network Utilities should be designed and located to avoid, remedy or mitigate adverse effects on the environment and protect the health and safety of the community. Network Utilities, where possible, should be placed underground or co-sited, particularly near cities.

Summary

The Taupo District Plan provides for the establishment of new Network Utilities, but requires that this be achieved in a way that recognizes the characteristics and amenity of the different Environment areas and in a way that avoids, remedies or mitigates adverse effects on the environment. A significant consideration in this area will be the maintenance and enhancement of any foreshore areas that the line would pass through. Our high-level assessment indicates that the proposal would not be contrary to the Plan, but there may be site specific issues that will be highlighted in evidence to the hearing from the various parties.

4.2.4 Consideration of Alternative Sites, Routes, or Methods

The s 171(b) requirement to consider alternative sites, routes or methods applies when the requiring authority does not have an interest in the land for which the designation is sought, or where there is likely to be a significant adverse effect on the environment. In this instance, Transpower does not have an interest in all of the land involved for the proposal, and it is commonly accepted that there is the potential for adverse environmental effects to occur, hence s 171(b) is relevant.

The Transpower proposal includes details of a range of alternative means for achieving the aims of the project as outlined further in Section 6.2.3 of this report. While we have not assessed the details of each alternative or whether there are other alternatives that may deliver similar outcomes, in our opinion the Transpower assessment has given adequate consideration to the alternatives. This can only be tested by evidence presented by the parties at the hearing.

4.2.5 Necessity for the Work

Transpower is a Requiring Authority in terms of s 167 of the RMA, and is authorised to seek land to be designated to enable it to achieve its objectives. Transpower’s main function is to provide national transmission utility services to New Zealand, and the objective for this project fits within that broad framework. The Transpower objective is to:

“To ensure the continued security of electricity supply to Auckland, Northland, and parts of the Coromandel and Waikato, by constructing and operating a new transmission link (including substations and ancillary facilities) and to upgrade existing assets, in a manner that is safe, efficient and consistent with maintaining current grid reliability standards and which provides flexibility to address future changes in supply”.

There also several “supplementary” objectives in relation to specific parts of the proposal.

While the objective is specifically targeted at this proposal, we consider that the proposal can be regarded as being reasonably necessary for Transpower to achieve its overall objective of providing national network transmission services to New Zealand, as well being reasonably necessary to achieve the specific objectives for the project. That is not to say that it is the only means by which those objectives can be achieved, rather it is simply that the work and designations proposed will achieve the outcome Transpower is seeking.

4.3 Part II Considerations

In respect to the NOR, we believe that the applicant has provided information to describe the nature and extent of the proposal, and has broadly identified the potential effects of the proposal based on the expert advice given to them. We acknowledge that there will be differing opinions as to the level of environmental effects and the extent to which the proposal either upholds or threatens any of the matters of national importance or other matters specified in s 6 - 7 of the RMA, or whether treaty principles have been taken into account (s 8). Because the NOR and resource consents are linked and the consents are required to achieve the intent of the NOR, the broad s 5 judgement should consider both parts of the application together. However, overall we believe that with the benefit of the information provided by the applicant and the evidence the Board is likely to hear at the hearing from the applicant and submitters, the Board would be in a position to make an overall broad judgement as to whether or not the confirmation of the requirement (in its current form, or modified and/or subject to conditions) will promote the purpose of the RMA.

4.4 Summary

This section of the report contains our high level review of the information provided by Transpower in the NOR documentation in respect to the proposed North Island Grid Upgrade Project, and provides an overall assessment in terms of the requirements of s 171 and Part II of the RMA. It should not be seen as either supporting or opposing the NOR, rather the intention is simply to provide an overview of the issues, information shortfalls and planning requirements relating to the project.

Our assessment is that the proposal:

  • Is not inconsistent with or contrary to any national policy statement, or any regional policy statement.
  • Is supported by some, and conflicts with other, provisions of the various district plans.
  • Has, subject to any evidence to be given at the hearing, given adequate consideration to alternative sites, routes or methods for undertaking the work, although some deviations to the route could be considered (for example, in relation to special landscape areas).
  • Is for work and designations that are reasonably required for achieving the objectives of the requiring authority.
  • Has provided enough information for the Board to make an overall broad judgement as to whether the NOR promote the purpose of the RMA.

Whether the NOR should be upheld or not, or what conditions could be imposed is not the purpose of this report, and can only be determined following consideration of the evidence presented to the Board of Inquiry.