The New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement (NZCPS) is a national policy statement under the Resource Management Act 1991 (‘the Act’). The purpose of the NZCPS is to state policies in order to achieve the purpose of the Act in relation to the coastal environment of New Zealand.
The coastal environment has characteristics, qualities and uses that mean there are particular challenges in promoting sustainable management:
- the coastal environment varies in nature and extent around the country;
- most existing towns and cities are in or close to a coastal location;
- the coastal environment contains established infrastructure connecting New Zealand internally and internationally such as ports, airports, railways, roads and submarine cables;
- natural and physical resources important to the economic and social wellbeing of the nation and communities, such as high quality coastal water, fresh water, renewable energy, and minerals are found within the coastal environment, including in areas with high natural character, landscape and amenity values;
- the natural and recreational attributes of the coast and its attraction as a place to live and visit combine with an increasingly affluent and mobile society to place growing pressure on coastal space and other resources;
- activities inland can have a major impact on coastal water quality;
- activities in the coastal environment are susceptible to the effects of natural hazards such as coastal erosion and tsunami, and those associated with climate change;
- there is continuing and growing demand for coastal space and resources for commercial activities as diverse as aquaculture and sand mining; and
- the coast has particular importance to tangata whenua, including as kaitiaki.
The coastal environment is facing the following key issues:
- the ability to manage activities in the coastal environment is hindered by a lack of understanding about some coastal processes and the effects of activities on them;
- loss of natural character, landscape values and wild or scenic areas along extensive areas of the coast, particularly in areas closer to population centres or accessible for rural residential development;
- continuing decline in species, habitats and ecosystems in the coastal environment under pressures from subdivision and use, vegetation clearance, loss of intertidal areas, plant and animal pests, poor water quality, and sedimentation in estuaries and the coastal marine area;
- demand for coastal sites for infrastructure uses (including energy generation) and for aquaculture to meet the economic, social and cultural needs of people and communities;
- poor and declining coastal water quality in many areas as a consequence of point and diffuse sources of contamination, including stormwater and wastewater discharges;
- adverse effects of poor water quality on aquatic life and opportunities for aquaculture, mahinga kai gathering and recreational uses such as swimming and kayaking;
- loss of natural, built and cultural heritage from subdivision, use, and development;
- compromising of the open space and recreational values of the coastal environment, including the potential for permanent and physically accessible walking public access to and along the coastal marine area;
- continuing coastal erosion and other natural hazards that will be exacerbated by climate change and which will increasingly threaten existing infrastructure, public access and other coastal values as well as private property; and
- the use of vehicles on beaches causing ecological damage and creating conflicts with other recreational uses and values of the coastal environment.
For the coastal environment of the Hauraki Gulf, the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park Act 2000 requires that sections 7 and 8 of that Act must be treated as a New Zealand coastal policy statement issued under the Act. Section 10(2) of the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park Act 2000 states that if there is a conflict between sections 7 and 8 and the provisions of the NZCPS, the NZCPS prevails.