6 May 2010

Minister 'won't rush decisions' on coastal policy

6:57 pm on 6 May 2010

Conservation Minister Kate Wilkinson says she has no intention of rushing decisions on a new coastal policy, despite growing political pressure.

A report on the management of coastal areas, which has been with the minister for a year, has identified an urgent need for better regulation.

The report on the New Zealand Coastal Policy statement has been made public by one of its co-authors, former Labour Conservation Minister Philip Woollaston, who says he feared the current Government would bury it.

It highlights the risk of the coastline being ruined by uncontrolled development.

The report gives little or no priority to protecting public access to coastal areas and there is too little focus on the protection of coastal values when it comes to developments.

It also found there needs to be more involvement of local iwi in coastal management plans.

Conservation Minister Kate Wilkinson last month told Radio New Zealand that the Government has a different philosophy from the previous administration, and could decide to stick with the status quo.

Ms Wilkinson has refused to answer questions on Thursday but in a written statement, a spokesperson said the minister has no intention of rushing decisions on what is a complex issue.

A spokesperson for the Environmental Defence Society, Raewyn Peart, says it's obvious the current 1994 policy isn't working and she fears the report's recommendations will be watered down by the Government.