An Auckland/overseas developer has applied to the Far North District Council (FNDC) for consent to create 124 new sections at Tubbs Farm, Kapiro Road.(1) Unfortunately, both the location and the plan are unsuitable.
A Hearing by two Commissioners on 29-30 June (Turner Centre) will decide whether to approve or decline consent. Vision Kerikeri firmly opposes this subdivision, and has been working with Friends of Rangitane Stream, Kapiro Residents Association, Kapiro Conservation Trust and local residents to put forward our case, with expert evidence, at the Hearing.
The developer’s application breaches a large number of District Plan rules and is ‘non-complying’. An independent planner’s report for FNDC recently concluded that the subdivision doesn’t meet the RMA’s ‘test’ for non-complying applications (s104D), and recommended ‘decline consent’.(2)
The proposed location at Tubbs Farm is unsuitable for a number of reasons –
Loss of high quality land: A large part of Tubbs Farm is high-quality agricultural land – the subdivision would eliminate one of the last remaining large blocks of ‘class 2’ highly productive land(3) in the Far North district - a finite resource that we need for local economic development, for feeding ourselves and a growing world. See our article called ‘Save Our Soil’.
Additional traffic will cause more noise, congestion and safety risks. Our expert traffic report estimates that 124 new sections will generate 30% more traffic on Landing Road, where the bridge is already the 2nd busiest one-lane bridge in the District.(4) It will also exacerbate existing congestion problems in the CBD.
Urban sprawl in rural area: The subdivision would create a new area of urban sprawl in a rural environment that lacks relevant infrastructure. FNDC’s report(5) noted that the housing development is of such scale and intensity ‘that it will create a new suburban environment’ in the rural outskirts.
Water quality: The proposal breaches the National Environmental Standards for Freshwater.(6) During periods of high rainfall, stormwater and wastewater runoff will carry sediment and pollutants to wetlands, Rangitane River, Waipapa Stream and Kerikeri Inlet.
Industrial-scale earthworks: The developer plans to shift 148,000 m3 of soil on an area covering 21% of the site, just for creating empty sections and roads in the subdivision. Additional earthworks will be carried out for the foundations of 124 houses and other built structures.
Effects on natural environment: Impacts on kiwi, other native species and local environment.
Alternative sites: Kerikeri has alternative sites on lower quality land, much more suitable for housing development. We need affordable housing in appropriate locations.
The proposal also contravenes key environmental policies in Ngāti Rehia’s Environmental Management Plan.(7) VKK shares the concerns expressed recently by Ngāti Rehia - “A subdivision of this size and scale is not what we would consider as Rural Residential or preferred for this location, due to a range of reasons including (but not limited to) the loss of class 2 soils, and the continued degrading of Rangitane River and Te Awa o ngā Rangatira (Kerikeri inlet): the food basket of the hapū.’(8)
Developer’s application for consent (FNDC website): https://www.fndc.govt.nz/Our-services/Resource-consents/View-resource-consent-applications/RC-2200416-RMACOM. Developers Neil Construction & Neil Group (Auckland) are owned by Callander Group Ltd, an overseas company registered in a Caribbean tax haven (https://app.companiesoffice.govt.nz/companies/app/ui/pages/companies/54491; https://app.companiesoffice.govt.nz/companies/app/ui/pages/companies/72156).
Section 42 report by independent planner for FNDC, June 2022, https://www.fndc.govt.nz/files/assets/public/objectivedocuments/regulation-and-monitoring-rem/content-for-website/resource-consents/rc-2220416-rmacom-s42a-report-neil-construction-1.pdf
Land identified as Land Use Capability (LUC) Class 2 by Landcare Research.
A new bridge would only bring more traffic onto an unsuitable road, so it is not a solution. We don’t expect to get a Landing Road bypass in Doonside Road, not for several decades at least, because FNDC ranks it low priority compared with other urgent infrastructure needs.
FNDC section 95 report, January 2021, p.42.
Ngāti Rehia Environmental Management Plan, https://www.nrc.govt.nz/media/zygjx2wg/ngati-rehia-hapu-environment-management-plan-2014.pdf
Letter from Ngāti Rehia to the developer’s planner, 10 June 2022.