18.5 Where to from here?
There are several ways that tangata whenua involvement in the management of Northland's environment can continue and be improved, including:
· The filling of ‘cultural seats' on Council committees. The Council committees have been restructured with the Planning and Policy, Landcare and Hearings committees combined and renamed the Environmental Management Committee. There remains a position for one ‘cultural seat' on this committee. The Regional Land Transport Committee has a requirement under legislation to make provision for a cultural seat (this has been temporarily filled). The intention is to discuss committee representation at the Council/Iwi CEO's forum to progress the filling of these positions.
· Formal and enduring relationship between governance and executive management of both Councils and iwi authorities across the region.
· Develop and maintain a process to engage Maori at an early stage in the preparation of the Long Term Community Plan and/or any plan changes in relation to regional plans.
· Improve Council's capacity to engage with Maori through ongoing education on the Treaty of Waitangi, Maori culture and Maori issues.
· Encourage more collaborative partnerships and projects between Maori and the Council, raising the capacity of Maori to participate in future projects.
· Develop a process which shows and documents how Council will take into account environmental management plans which have been developed by Maori.
· Ongoing review of policies and objectives as set out in the Regional Policy Statement, to ensure the Council is achieving targets.
· Undertake a contractual agreement with a Maori technical forum to use in policy guidance and formulation.
· Protection of archaeological sites of cultural significance through district plans. FNDC have an action in their Draft Annual Plan 2008-2009 (FNDC 2008, pg 67) to support tangata whenua in the identification of sites of cultural significance to Maori and ensuring that appropriate protection of those sites is in place, for example through inclusion in their District Plan.
· The Council will continue with the development of a best practice document, which will outline a transparent and consistent process of consultation with regards to planning and policy development.
· There should be more awareness and implementation of cultural environmental monitoring methods in Northland such as the Cultural Health Index (MFE 2003 and MFE 2006b).