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The Council must implement the Plan in accordance with the provisions of the Resource Management Act 1991. The Act requires the Council to prepare a District Plan for the purposes of carrying out its functions in order to achieve the purpose of the Act.
The purpose of the Act is "...to promote the sustainable management of natural and physical resources." (Section 5 (1)).
The Act defines sustainable management as:
"... 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 well-being 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."
Sections 6, 7 and 8 of the Act set out principles for the sustainable management of natural and physical resources that guide the Council.
Section 6 states "Matters of National Importance" as follows:
"In achieving the purpose of the Act, all persons exercising functions and powers under it, in relation to managing the use, development, and protection of natural and physical resources, shall recognise and provide for the following matters of national importance:
(a) The preservation of the natural character of the coastal environment (including the coastal marine area), wetlands, and lakes and rivers and their margins, and the protection of them from inappropriate subdivision, use and development:
(b) The protection of outstanding natural features and landscapes from inappropriate subdivision, use, and development:
(c) The protection of areas of significant indigenous vegetation and significant habitats of indigenous fauna:
(d) The maintenance and enhancement of public access to and along the coastal marine area, lakes and rivers:
(e) The relationship of Maori and their culture and traditions with their ancestral lands, water, sites, waahi tapu, and other taonga.
Section 7 Lists "Other Matters" as follows:
"In achieving the purpose of this Act, all persons exercising functions and powers under it, in relation to managing the use, development, and protection of natural and physical resources, shall have particular regard to-
(b) The efficient use and development of natural and physical resources:
(c) The maintenance and enhancement of amenity values:
(d) Intrinsic values of ecosystems:
(e) Recognition and protection of the heritage values of sites, buildings, places, or areas:
(f) Maintenance and enhancement of the quality of the environment:
(g) Any finite characteristics of natural and physical resources:
(h) The protection of the habitat of trout and salmon."
and Section 8 relates to the Treaty of Waitangi.
"-In achieving the purpose of this Act, all persons exercising functions and powers under it, in relation to managing the use, development, and protection of natural and physical resources, shall take into account the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi (Te Tiriti o Waitangi)."
The specific functions, powers and obligations of the District Council include responsibility for developing and implementing objectives, policies and methods to achieve integrated management of effects of land based activities; the control of the effects of land use including implementing rules for natural hazards and hazardous substances management, controlling land subdivision and noise emissions and control of the effects of activities on the surface of lakes and rivers.
In working towards the achievement of the purpose of the Act, the Council will seek to ensure that in the short and long term adverse environmental effects are avoided, remedied or mitigated. In the context of Westland District, implementation of such a philosophy through the District Plan requires recognition of and management of conflicts in order to promote sustainable management. An example of such a situation is divergence of views on mining activities, particularly when they are located in natural environments. In the short term the effects of such an activity may constitute a nuisance, in the long term the effects may be minimal, in particular where rehabilitation is successful. The Council is committed to taking account of the views of all parties and interests in ensuring that the future viability of the Westland environment including communities is not jeopardised.