Protecting High Value Horticultural Land
This Friday 19 August, Auckland City will release its decisions on the Unitary Plan. The plan will allow for intensification of housing within the city limits and open up more rural land, effectively turning the rural towns of Warkworth, Kumeu, and Pukekohe into satellite suburbs.
The report on the Urban Plan recommended that the 1% of elite soils in the Auckland City boundaries be protected, including the very productive Pukekohe Hill. But this protection does not extend to protect the 4% of prime soils; this will place food production under pressure, particularly with regard to the leafy greens, potatoes and carrots that are grown in the Pukekohe area, and feed NZ during winter and through spring. Horticulture New Zealand will continue working to protect those prime soils.
The pressure on high value horticultural land extends around the country, with the main pressure areas being Kerikeri, Mahurangi, Pukekohe, Hamilton, Matamata, Tauranga, Whakatane, Hastings, Gisborne, Palmerston North, Ohakune, Levin, Otaki, Richmond / Nelson, Christchurch, Alexandra and the greater Queenstown area.
In the Bay of Plenty, we have just lost an Environment Court Case where we were working to protect rural zoned land from being turned into a petrol station. This is a very disappointing decision, but it just reflects the current Resource Management law, law which is not protecting rural land. This is only a small piece of land, true, but if not stopped the continual loss of rural land out of production will see NZ resorting to imports for its fresh vegetable needs.
We believe it is time for a halt to be called, and the 5% of high value land for growing fruit and vegetables to be protected for the benefit of all New Zealanders.
-Mike Chapman, CEO