The Environmental Defence Society has released its report Turning the Tide: Integrated marine planning in New Zealand. The report distils lessons from the Sea Change Tai Timu Tai Pari marine spatial planning project in the Hauraki Gulf, which was completed in 2016, and compares it with international best practice.

“Sea Change was the most ambitious marine planning project to be undertaken in New Zealand. Completing the plan was a major achievement,” said EDS Policy Director and report author Raewyn Peart.

“The project was ambitious and innovative. We compared it to leading overseas marine planning processes and found that the Hauraki Gulf project was world-leading in a number of respects.

“Most notable was the catchment-to-sea approach, embedding mātauranga Māori into the planning process, and using a stakeholder-led collaborative process for the plan’s development.

“One of the weaker elements of the Sea Change project has been implementation which requires a number of agencies from central and local government to engage together. This has proven challenging for them but we are hopeful that the Government will provide much-needed leadership on this shortly.

“The conclusion from our review of the process is that Sea Change provides a solid base and very rich lessons which we can build on for future marine planning projects in New Zealand.

“There are other areas which would benefit from such an integrated marine planning approach, the Marlborough Sounds being a case in point.

“EDS is currently undertaking further research on how marine spatial planning can be embedded within New Zealand’s marine management system,” concluded Ms Peart.

The report is available here.