The Resource Management Act places clear and quite stringent responsibilities on the Council to monitor not only the effectiveness and implementation of its District Plan but also what the Act describes as "state of the environment" monitoring. Monitoring is both necessary and valuable for a number of reasons. It gives a clear guide as to how well the methods of implementation contained in the Plan are working towards or achieving the stated objectives and policies, and how well these objectives and policies have addressed the issues. Monitoring of social, cultural, economic and ecological variables and trends, is required for this process.
The Act requires the District Plan to state the procedures to be used to review the matters in this Plan and to monitor the effectiveness of the Plan as a means of achieving its objectives and policies. The procedures that the Council will undertake are as follows:
- The development of a Monitoring Programme.
- Preparation of an annual report to Council
- Taking corrective action when the information shows unwanted results.
The Monitoring Programme will be annually considered by Council in order to ensure that it is relevant to the needs of the community. The monitoring programme is likely to include techniques such as:
- Checking development which has been approved by resource consent.
- Consultation with interest groups.
- Inspection of significant sites such as historic places.
- Recording the administrative costs of processing resource consents, plan changes etc.
A register of written complaints will be kept by Council for at least five years, along with information on how each complaint has been dealt with.
The annual report to Council will gather together the information received as a result of the Monitoring Programme and register of complaints, and will deduce the effectiveness of the Plan as a means of achieving its objectives and policies over the year.
The annual report to Council will complement the monitoring undertaken at a regional level, and by other organisations such as the Department of Conservation, Department of Statistics, Ministry of Forestry and Ministry of Commerce.
Where monitoring information identifies a need for immediate corrective action, such as enforcement, this will be undertaken straight away. Other corrective action, such as Plan Changes, may result from the annual report to Council.
As the Council's information base from monitoring is developed, wider reporting of environmental issues and yearly comparisons may be included in the annual report.
It is intended that the monitoring process will enable the Plan to remain relevant to the changing circumstances in the District and ensure that resources are suitably managed. It is recognised however, that the District Plan as a whole must be reviewed not later than ten years from the date it becomes operative, and it is envisaged that at that time, the Plan will be reconsidered in its totality, taking into account the information gained from monitoring over the years.