Fund­ing wel­come but more needed


Fund­ing for 3-D aerial Li­DAR map­ping in the North­land re­gion will be wel­come for coun­cils in the north that have strug­gled to af­ford it in the past, but there are calls for na­tion­wide map­ping.

A very ac­cu­rate ter­rain map­ping tool, Li­DAR has been used across the Auck­land re­gion show­ing Rod­ney and the Hibis­cus Coast will ex­pe­ri­ence some of the worst in­un­da­tion in the Auck­land area.

That map­ping stops at the bound­ary at Te Hana, leav­ing those liv­ing north of the Top­uni River, on the shores of the Kaipara Har­bour, in the dark. Man­gawhai was mapped 10 years ago.

Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment New Zealand (LGNZ) Pres­i­dent Dave Cull says: ‘‘It is im­por­tant for coun­cils to have ac­cu­rate data to help with risk man­age­ment and in­fra­struc­ture plan­ning, and it is good to see the Li­DAR tech­nol­ogy is to be used in North­land.’’

But Gov­ern­ment leav­ing the costs of cli­mate change mit­i­ga­tion to lo­cal coun­cils has long been a bone of con­tention for LGNZ, and has seen coun­cils with a smaller rat­ing base un­able to ac­cu­rately plan for coastal in­un­da­tion and flood­ing.

‘‘LGNZ has also called for na­tional data sets to in­form nat­u­ral haz­ards man­age­ment, and would like to see this rolled out,’’ Cull said.

The $1.8 mil­lion project will see a Cessna

‘‘The data will have enor­mous prac­ti­cal value for North­land's eco­nomic and en­vi­ron­men­tal health.’’

twin en­gine aero­plane, able to be flown safely at low al­ti­tudes over ur­ban ar­eas, mod­i­fied for Li­DAR sur­vey­ing, cov­er­ing 13,725 square kilo­me­tres.

‘‘The data will have enor­mous prac­ti­cal value for North­land’s eco­nomic and en­vi­ron­men­tal health, at a cost that is af­ford­able for our ratepay­ers,’’ North­land Re­gional Council chair­man Bill Shep­herd said.

North­land Re­gional Council, Far North Dis­trict Council, Kaipara Dis­trict Council, and Whanga¯ rei Dis­trict Council are col­lec­tively con­tribut­ing $1 mil­lion to the project. A 2015 NIWA report prepared for the Par­lia­men­tary Com­mis­sioner for the En­vi­ron­ment showed lit­tle Li­DAR map­ping has been done around the coun­try’s coast­line.

Auck­land Council, along with Greater Welling­ton and Bay of Plenty Re­gional Coun­cils, have all paid for ex­ten­sive Li­DAR map­ping. In North­land, just 15 per cent of the re­gion has been mapped, mostly around coastal com­mu­ni­ties. The map­ping is ex­pected to start by the end of the year and be fin­ished some­time next year.

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