Unitary Plan Recommendations: Good News for Horticulture
Horticulture New Zealand welcomes the independent panel’s recognition that Auckland’s horticulture industry makes a “considerable contribution to the wider economic productivity of, and food supply for, Auckland and New Zealand.
The panel has achieved a good balance between extending the city’s boundaries into rural areas while protecting the ability of the horticulture community to grow.
The report is 9,000 pages long and still being assessed. The key points (as far as I can work out are) are that:
The panel has accepted HortNZ’s submission to protect all land containing elite soils. These make up about 1% of land across the Auckland region, which is perfect for growing crops. This is great news for growers, and New Zealanders who like their produce fresh and locally grown. Unfortunately, prime soils do not receive the same protection, and we will urge the Council to consider this.
The panel has also acknowledged the challenge of reverse sensitivity, and recommended preventing sensitive activities such as countryside living from establishing in areas where rural production activities could be adversely affected.
While a lot to come from this was good, water management needs further work; the independent panel did not accept all of Horticulture NZ’s proposals for the water management regime. This is a concern as ongoing access to water is essential for growing crops – and ultimately ensuring food security for the Auckland region and New Zealand.
Overall, the recommendations are positive for horticulture. However, we are cautious given they must first be accepted by Council.
-Mike Chapman, CEO