CRU Coastal Ratepayers United

Mayoral and Councillor candidates Question and Summary of Response

Candidates
Do you think KCDC should make long term commitments about its own actions in adapting to climate change?
Do you consider that coastal property owners should be allowed to take reasonable steps to protect their property at their own expense for as long as that could be effective?
Do you agree that coastal hazards should be dealt with in the PDP through a variation to thenplan as required by law and by council resolution in July 2014?
If elected will you make it your business to ensure that future planning work is done in strict adherence of law, rather than adopting expedient short cuts?

Ann-Maree Ellison

NER

NER

NER

NER

Bernie Randall

GS

GS

GS

GS

Gavin Welsh

Yes

Yes (SE)

Yes, in principal

Yes

Christopher Ruthe

No, it lacks expertise

Yes to appropriate steps (SE)

Yes

No to expedient steps

Emily Boonen

Yes to plans

Yes, subject to process

Requires further info

Yes

Geoffrey Churchman

Yes

Yes, but it needs some guidance

Yes

Yes

Guru Krisnasamy

Yes

Yes (SE)

Yes

Yes

Guy Burns

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Jackie Elliott

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Janet Holborow

NER

NER

NER

NER

John Howson

NER

NER

NER

NER

Mark Benton

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Martin Halliday

Yes

Yes

Requires further info

Entended Answer

Mike Cardiff

Yes (SE)

Absolutely Yes

Absolutely Yes

Absolutely Yes

Murray Bell

Yes

Yes

Yes

NER

Peter Ellis

Ner

Not in isolation (SE)

Requires further info

Requires further info

Tim Parry

Yes

Probably not effective

Yes

Grey Area

Key
NER - No expliict Yes/No response
GS - In general support
SE - response recognises the issue of effects on neighbours

Q1. Do you think KCDC should make long term commitments about its own actions in adapting to climate change? Gavin Welsh

Ann-Maree Ellison
I believe in uniting the council and the community so that we can collaboratively apply a model of governance that meets the needs of Kapiti. I will not promise something that I can’t achieve on my own. As one of eleven democratically elected members, I will commit to researching and understanding the issues that are put before the council and make sound, evidence-based decisions for the community. These issues have divided the council and community and wasted valuable time and resources. It's time to unite and elect representatives who will commit to doing this.

Bernie Randall
I am in general support of the questions you have raised. They cannot all be answered in a yes or no format. For instance the recent sea damage revealed that even though a property may have an effective sea wall if the adjoining property does not, the sea will get in behind the sea wall and cause damage.

Gavin Welsh
Yes. We invest in infrastructure that lasts many years, and we should be aware of the challenges that climate change may pose to those investments in the long term, both public and private.

Christopher Ruthe
No. KCDC does not have any personnel who have the expertise to determine this issue. In the UK and France it is seen as so complex it requires national and international experts to give appropriate advice. In USA and Australia it is state Governments. To require a small Council in NZ to give the right answers well beyond, not only its scientific capacity, its financial capacity to do so is absurd. Hence to date, we have illogical responses on these issues.

Emiily Boonen
I believe KCDC should make long term plans about all of its own actions.

Geoffrey Churchman
I am not a technical expert on this issue and I think that those who are need to be consulted on the subject by the KCDC as a matter of urgency and recommendations acted upon. The KCDC can't wait for the central government to come up with a strategy, and in any event local situations are different and need their own tailored solutions. I say yes to all four of your questions, with the proviso in question (2) that there needs to be guidance from the solutions that Independent experts appointed by the KCDC decide upon

Guru Krisnasamy
Agree. Council already has long term targets to reducing emissions. Fuel efficient vehicles and energy efficient measures in our buildings had reduced our carbon footprint by 49% in 2013/14 compared to the baseline year 2009/10. The aim is to achieve an 80% reduction by 2022. High energy areas like our sewage treatment and disposal processes and our water treatment plants have been specifically targeted.

Guy Burns
KCDC should commit to maintaining its infrastructure for as long as it is economically viable to do so.

Jackie Elliott
Yes and we (Current Councillor) feel we are at the beginning of that process, as part of a Region wide and multi regional response, in line with national policy. This begins with considerable scientific research, analysis of the results, and planning with GOOD SCIENCE. The basis for the research would be historical research data which I have confirmed there is not even enough information to provide accurate baselines. I was quite shocked at learning this.

Janet Holborow
Council has made a long term commitment to addressing climate change, including through the Coastal Advisory Group to be set up in the next year. I believe many of the issues raised in these questions will be addressed by that committee and by the newly elected council. The recent high tide storm events showed how effective reasonable protection can be. Some structures fared well, others not. We should not miss the opportunity to learn from the effects of that event. Rules around coastal protection need to be addressed through the PDP process, whether through starting anew or through a plan change. Council should always operate within the law.

John Howson
KCDC certainly needs to make a commitment to working with the whole community to seek practical and acceptable solutions to the challenge. The entire district has a vested interest in protecting our coast from the impacts of climate change. So too does Central Government and the Regional Council. This problem won't be solved by just KCDC making decisions in isolation. We certainly need to plan a way forward and start implementing it with some urgency but exactly what that plan might include needs a collaborative districtwide approach.

Mark Benton
Yes I do, but they must be reviewed regularly or when new information (scientifically based) is received.

Martin Halliday
Yes I do. A forward thinking strategy needs to be implemented to give guidance to ongoing solutions. But it does need to be an evolving plan as this will be an ongoing and continually evolving issue.

Mike Cardiff
Yes. The NZCPS (2010) is the over arching legal document that council is required to give effect when considering long term commitments to coastal hazards/climate change issues. While this is currently being reviewed any new policy will not absolve council of responsibility and any new rules that Council may introduce for coastal management/hazards need to be in accordance with the RMA and subject to public consultation. Our coastline is unique and diverse and over the last 50 years it has experienced significant erosion of some areas and considerable accretion in others. In my view a more pragmatic remedial policy approach is required to protect both public and private land. I accept that there are areas where beach re nourishment has worked and will continue to do so, but I also acknowledge there are areas where this option has failed. Similarly there have been successes and failures with hard protection measures indicating that a one remedy approach is not applicable in all circumstances. Some hard protection measures have failed because of inadequate construction/design. This compromises the ability to have adequate effect when there are adjoining structures that have been installed correctly. In addition, we have areas that have not been protected at all, resulting in erosion that has compromised adjacent structures. There is also the issue of “end effect” from hard protection which has become very obvious following our recent August storm, clearly identifying that some re-nourishment measures have not been viable at all. We can and should do better. KCDC needs to work hand in hand with the community to ensure that decision making for beach re-nourishment programs and/or hard protection options, are site specific, provide specific design and construction detail, with installation undertaken by approved contractors.

Murray Bell
Yes. Climate change is going to affect the whole community, with a rising ground water table and more frequent extreme weather events affecting many people well beyond the coast line. This includes coastal erosion, widespread ponding in low lying areas, frequent flooding, and district wide damage to underground services, parks, and roads. Council will need to take an approach, in conjunction with central government and neighbouring councils, that establishes the principles and policies how council will meet the many community demands with our fairly limited resources. This will include the community agreeing on the worth of the different parts of our built environment to enable decisions to be made on what should be protected, how it will be protected, and when and how a process of managed retreat should happen.

Peter Ellis
Climate change and rising sea levels is a problem which most councils around the country will have to cope with over the next few years, ( there are very few councils without some coastline in NZ.) and it maybe that government should take a lead in this. But council does need to ensure our residents have some guide to the future of their properties in 20, 30 or 50 years me.

Tim Parry
Yes

Q2. Do you consider that coastal property owners should be allowed to take reasonable steps to protect their property at their own expense for as long as that could be effective?

Ann-Maree Ellison
Refer to Q1 answer

Bernie Randall
Refer to Q1 answer

Gavin Welsh
Yes, definitely. Although I would prefer to see a collaborative approach in order to get the most appropriate design and outcome, and reduce the impact of end effects.

Christopher Ruthe
The question raises a number of issues. First, property owners on their own property - should they be able to take all appropriate steps? Yes. Secondly, the issue of appropriateness. Where there is coastal erosion it is vitally important that there is cohesion in steps taken so that one person’s wall does not adversely affect the property of the neighbour. Thirdly, where harder walling is being considered an unbroken continuum is usually required to ensure effectiveness. Council should be leading the charge in pursuing “soft”, ie non hard, walling options. The creation of relatively cheap sacrificial dunes from off-shore dredging was a solution first recommended by Dr Gibb in his report to the Council in 1973. Council’s since have conspicuously failed to follow his advice.1 This is also the advice of Dr De Lange (2014). Again, totally ignored.

1 Dr Gibb then was an advisor to the NSW and Queensland Governments, who followed his advice, preserving thousands of kilometres of coastline

These matters would be best done in partnership with a Council that had an appropriate understanding of the issues. Sadly this Council has displayed a lack of any real understanding and is setting ratepayers up for a catastrophe. I would observe that much of the coast is accreting and it is the southern area of Kapiti most at perceived risk.

Emiily Boonen
Yes I agree that all private property owners should take reasonable steps at their own expense to protect their properties, so long as the resource consent is gained and by laws are met.

Geoffrey Churchman
Yes, that there needs to be guidance from the solutions that Independent experts appointed by the KCDC decide upon.

Guru Krisnasamy
I believe, in the short to medium term, property owners should have the right to protect their properties. Because of end effects caused by hard engineering there needs to be a collaborative approach between landowners so any protection is continuous across many properties and fit for purpose in the quality of the engineering. The strength of your protection is only as good as your neighbours. Council should be a facilitator of this process. Council needs to cost the value of the public infrastructure along the beach front and work out the cost of relocating them versus the cost of contributing to part funding the private walls over the medium term. A targeted rate on beachfront properties could be one way of accumulating capital for emergency work or for meeting the cost of a loan and construction. All options should be explored with all ratepayers.

Guy Burns
Yes.

Jackie Elliott
Yes absolutely, Councillors have already discussed and proposed this concept, suggesting Staff pre approve a set of preferred materials, design / architectural designs that would have to be complied with, in order to gain compliance. These are to insure that the walls, although privately built and funded, all adhere to a common aesthetics to make sure the beaches still look great. In my books, everyone should be able to be kings of their own castles. and Council certainly does not have the revenue to pay to build infrastructure to protect private property.

Janet Holborow
Refer to Q1 answer.

John Howson
Yes - but again there needs to be dialogue and agreement about a co-ordinated approach. The Council needs to be pro-active in coming up with remedial measures that ensure the steps taken to protect community assets complement steps taken by property owners.

Mark Benton
Yes I do.

Martin Halliday
Yes I do. Land owners should be encouraged, not deterred in the protection of their property/asset while a long term solution is developed, then completed; especially taking into account they are prepared to foot the bill. The key word here is “reasonable” and its interpretation.... but that’s where good communication and open and approachable interactions become very important.

Mike Cardiff
Absolutely I agree.

Murray Bell
Yes. Property owners should be able to take steps to protect their property. The definition of reasonable steps should be defined in the District Plan as this is developed through community input and consultation.

Peter Ellis
Property owners should not be able to protect their own property in isolation on without an approved plan which could involve a large part of the foreshore in the area. I’m sure you are aware that a protective wall in one place can cause serious erosion in another which is likely to be the neighbouring property.

Tim Parry
Probably not as it would allow anything to be done under the term of ‘being effective’. I walked Raumati, Paraparaumu and Waikanae Beaches after last month storm/huge waves. What I saw suggested what has been done previously has not proved to be effective. Has the installation of tetrapods been considered/investigated?

Q3. Do you agree that coastal hazards should be dealt with in the PDP through a variation to the plan as required by law and by council resolution in July 2014?

Ann-Maree Ellison
Refer to Q1 answer

Bernie Randall
Yes, refer to Q1 answer

Gavin Welsh
In principle, yes. However, I am aware of the deeply technical nature of this issue, and the potential subsequent effects on the fiercely expensive PDP process. As CRU is aware, I have endeavoured to find a pragmatic solution that is acceptable to all parties. I remain open to suggestions as to how this may be achieved.

Christopher Ruthe
Yes.

Emiily Boonen
I do not have the relevant information to give an informed answer on this question.

Geoffrey Churchman
Yes.

Guru Krisnasamy
I think Council is wrong in law to have opted out of introducing a variation and introducing a non-RMA “composite plan” approach which has no standing under any case law. The removal and alienation of a significant number of submitters to the notified PDP cannot be seen as a fair and equitable process. This will no doubt be tested in Court soon.

Guy Burns
Yes, due process should be followed.

Jackie Elliott
Yes and I do not understand staffs refusal to proceed with this as we had all agreed.

Janet Holborow
Refer to Q1 answer.

John Howson
See answer to Q4

Mark Benton
Yes I do.

Martin Halliday
I am hesitant to comment on this statement without further research and comprehension of the law as it pertains to the Plan. I will say that there needs to be clarity and simplicity introduced to this process and some common sense. We should all be on the same page with quick resolution pathways available in areas requiring quick result.

Mike Cardiff
Absolutely I agree.

Murray Bell
Yes, in July 2014 I voted that “at an appropriate time the Council proceeds with a variation ...”

Peter Ellis
Coastal hazards definitely need to be in the plan. How it is put into it I could not comment without more information.

Tim Parry
Yes

Q4. If elected will you make it your business to ensure that future planning work is done in strict adherence of law, rather than adopting expedient short cuts?

Ann-Maree Ellison
Refer to Q1 answer

Bernie Randall
Yes, refer to Q1 answer

Gavin Welsh
Yes

Christopher Ruthe
Expedient short cuts are always doomed to failure. Adherence to the law is important, but the law only governs process. The crucial issue is ensuring that planning recommendations reflect the best scientific knowledge that is currently available.

Emiily Boonen
I am law abiding and I take that responsibility very seriously if elected I will continue in the same manner and use the vote I have for that purpose.

Geoffrey Churchman
Yes, refer to Q1 answer.

Guru Krisnasamy
Yes. There needs to be a thorough review of the quality of the legal advice and the policy advice of senior management given to elected member on not only coastal matters but also in other areas.

Guy Burns
Absolutely.

Jackie Elliott
YES, in every aspect of councils business. Law, yes. Leeway may be written into bylaws and policies, but not law.

Janet Holborow
Refer to Q1 answer.

John Howson
Questions 3 & 4 both relate to legal issues that are still being considered so any yes/no answer would be premature. One party's 'strict adherence to the law' is always open to someone else's legal interpretation and challenge. What I would like to see is more agreement based on goodwill and open discussion that avoids the need for court decisions.

Mark Benton
Yes I will.

Martin Halliday
As you have stated, Councillors are in a governance role, but Council Management should be making decisions in line with policies set by the elected Council, who in turn should be taking their cue from their ratepayers. I would think a big part of that process would be ensuring end decisions stand up to scrutiny, with regards to their validity in law. Getting it right the first time always saves time, money and reputation. I don’t believe I should “make it my business “, instead I consider this would be an expected part of my role. I would like to make the point that I am aware of the issues as represented by the CRU, via the media, observation and by having talked to people in the affected areas. However, I am not currently an elected member of Council nor do I own an affected property, and therefore am not well-versed as to the legalities nor do I have a comprehensive understanding of the issues.
I would however, like to affirm my support towards extension of the sea wall, (which has already been constructed in Raumati South), to Paraparaumu beach ....and if considered feasible, beyond, incorporating a walk/cycle path above, to be used recreationally by locals and also for the encouragement of tourism.

Mike Cardiff
Absolutely I agree.

Murray Bell
If I am re-elected I will work to ensure that future planning work delivers the best possible outcomes for residents who live by the coast and for the community as a whole. The emphasis should be on developing good planning rules for the coastal community that are fair and reasonable, and not be distracted by legal wrangling that is not adding value to the eventual result.

Peter Ellis
I would need to research papers on the case you refer to. However planning is a complicated business and there are rules and regulations which must be adhered to.

Tim Parry
This is a grey area. You say...KCDC says...If coastal ratepayers are seeking clarification from the environmental court then the court’s decision should give reasonable guidance.