DFDP permits and permissions

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    Geoscientific research activities undertaken in New Zealand almost invariably require permissions or permits. At the Alpine Fault Drilling Workshop at Franz Josef, March 2009, it was recognised that it would be useful to have some coordination and advice for obtaining permits. A Permitting Advisory Group has been established to provide advice on permitting issues and requirements, to assist in making contact with the relevant authorities, and to coordinate applications.  We hope that this process will facilitate good communication between researchers, government bodies, landowners, Iwi/Māori, and other interested parties and maintain the good relationships that exist at present.

    The Permitting Advisory Group currently consists of:

    The group is not exclusive, nor fully representational, rather a selection of people with relevant experience who were either present at the workshop and/or prepared to volunteer their services. Should you wish to be involved, please feel free to contact one of the people listed above.

    The following guidelines are intended to assist researchers planning fieldwork or other activities associated with the Deep Fault Drilling Project in determining the appropriate course of action regarding permits and permissions.

    Activities on Department of Conservation (DOC) land

    All research activities on DOC land are subject to a consenting process — this includes the collection of hand specimens.  DOC provides information on-line at:  http://www.doc.govt.nz/about-doc/concessions-and-permits

    We recommend that you contact a member of the Permitting Advisory Group as soon as you begin planning your research to discuss what sort of permissions may be necessary. We have an extensive file of previous permits, and it may not be necessary to completely reinvent the wheel when filling out forms. We may also be able to suggest ways in which you can combine your permit application with someone else’s. 

    In order to maintain our very strong working relationship with DOC, we would appreciate it if all DOC permitting applications related to DFDP were forwarded to the Permitting Advisory Group for review prior to submission. We will check that the applications are suitably worded to maximise their chances of success, and provide advice to DOC regarding the applications. It is likely DOC will seek our advice on any applications that are submitted independently.

    Activities on private land

    If you are entering private property, you must obtain permission from the landowner by phoning/emailing them or visiting them in person. You should advise them of what you want to do, when, and ask if they wish to impose any conditions on your visit (e.g. they may need to make you aware of their health and safety policy, or tell you to avoid certain paddocks/fields because of the presence of livestock or crops). 

    Most of the private land on the West Coast is owned by farmers. Researchers at Otago University, Victoria University of Wellington, and GNS Science know the names and contact details of many landowners in likely areas of interest on the West Coast, and can assist you in establishing contact.

    Moreover, GNS Science and all New Zealand universities have access to GIS-based information about the names of all New Zealand property owners provided by Land Information New Zealand. The Permitting Advisory Group will be able to provide a map showing landowners for the area you are interested in: you can then find phone numbers for those people using the telephone directory (http://www.whitepages.co.nz/).

    Some research activities are likely to require resource consent. If your activity involves major environmental disturbance or installation of permanent equipment, please contact a member of the Permitting Advisory Group to discuss this.

    Activities in road reserves

    Any activities on road reserves have potential to affect the safety of road users, whether or not they take place in the line of traffic, so require appropriate planning and permission (under the 1962 Transport Act / Land Transport Act 2003 and the 1992 Health & Safety in Employment Act). New Zealand roads are controlled by different authorities, and require different operational behaviour, that relates to their level of traffic (<500 vehicles per day = low volume LV; 500-1000 vehicles per day LV1; >10,000 LV2). State Highways are controlled by the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA formerly Transit New Zealand; http://www.nzta.govt.nz/), whereas local roads are controlled by District and City Councils. 

    All roads (including highways) require people working within the road reserve to have and be using properly an approved Traffic Management Plan (TMP). The goal if the work is outside of the live lane is to avoid driver distraction and resultant accidents. No commercial / government organisation is exempt. In Westland, State Highway 6 permitting is managed on behalf of NZTA by Opus Consultants in Greymouth (www.opus.co.nz  23 High Street, PO Box 365, Greymouth. Tel: +64 3 768 7179). TMP’s for other roads must be submitted to Westland District Council (www.westlanddc.govt.nz); Buller District Council (www.bullerdc.govt.nz) and Grey District Council (www.greydc.govt.nz).

    Fieldwork within the road reserve including about 5-10m from the edge of the road, but outside of the live lane, can in nearly all cases be covered by relatively simple TMPs. GNS Science has a set of generic plans which have been developed specifically for most types of fieldwork at roadside outcrops. In some fieldwork situations, such as fieldwork occurring over many hours, with many people, that is invasive (drilling etc.), or is undertaken in the shoulder or live lane, will need separate one-off TMPs to be approved before that activity takes place. 

    A key point is that any work requires a suitably qualified Site Traffic Management Supervisor (STMS) who has specific responsibility for managing traffic at the work site.  This has been seen by some as a significant deterrent for operating within the rules, because qualification requires a 1 or 2 day course (and refresher every 3 years), depending on the level of management required at each site.  GNS Science has quite a number of STMS qualified people and there are a number of professional organisations provide traffic management services.

    As well as signed TMP authority, all work in the road reserve will require at least some safety equipment, which at minimum will include: high visibility vests, flashing amber light visible forward and behind vehicle, signs ‘road inspection’ visible on front and rear of vehicle, or on spike(s)/pole(s) at the side of the road visible in both directions. Cones can also be used to give drivers advanced warning of activities.
    Please contact a member of the Permitting Advisory Group for advice.

    Relationships with Māori

    Iwi/Māori are the indigenous people of Aotearoa/New Zealand and have a close relationship with the natural environment which spans many centuries and is the result of interaction and adaptation with native flora and fauna. Integral to this relationship is the importance of protecting and sustaining the natural world for future generations. Iwi/Māori seek to protect taonga (treasure) as they possess significant cultural and physical dimensions. This is reflected through the ongoing desire of many iwi/Māori groups to have a role in the way resources are managed in New Zealand to ensure sustainable utilisation and development in the future.

    Local Iwi/Māori have a long association with many of the sites on the West Coast, and own many of the rock and mineral resources.  DoC and Regional Councils are obliged to consult with the local Rūnanga (tribal council) regarding your proposal prior to granting or permitting any consent application, therefore it is advised that research groups be proactive and develop relationships with Iwi/Māori groups at the earliest possible time when planning research activity. These relationships should be seen as enabling and mutually beneficial. This can be done through knowledge transfer, capacity development and ongoing communication. Personal communications provide much better opportunity to understand cultural perspectives, engage Iwi/Māori interest, discuss the research and (if necessary) adapt plans at an early stage. Iwi/Māori can also make a valuable contribution to the research through contributing traditional knowledge and historical perspectives. This can lead to enhanced and more holistic research outcomes.

    There are two local Rūnanga in Westland:
    Te Rūnanga o Makaawhio
    99 Revell Street, PO Box 225, Hokitika 7842, Ph. 03 7557885.

    Te Rūnanga o Kati Waewae
    Level 1, 1 Weld Street, P O Box 37, Hokitka, Ph. 03 756 8088

    These groups are part of the larger tribal group Te Rūnanga o Ngai Tahu, whose head office is in Christchurch (www.ngaitahi.iwi.nz). In addition, the Mawhera Incorporation (a Māori landowners Trust) has been vested title to the bed of the Arahura River, and any work in this catchment will require direct consultation with them.

    Because of the special relationship that Iwi/Māori have with the natural environment, it must always be assumed that your research activity will be of interest to these groups, regardless of land tenure or circumstance. We recommend you contact Simon Cox who works closely with local Iwi/Māori as he will be able to provide you with advice on the best pathway forward. This is especially important if you are planning to work around Jacobs River, Arahura River, around Hokitika, within the Cascade Area, or if you plan to sample any rocks of ultramafic origin. It is important to note that that it is illegal to collect or sample any pounamu (greenstone/nephrite/jade), tangiwai (bowenite) or serpentine without a permit  (http://www.ngaitahu.iwi.nz/Ngai-Tahu-Whanui/Natural-Environment/Environmental-Policy-Planning/Pounamu-Management-Plan.php), although limited fossicking is allowed on West Coast beaches.

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