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Urgent need for protection of New Zealand’s coastal landscape

Alarm bells for protection of coastal landscape should be well and truly ringing! This is exemplified by the great rush toward “life-style block” subdivision of large coastal tracts (simply glance at the “NZ Herald” Real Estate section), and recent cases such as the University of Auckland’s hedonistic attempt to sell prime coastal land on the scenic Coromandel coastline for development. Coastal landscape protection is already embedded in the Resource Management Act, and most explicitly stated under S6 (“Matters of National Importance”). S6a refers to “preservation of the natural character of the coastal environment” – which implicitly includes landscape - and S6b “the protection of outstanding natural features and landscapes from inappropriate subdivision….”. Unfortunately landscape protection is rarely considered seriously as a major impediment to new sub-divisional developments along areas of largely undeveloped coast. There are compelling reasons for protection of coastal landscape. These include (i) reduction in long term economic return from tourism from ribbon development along the coast, (ii) huge increases in the cost of supplying infrastructure (roading, electricity, water supply, sewage disposal) to remote coastal wild and scenic locations – which the entire community contributes major cost for rather than the select few beneficiaries at the end of the line; and (iii) the improved infrastructure amenities, facilities and economic benefits possible from concentration of capital development into nucleated coastal settlements. But the major problem is the creeping ribbon development along the coast – leading to significant irreversible impact on the “vistas of nature” – especially along the scenic coasts of Northland, the Coromandel Peninsula, the central North Island and the Marlborough Sounds.
Conference Contribution
Type of thesis
Healy, T. (2003). Urgent need to protect New Zealand’s coastal landscapes. In P.Kench and T. Hume (Eds.) Coasts and Ports Australasian Conference 2003 [CDROM]. Paper 60, 7.
This paper has been presented at the Coasts and Ports Australasian Conference 2003. Copyright © 2003 Terry R. Healy. Title on file differs from published title.