6. CONSULTATION & ENGAGEMENT
TE KOORERO TAHI ME WAIKATO -TANUI
6.1.1 It is important to ensure that resource uses and activities that impact on the environment in the Waikato-Tainui rohe give effect to the role of Waikato-Tainui as kaitiaki. While Waikato-Tainui acknowedges issues of commercial sensitivity, resource users, activity owners, local authorities, and central Government are encouraged to involve all stakeholders, particularly Waikato-Tainui, in an on-going and participatory design process for applications and other matters related to resource use and activities affecting the environment as early as practicable.
6.1.2 There are often inconsistent approaches by the statutory agencies, including local authorities, to the implementation of the Resource Management Act 1991 and to the identification of Waikato-Tainui, as an affected party under section 95F of the RMA, when decisions are made on public notification. Despite the prominence of taangata whenua issues in the RMA in particular, Part 2 – sections 6(e), 6(f), 6(g), 7(a), and 8, resource consent processing, policy, and planning documents prepared under the RMA often do not sufficiently weight taangata whenua issues. Waikato-Tainui should be engaged in the preparation of all statutory and non-statutory documents, particularly where these documents have implications for resource use and development within the Waikato-Tainui rohe.
6.1.3 It is important that a relationship is formed between Waikato-Tainui, as kaitiaki, and the applicant, developer, and local authorities during the planning and initial stages of development, construction, operation, and through to completion. The key to this relationship is tikanga, transparency, good faith, patience and understanding. Consultation with Waikato-Tainui members is not achieved by merely having a discussion about resource consents, plans, and policies. How the concerns, interests and intentions put forward by Waikato-Tainui are considered should be reflected in any outcomes, plans, conditions and policies produced.
6.1.4 Early involvement of Waikato-Tainui in major projects may be accomplished by participation in pre-application meetings, through meetings with the project applicant and local authorities and through the review of draft or initial documents prepared by the applicant. Early involvement will often prevent later delays as potential problems can be eliminated and concerns about conflicting uses can be resolved earlier in the process. Ideally consultation and engagement with Waikato-Tainui should be completed prior to formally filing a consent application or plan.
6.1.5 Waikato-Tainui considers that pre-application consultation on a proposed resource use or activity is best practice to ensure that appropriate consideration is given to matters of importance to Waikato-Tainui. Waikato-Tainui also believes that undertaking a best practice consultation and engagement process will, in the longer run, be more beneficial than the cost of managing a poor process or not engaging in any process.
6.1.6 The type and complexity of the consultation and engagement process is dependent upon the context and magnitude of the proposed resource use or activity. Waikato-Tainui suggests that effective consultation and engagement is similar to any other research that is undertaken to inform a proposed resource use or activity. However, proceeding with a consultation or engagement process is often a choice that local authorities or applicants make. We note that, in the event of no pre-application consultation the applicant must demonstrate how they have taken into account the Plan as per the ‘How to use the Plan’ section. A suggested consultation and engagement process follows.
6.2 Consultation and Engagement Process
6.2.1 This section provides and suggests the phases of a consultation and engagement process. It is important to note that the process is scalable depending upon the magnitude of the matter to be discussed and who is likely to be involved in the process. Whaanau, marae, hapuu and other Waikato-Tainui entities may prefer their own consultation and engagement process to be utilised and the use of their effective processes is supported.
IT SO AGAIN STRESSED THAT EARLY CONSULTATION AND ENGAGEMENT IS ENCOURAGED.
6.2.2 Intending or existing resource user or activity owner (‘applicant’) considers their use or activity against the relevant sections and chapters of this Plan.
6.2.3 To the degree that the applicant is able, the applicant prepares a draft preliminary report that provides a foundation document for consultation and engagement on the proposed or existing resource use or activity. The preliminary report can be prepared in collaboration with Waikato-Tainui (subject to any agreed process, costs, and timeframes).
The finalised preliminary report should:
(a) Briefly describe the proposed or existing resource use or activity;
(b) Summarise how the resource use or activity is consistent and aligns with the Plan;
(c) Summarise how the resource use or activity is considered inconsistent or does not align with the Plan; and
(d) Provide initial thoughts on what can be done to address inconsistencies or lack of alignment with the Plan. (refer also to Chapter 6)
It should be noted that, if the draft preliminary report is not prepared in collaboration with Waikato-Tainui, then Waikato-Tainui would not necessarily support this preliminary report as perspectives may differ on the degree of alignment that the proposed resource use or activity has with the Plan.
However, undertaking an agreed consultation and engagement process will enable the report contents to be amended and confirmed as part of an overall assessment.
6.2.4 Waikato-Tainui receives the draft preliminary report and has reasonable time to undertake an initial assessment of the report, along with any other information reasonably requested. What constitutes a ‘reasonable’ length of time depends on the magnitude and complexity of the resource use or activity that Waikato-Tainui is assessing. Those providing the report should discuss and confirm with Waikato-Tainui the time required to undertake an initial assessment.
6.2.5 Discussions with the applicant to confirm which groups within Waikato-Tainui is to be consulted, the process to consider the applicant’s proposal, key milestones, deadlines, and costs associated with the process.
6.2.6 Once agreement is reached on process, costs, and timeframes, the consultation and engagement process is undertaken.
6.2.7 This may include:
(a) Consultation and engagement taking place with respective Waikato-Tainui entities and other taangata whenua groups that may be affected by the matter being considered (individually and/or collectively as required).
(b) Waikato-Tainui appointed person(s) recording the minutes of the meeting and summarising the issues.
(c) Where necessary, an independent assessment or peer review of the information that the applicant provides. The independent assessment or peer review to be undertaken by a Waikato-Tainui approved person/organisation that understands the Waikato-Tainui viewpoint and any other technical/scientific issues.
(d) To ensure an independant outcome Waikato-Tainui may request that the consultation/engagement process is independently facilitated, particularly where several hapuu/iwi claim an interest in the application, to ensure an independent outcome.
(e) To ensure a robust process of identifying and resolving issues as the assessment progresses, particularly in a complex matter, ongoing hui may be held with the applicant.
6.2.8 Waikato-Tainui provides a report on consultation engagement outcomes to the applicant.
6.2.9 Waikato-Tainui and applicant discuss and confirm the outcomes, work through any outstanding issues, or agree on a process to resolve outstanding issues arising from consultation/engagement. Outcomes may include but are not limited to:
(a) Full support for the proposal;
(b) Conditional support for the proposal, subject to certain;
(i) Conditions being adopted;
(ii) Effects being managed a certain way;
(iii) Monitoring regimes being adopted;
(iv) Reporting being provided; and/or
(v) Waikato-Tainui ongoing involvement; or
(c) Rejection of the proposal, outlining the reasons for the rejection.
6.2.10 Applicant files application with Waikato-Tainui report attached. View Flow Chart in drop down ‘6.4 Flow Chart – Consultation & Engagement Plan’
6.3 Resourcing Consultation & Engagement Costs
6.3.1 Waikato-Tainui has suitably qualified and/or experienced experts available to advise local authorities, applicants, and other resource users, and to sit on Local Authority Hearings Panels as Environmental Commissioners. In the past the necessity of having access to taangata whenua expertise compared to specialists of other disciplines has not been considered a priority. Waikato-Tainui is of the view that taangata whenua expertise needs to be considered and weighted in the same way as other subject matter or technical expertise..
6.3.2 Like any other expert or technical advice, the resourcing of input from Waikato-Tainui people needs to be considered. As a minimum, taangata whenua expertise should be resourced to the same degree and in the same manner as other technical or subject matter expertise. Waikato-Tainui is able to recommend taangata whenua experts for resource management matters. For the comfort of all parties, good project management disciplines should apply with personnel, costs, disbursements, outcomes, and timelines agreed between the parties prior to costs being incurred or work being undertaken.