Submission to Auckland Council on The Draft Auckland Plan. 31 October 2011

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1 Submission to Auckland Council on The Draft Auckland Plan by WWF-New Zealand PO Box 6237, Marion Square, Wellington Tel: Contacts: Victoria Travers, Auckland Marine Matters Manager ( ) Lee Barry, Climate and Energy Advocate ( ) 1. Introduction 31 October WWF welcomes the opportunity to comment on the Draft Auckland Plan. 1.2 WWF-New Zealand is the local office of the WWF International Network, the world s largest and most experienced independent conservation organisation. It has close to five million supporters and a global network active in more than 100 countries. WWF s mission is to stop the degradation of the planet's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature. This is achieved by working on the ground with local communities, and in partnership with government and industry, using the best possible science to advocate change and effective conservation policy. 2. Executive Summary 2.1 WWF-New Zealand applaud the Auckland Council for a bold and ambitious Draft Plan which gives due consideration to the environment, and acknowledges Local Government s responsibility to biodiversity and conservation as part of creating a highly livable city. 2.2 This Draft Plan provides an opportunity for the Mayor and Auckland Council to be leaders within New Zealand and internationally on a number of critical issues: - Adopting best practice for marine spatial planning, underpinned by sound ecosystem-based management. - Acting decisively to cut greenhouse gas emissions through a transformational shift in the management of energy systems, urban design standards and transport systems. 2.3 In light of Auckland s high proportion of greenhouse gas emissions from transport, WWF fully supports the progressive and long overdue prioritisation of a single transport system focused on growing public transport patronage, cutting car trips and congestion. 2.4 When considering the protection of the region s unique biodiversity, WWF would encourage the Auckland Council to prioritise the protection of two marine species in particular; the Maui s Dolphin and the Black Petrel. 2.5 WWF looks forward to the development of further detailed plans to complement the Auckland Plan, in particular, Marine Spatial Plans for Auckland s marine ecosystems, the Auckland Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Strategy, the Auckland Energy Strategy and the Climate Change Adaption Strategy. WWF would welcome the opportunity to participate as a stakeholder in those processes. Specific feedback from WWF on relevant sections of the Draft Plan are provided as follows: 3. Section C: Auckland s Strategic Direction 3.1 WWF strongly supports the concept of an Eco City approach which has been further defined since the Discussion Document stage, and is now well articulated in section C3 and as the principles in box C1.

2 3.2 WWF strongly supports the following Transformation Shifts identified as contributing to Auckland becoming the world s most livable city ; - Strongly commit to environmental action and green growth - Move to outstanding public transport within one network - Radically improve the quality of urban living 3.3 In particular WWF strongly endorses greater use of public transport as the appropriate and internationally proven solution to the congestion on Auckland s transport network. 3.4 WWF also welcomes the recognition that a strong commitment to environment action and green growth will require a fundamentally different approach to the way we grow and develop It also requires restoring and enhancing our natural environment including improving our biodiversity, quality of our air, land, waters and seas to back up our international brand. 4. Section D: Auckland High Level Development Strategy 4.1 Part II: Key Structural Shapers and Enablers 2. Land use and transportation integration WWF commends the Draft Auckland Plan s deliberate step to move away from an engineer led approach to transport planning, and to balance the function of movement with the need to create people-friendly living and working places, and to also balance character with capacity on streets and roads Integration of land use with the transport system can only improve experiences for people and the effects on the environment by delivering a more effective and efficient transport network. 5. Chapter 4: Auckland s Environment 5.1 Targets WWF welcomes the chapter in the Draft Plan dedicated to Auckland s environment, and its targets for recognising and protecting both biodiversity itself and the natural resources that support Auckland s people WWF welcomes the ambitious targets set in this Strategic Direction particularly those regarding regional extinctions and threat status, and vulnerability of ecosystems. We recognise the Council has limited control over some of the mitigating factors that will affect achieving these targets and we therefore urge the Council to work in partnership with government agencies such as the Department of Conservation, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Ministry for the Environment and Ministry of Fisheries to ensure these targets are shared and mutually achievable, perhaps in a similar way to the Box 11.1 transport planning principles WWF also urges the Council to continue the previous high levels of support and resourcing of community ecological restoration groups by previous individual councils in the Auckland region WWF urges the council to also recognize the role of NGOs (such as WWF and Forest and Bird) in supporting and resourcing communities in such projects which can add value in delivery of the proposed targets WWF also urges the Council to recognise iwi as key stakeholders in delivering environmental targets The target to increase the proportion of residents who understand their risk from natural hazards, should include explicit further education on the hazards associated with the impacts of climate change (see below). 5.2 Priority 1 Value our Natural Heritage WWF is encouraged by the inclusion of biodiversity targets in the draft Auckland plan and would draw attention to the urgency required to protect Maui s Dolphins and Black Petrel Maui s dolphin are endemic to the West Coast of the North Island between Taranaki and Dargaville, they are currently listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as critically endangered. Recent population studies show a

3 continued decline that will lead to their extinction within 20 years unless urgent action is taken to protect them from the main threat of set-net fishing. Pressure on Maui s dolphin habitat is due to increase with proposals to increase sand mining on the west coast. The situation for Maui s dolphins conflicts with the Draft Plan s target of ensuring no regional extinctions of indigenous species by Black Petrel are migratory seabirds which only breed on Great Barrier Island (2000 breeding pairs) and Little Barrier Island (100 breeding pairs) in the Hauraki Gulf. They are listed by the IUCN as vulnerable with a declining population trend. They face both land-based threats when they are breeding and ocean-based threats from fishing activity, much of which occurs on the Hauraki Gulf. Recent studies 1 commissioned by the Ministry of Fisheries identified the Black Petrel as the most atrisk seabird in New Zealand from commercial and recreational fishing, with fishing related mortality ten times higher than potential biological removal WWF agrees that to maintain Auckland s biodiversity we must protect and restore habitats and ecosystems (par 402). With only 0.37% of Auckland s extensive marine environment currently afforded full protection in no-take marine reserves, this environment remains vulnerable and marine biodiversity continues to be suppressed. WWF would encourage the Auckland Council to be national and world leaders by advocating for a minimum 10% of our marine ecosystems to be set aside in no-take marine protected areas. This would ensure abundance in our seas which in turn provide sustainable resources and enrichment to the citizens of Auckland and its visitors. 5.3 Priority 2 Sustainably Manage Natural Resource Clean Air WWF supports the effort to tackle air pollution from transport by improving urban form and alternative transport modes and would recommend also considering the future role of electric (zero-emissions) public and private vehicles in that mix. 5.4 Priority 3 Treasure our Coastline, Harbours, Islands and Marine areas WWF is pleased to see the Auckland Council proposes to consider the effects of landbased activities on the coast and marine ecosystem when planning for the future (par 420). WWF believes this is vital for sustainable, robust and healthy marine ecosystems Directive 5.12, the proposal for integrated marine spatial plans for the Hauraki Gulf, Kaipara Harbour and Manukau Harbour is welcomed by WWF. WWF would encourage these Marine Spatial Plans to be underpinned by best international practice using sound Ecosystem-Based Management that includes high stakeholder involvement, including community and NGO engagement. WWF has considerable international expertise in Marine Spatial Planning processes and Ecosystem-Based Management and would welcome the chance to input in this process WWF believes it is crucial that Marine Spatial Plans include a minimum of 10% of these marine ecosystems be set aside in no-take marine protected areas to ensure protection of biodiversity that will afford robust and sustainable resources for future generations. 5.5 Priority 4 Build Resilience to Natural Hazards WWF welcomes the inclusion of climate change affects as a natural hazard to be considered in all future development We welcome the Directives 5.13 (Take account of environmental constraints on map 5.6 when considering the location and nature of any future development) and (Avoid placing communities infrastructure and lifeline utilities in locations at risk 1 Yvan Richards, Edward R Abraham & Dominique Filippi (2011), Assessment of the Risk to Seabird Populations from New Zealand Commercial Fisheries. Final research report for the Ministry of Fisheries projects IPA 2009/19 and IPA 2009/20 (unpublished report held by the Ministry of Fisherires, Wellington). 66 pages. Edward R Abraham, Katrin N Berkenbusch & Yvan Richards (2010). The Capture of Seabirds and Marine Mammals in New Zealand Non-commercial Fisheries. NZ Aquatic Environment and Biodiversity Report No. 64.

4 from natural hazards unless the risks are manageable and acceptable) in this chapter however we urge the Council to better integrate these directives with Directive 6.3 in Chapter 6 (Develop a climate change adaptation strategy, focused on increasing the resilience of Auckland s build environment to the impacts of climate change, and monitor for changes over time) WWF also urges the council to consolidate information in Map 5.6 (Environmental considerations) and Figure 6.2 (Areas prone to coastal inundation) and produce and publish more detailed information on coastal inundation risk as part of the Climate Change Adaptation Strategy. 6. Chapter 5: Auckland s Response to Climate Change 6.1 Targets WWF welcomes the inclusion of ambitious targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to support the national 90% renewable electricity target WWF supports the Council s aim to set further more specific targets through the development of an Energy Strategy and looks forward to an opportunity to comment on that strategy WWF urges the Council to similarly identify milestones and specific targets for emissions reductions in order to track its progress towards the 2031 target through the proposed Auckland Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Strategy WWF applauds the Draft Plan in its accurate and frank depiction of drivers of climate change and present and future impacts on Auckland including climate refugees and food resilience WWF welcomes the focus on the energy systems of Auckland (generation, grids, security and consumption) as a priority for action via the Draft Plan. 6.2 Priority 1 Mitigate Climate Change WWF welcomes the recognition of the key drivers of ghg emissions for Auckland (transport and energy) and the risk of further increases that would be caused by a business as usual approach WWF applauds the Council for identifying the benefits of action to reduce emissions both for individual residents and the economy as a whole, including the development of low-carbon sectors and job markets In particular, WWF welcomes the Plan s focus on a compact urban form to drive a coordinated and long term emissions reduction plan The Auckland Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Strategy is a welcome initiative, with a comprehensive existing policy outline. WWF would welcome the chance to contribute as a stakeholder in the development of the Strategy. 6.3 Priority 2 Adapt to a Changing Climate WWF welcomes Directive 6.3 to prepare a Climate Change Adaptation Strategy and we look forward to further detail on how the Council will take appropriate actions to ensure our economy, physical infrastructure and communities are resilient to climate change (para 454) WWF recommends the Strategy assume variations on Directives 5.13 and 5.14 from Chapter 5 Take account of projected climate change impacts when considering the location and nature of any future development and Avoid placing communities infrastructure and lifeline utilities in locations at risk from projected climate change impacts As recommended in above, WWF urges the council to consolidate information in Map 5.6 and Figure 6.2 and produce and publish more detailed information on areas of coastal inundation risk as part of the Climate Change Adaptation Strategy and the final Auckland Plan. It will of course be necessary to liaise with the Ministry of Environment to obtain the latest nationally consistent advice on projected sea level rise, or any timetable for updating this advice. WWF also urges the Council to examine other (non-government) scientifically credible sea-level rise projections As recommended in above, the target in Chapter 4 to increase the proportion of residents who understand their risk from natural hazards, should include explicit

5 further education on the hazards associated with the impacts of climate change in order to help people connect climate change to their own lives, and potentially increase support for Council expenditure on mitigation measures. 7. Chapter 8: Urban Auckland 7.1 Priority 1 Realise a Quality, Compact City WWF agrees that careful adoption of the compact urban form approach will likely lead to more sustainable development, and more efficient use of resources, than an urban sprawl approach. 7.2 Priority 3 Demand Good Design in All Development WWF welcomes the directives 8.5, 8.6 and 8.7 which aim to integrate development proposals with the transport system, and encourage developments to take environmental design principles into account However WWF urges the council to strengthen the wording of Directive 8.7 from Developers are expected to take into account environmental design principles to being required to meet certain environmental design standards as determined by the Council, so as to be consistent with Directive 9.3 for improving the quality of existing and new houses in Chapter WWF would also welcome in the final Plan the inclusion of a more comprehensive set of Environmental Design principles to include, for example, specific reference to use of solar hot water heating where appropriate, use of sustainable building materials, and minimization and responsible disposal of construction waste. 8. Chapter 11: Auckland s Transport 8.1 Targets WWF is highly supportive of the Draft Plan s transport targets and priority areas, particularly in relation to investing across all modes of transport to develop a single-system approach A transformational shift to non-car trips and increasing public transport mode share are critical to the ongoing viability of Auckland s transport system and remain, internationally, the best practice approaches for cutting congestion on new and existing roads. 8.2 Priority 1 Manage Auckland s Transport as a Single System WWF commends the Council for the Principles set out in Box 11.1 as a clear signal to partners of Auckland expectations for transport planning and delivery. 8.3 Priority 2 - Integrate Transport Planning and Investment with Land Use Development ENDS WWF welcomes the consistent approach to integration across the Draft Plan and again commends the Council for its commitment to Transformational Shifts including Move to outstanding public transport within one network WWF welcomes the priority development of the City Rail Link (CRL) by 2020 and its integration with the transformational projects of the Draft Auckland City Centre Masterplan and the Draft Waterfront Plan WWF commends the Council for their immediate up front commitment to underwrite protection of the rail link route, acquire property and produce a business case WWF endorses a considerable central Government contribution to the cost of the CRL and other initiatives to encourage modal shift, in addition to the Council exploring new and additional funding mechanisms.

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