“Pro­tect the plains” wel­come news

Act­ing Mayor of Hast­ings San­dra Ha­zle­hurst has un­der­taken to join the fight to save pro­duc­tive hor­ti­cul­tural land from de­vel­op­ment into housing.

The Orchardist - - Water -

De­bate has raged for decades on the Here­taunga Plains, with the Hawke’s Bay Fruit­grow­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion (HBFGA) and Pipfruit NZ (now New Zealand Ap­ples and Pears) lob­by­ing year in and year out to pro­tect this valu­able limited re­source.

Hawke’s Bay Fruit­grow­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent Les­ley Wil­son is thrilled the Hast­ings Dis­trict Coun­cil is sup­port­ive of pro­tect­ing hor­ti­cul­tural land, but de­liv­ers a word of warn­ing: “We still hold con­cerns the devil will be in the de­tail, but it is start­ing off on the right foot, ac­knowl­edg­ing the land is pre­cious and it needs to be pro­tected.”

San­dra is un­equiv­o­cal in her sup­port of pro­tect­ing the land. “I just get it; we need to be more pro-ac­tive to meet the needs of ur­ban de­vel­op­ment and housing. We are united with HBFGA in un­der­stand­ing how im­por­tant it is to pre­serve this land.

“Look at Pukekohe, once it has gone, it has gone.We need to be smart and for­ward think­ing here in Hast­ings.”


Bal­anc­ing the needs of land users and ur­ban growth re­sulted in the de­vel­op­ment of a growth strat­egy in 2010. The Here­taunga

Plains Ur­ban De­vel­op­ment Strat­egy (HPUDS) sets out a blue­print for ur­ban growth for Hawke’s Bay from Whiri­naki in the north to Waimarama in the south, cov­er­ing the pe­riod from 2015 to 2045. It sets out to pro­tect the pro­duc­tive value of the Here­taunga Plains soil and wa­ter re­sources, and pro­mote their sus­tain­able use.

The di­rec­tion for de­vel­op­ment through to 2045 re­lies on Napier and Hast­ings hav­ing de­fined growth ar­eas and ur­ban lim­its, bal­anc­ing higher den­sity housing with the pro­vi­sion of some life­style prop­er­ties. His­tor­i­cally, new housing de­vel­op­ments in­volve mov­ing onto vir­gin land and tak­ing it out of cir­cu­la­tion for pro­duc­ing food. Planned housing growth un­der HPUDS would tran­si­tion to a new re­al­ity up un­til 2045 ac­cord­ing to the fol­low­ing growth pat­tern:

• 60% in­ten­si­fi­ca­tion.

• 35% green­field (turn­ing pad­docks into houses).

• 5% of pop­u­la­tion in ru­ral ar­eas.

Ev­ery three years HPUDS is re­viewed to see how the ac­tual com­pares to the strat­egy. The 2016 re­view found rates of pop­u­la­tion growth had been un­der­es­ti­mated, mainly from mi­gra­tion within New Zealand. The up­dated fig­ures as­sume housing will need to be found for an ad­di­tional 10,610 peo­ple be­tween 2015 and 2045.

“We didn’t have enough land for sup­ply to cope with in­creased mi­gra­tion from Auck­land,” San­dra says. She ad­mits it is a bal­anc­ing act with the aim of grow­ing a re­silient econ­omy, while pro­tect­ing the unique pro­duc­tion ca­pa­bil­ity of the Here­taunga Plains.

For Hawke’s Bay Re­gional Coun­cil­lor and for­mer Pipfruit NZ chief ex­ec­u­tive Peter Beaven, the move to­ward in­ten­si­fi­ca­tion is not go­ing fast enough. In March he wrote to the lo­cal news­pa­per, voic­ing frus­tra­tion at yet an­other ap­proval for a housing de­vel­op­ment on pro­duc­tive land in Howard Street, Hast­ings. He says the sup­ply of sec­tions for green­field de­vel­op­ment al­ready well ex­ceeded re­quire­ments even be­fore the Howard Street sub­di­vi­sion was taken into ac­count.

The HPUDS goal of hav­ing 60% in­ten­sive housing de­vel­op­ment within ex­ist­ing bound­aries by 2045 is com­pelling. How­ever, to wait un­til 2045 to get there is un­ac­cept­able, with a fur­ther 10% of valu­able Here­taunga Plains lost “un­der con­crete and bi­tu­men”, he says. HPUDS have set in­ten­si­fi­ca­tion tar­gets to as­sist the tran­si­tion from a green­field ap­proach to in­ten­sive housing de­vel­op­ment. San­dra is up front about the coun­cil’s need to find housing solutions. “We need to grow up rather than grow out on our valu­able fer­tile Here­taunga Plains and pro­vide in­no­va­tive housing solutions to de­crease ur­ban sprawl and green­field de­vel­op­ment. We un­der­stand that Hawke’s Bay is the best place in the world to grow ap­ples.”

Hawke's Bay grows 70% of all the ap­ples in New Zealand and in the next few years that will equate to $700 mil­lion dol­lars be­ing poured into the Hawke's Bay econ­omy, pro­vid­ing a re­silient eco­nomic base. The New Zealand pipfruit in­dus­try has, for the sec­ond time in a row, been voted the world's most in­ter­na­tion­ally com­pet­i­tive in­dus­try.

World food de­mand will in­crease by 50% by the year 2050. “Our re­gion, with its ex­cep­tional grow­ing con­di­tions, is ide­ally placed to con­trib­ute to meet­ing this de­mand.”

In re­al­ity, to min­imise the im­pact of ur­ban sprawl on fer­tile land this means:

En­cour­ag­ing medium den­sity housing in the sub­urbs.

In­ner city re­de­vel­op­ment to allow for in­ner city apart­ment liv­ing.

Iden­ti­fy­ing ar­eas on less pro­duc­tive soil for green­field de­vel­op­ment.

San­dra is con­fi­dent peo­ple will choose to live in and near the city, if the city is an at­trac­tive, well planned and safe place to live. In turn this will cre­ate a stronger cen­tral city econ­omy.


“We take it se­ri­ously, try­ing to en­cour­age more peo­ple into the in­ner city,” she says. “We are sup­port­ing de­vel­op­ers with first floor her­itage space to turn this into qual­ity apart­ments; we want to pro­vide more green spa­ces, with easy ac­cess for walk­ing and cy­cling; in short we want to pro­vide an at­trac­tive place to live.”

Fi­nan­cial in­cen­tives have been es­tab­lished to re­duce the cost of de­vel­op­ment for in-fill housing around the city in the last year.“We are mak­ing it easy for de­vel­op­ers to make al­ter­na­tive solutions.”

The city cen­tre faces chal­lenges com­mon to many CBDs in the mod­ern age. With more than 50% of the New Zealand pop­u­la­tion shop­ping on­line, keep­ing the in­ner city healthy is a chal­lenge. “The 21st cen­tury has dra­mat­i­cally al­tered the

way we view our towns and cities. Tech­nol­ogy has for­ever changed the way we live, work and in­ter­act with oth­ers. Cities through­out the world now face ex­tra­or­di­nary chal­lenges to main­tain their rel­e­vance.”

Peo­ple are be­ing en­cour­aged back into the cen­tre of Hast­ings by fo­cus­ing on new green spa­ces, pocket parks, bet­ter traf­fic and pedes­trian flow, bet­ter light­ing, and by mak­ing it safer. “Our goal is to en­hance the ex­pe­ri­ence of those vis­it­ing and liv­ing and work­ing in the cen­tral city.”


HPUDS pro­vides for the de­vel­op­ment of 860 sec­tions in the next two to three years. Of these sec­tions, 360 are in the Iron­gate tri­an­gle. “We are work­ing with res­i­dents and de­vel­op­ers to bring this on­line.”

Ar­eas with poorer soil types are be­ing sought for fu­ture de­vel­op­ment that isn’t go­ing to im­pact on the valu­able Here­taunga Plains re­source.

She ac­knowl­edges that the coun­cil has been un­der pres­sure from fruit­grow­ing lobby groups, Pipfruit NZ and the Hawke’s Bay Fruit­grow­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion for a very long time. “We need to be more pro-ac­tive to meet the needs of ur­ban de­vel­op­ment and housing.”

Les­ley says the HBFGA has been play­ing the long game. Year in and year out the HBFGA sub­mit to the Hast­ings Dis­trict Coun­cil and fight against plan changes that allow the good Here­taunga Plains soils to be put un­der houses. “The Hast­ings town­ship was started on some of the best soils in the world and the map clearly shows we are run­ning out of it. The dark ar­eas are Class 1 soils, less than 5% of the soil world­wide is Class 1.” Les­ley says HPUDS has been a double edged sword,while it uses a con­sul­ta­tive process to plan fu­ture growth, this sends a mes­sage to de­vel­op­ers and in­vestors who im­me­di­ately buy up the land ear­marked for de­vel­op­ment and in some cases then land-banked, ef­fec­tively tak­ing it out of the sys­tem. “The HBFGA is not against de­vel­op­ment, we worked with coun­cil to de­velop HPUDS 2010 for the best out­come for every­one, we only want to save the highly pro­duc­tive soils of the Here­taunga Plains.”

Bench­mark­ing means that grow­ers can use the ex­port ver­sion of the NZGAP pro­gramme to ob­tain a GLOBALG.A.P. cer­tifi­cate to meet their cus­tomer re­quire­ment in ex­port mar­kets.

GLOBALG.A.P. of­fer the bench­mark­ing pro­gramme to en­able lo­cal GAP schemes to use the GLOBALG.A.P. frame­work in their lo­cal coun­tries. Other GAP schemes that use this process in­clude Red Trac­tor in the UK, Fresh­care in Aus­tralia.

The bench­mark­ing process hap­pens ev­ery four years and in­volves a side by side com­par­i­son of the NZGAP and GLOBALG.A.P. stan­dards.

Equiv­a­lence means that the stan­dards have the same out­comes, en­abling NZGAP to be used to gain GLOBALG.A.P. cer­ti­fi­ca­tion.

This ap­proach has a num­ber of ad­van­tages for grow­ers.

Be­cause GLOBALG.A.P. is used in around 100 dif­fer­ent coun­tries, it is writ­ten in a generic way and in­cludes a lot of de­tail about how the stan­dard is met.

NZGAP sets the same stan­dard (there are no short­cuts) but does it in the context of New Zealand hor­ti­cul­ture by us­ing lan­guage that re­lates to our in­dus­try. For ex­am­ple, re­fer­ring to pro­grammes like Agre­cov­ery, GROWSAFE, so that grow­ers know ex­actly what we are talk­ing about

The NZGAP check­list is also more ef­fi­cient and asks far fewer ques­tions to get to the same point. Work is in progress to launch new guid­ance doc­u­ments to go with the stan­dards to en­sure the guid­ance cor­re­lates with the check­list and is eas­ier to use. A new and im­proved sys­tem will be launched later this year. Grow­ers that are cer­ti­fied to the NZGAP GLOBALG.A.P. pro­gramme gain a GLOBALG.A.P. cer­tifi­cate and a GLOBALG.A.P. num­ber (GGN). This in­for­ma­tion ap­pears in the GLOBALG.A.P data­base along­side all of the other GLOBALG.A.P. cer­tifi­cates for over­seas cus­tomers to view.

In GLOBALG.A.P.’s eyes, all GLOBALG.A.P. cer­tifi­cates are the same. There is no dif­fer­ence in the sta­tus of one type of cer­tifi­cate vs an­other.

The NZGAP bench­marked pro­gramme is a fan­tas­tic scheme and offers grow­ers a rel­e­vant and ef­fi­cient way to gain GLOBALG.A.P. cer­ti­fi­ca­tion. We strongly en­cour­age ex­port grow­ers to look at the NZGAP pro­gramme for their cer­ti­fi­ca­tion.

Mar­ket cer­ti­fi­ca­tion is com­plex and our ad­vice is al­ways to ask your ex­porter and mar­keter about the cer­tifi­cates that you need for the mar­kets you sup­ply.

NZGAP will be dis­tribut­ing the up­dated doc­u­men­ta­tion to grow­ers over the com­ing weeks.

Grow­ers want­ing to ex­plore this op­tion can find out more by vis­it­ing the NZGAP web­site www.nzgap.org or con­tact­ing the NZGAP of­fice on 0508 467869.

HPUDS De­vel­op­ment Strat­egy out­lined.

Act­ing Mayor of Hast­ings San­dra Ha­zle­hurst speak­ing at the Hawke’s Bay Young Fruit­grow­ers’ Awards din­ner in Napier: She said the vi­tal role played by hor­ti­cul­ture in the re­gion is recog­nised.

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