About the plan

What is a District Plan?

Every district in New Zealand must have a working plan. The plans need to identify community values and how to achieve them by managing where and how services are delivered, and how resources are used. This includes:

  • Drinking water
  • Wastewater
  • Storm water
  • Local roads
  • Rubbish collection and management
  • Libraries
  • Reserves and outdoor amenities
  • Town and rural environments
  • Minerals and mining
  • Hazardous substances
  • Heritage and cultural sites
  • Landscapes and habitats

Background to Te Tai o Poutini Plan

In 2015 some members of the West Coast community asked the Local Government Commission to look at options for streamlining the local councils. The Commission ran a collaborative process with the four West Coast councils, looking at their current systems and options to improve them. 

In 2018 the Local Government Commission released its proposal for local government reorganisation on the West Coast. The Local Government Commission recommended:

  • Transferring the statutory obligations for preparing district plans from the three West Coast district councils to the West Coast Regional Council. 
  • Delegating these obligations to a joint committee comprising all four councils and local iwi, with an independent chair. 

This means that, rather than each of the three District Councils preparing individual plans, Te Tai o Poutini Plan Committee is now responsible for preparing and approving a new combined district plan covering the whole of the West Coast.

Details of the Local Government Commission’s processes, including their decisions and reasoning, are available on the Commission’s website at http://www.lgc.govt.nz/the-reorganisation-process/reorganisation-current-applications/view/west-coast-reorganisation/?step=main 

An Order in Council detailing the formal reorganisation scheme was signed by the Governor-General on 17 June 2019, and came into force on 19 July 2019 – https://gazette.govt.nz/notice/id/2019-go2872

The Order in Council has the force of law, so we are now legally required to prepare a Te Tai o Poutini Plan.

Membership of Tai Poutini Plan Committee

Te Tai o Poutini Plan Committee is a joint committee made up of the four West Coast councils and local iwi. It is comprised of the Mayor or Chair and one other Councillor from each council and one representative each from Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Waewae and Te Rūnanga o Makaawhio. It is chaired by an independent chairperson.

The Committee has full decision-making powers, and the make-up of the Committee ensures each district has equal input and voting rights on what goes in the Plan.

Funding, resources and support

The reorganisation scheme requires the West Coast Regional Council to rate for the operation of Te Tai o Poutini Plan Committee. The Regional Council will also provide corporate and administrative support services. 

Moving forward, the West Coast Regional Council will consult Te Tai o Poutini Plan Committee before setting the annual budget for the committee. 

Technical Support

The reorganisation scheme establishes a technical advisory team to support Te Tai o Poutini Plan Committee. This team comprises planners with expertise from across the four councils and local iwi ensuring local interests are well understood and represented.

There is also a steering group, comprising the four council chief executives and iwi representatives, to ensure the project is supported and progressing as planned.

Plan Objectives

The objective of a district plan is to promote the purpose of local government. A Te Tai o Poutini Plan covering the whole of the West Coast needs to: 

  1. Support democratic local decision-making; 
  2. Enable action to meet the current and future needs of communities for good quality local infrastructure and local public services; and,
  3. Ensure performance of regulatory functions in a way that is most efficient, appropriate and cost-effective for households and businesses.

How Te Tai o Poutini Plan will meet these objectives

  1. Each district and rūnanga has representatives on the decision making Te Tai o Poutini Plan Committee, the Technical Advisory Team and the Steering Group, to ensure local issues are considered in the decisions.
  2. The district plans are due for assessment to meet Central Government requirements. Updating the plan now provides the opportunity to better plan for current and future community needs.
  3. All of the West Coast district plans require updating to meet current national policy and standards. 
  4. Rather than re-writing and paying for three plans, it will save time and money writing one combined plan.
  5. Te Tai o Poutini Plan will also provide consistency for things like development rules and natural hazard management across the region.
  6. Standardising policies, rules and consenting processes will make the plan easier for the community to use, and will reduce the need to submit on multiple plans.

Te Tai o Poutini Plan will help plan for development in the right places so development can go ahead having the services they need, while still protecting the environment.