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Ed Sheeran

Carter seeks reset as SNA hikoi looms

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Far North mayor John Carter says he wants to pause and reset the process for identifying significant natural areas.

The mayor won’t be in Kaikohe tomorrow to meet a hīkoi protesting the SNA process because he will be in Wellington talking to ministers and Northland MPs about the legal steps needed to create such a reset.

Because of the large areas of native and regenerating native bush and the underdeveloped state of much of the north, almost half the Māori land would qualify as an SNA and be subject to restrictions on its use.

Mr Carter says in hindsight his council could have done better, but it was trying to manage a legal requirement passed down from central government to regional and then local councils.

"We're looking to have a pause and a reset so we go out and we actually listen, have our ears open as we talk to landowner representatives, whether it be farmers, whether it be business people, whether it be residents, whether it be heritage, whether it be multiply-owned Māori land, whoever it is, we need to ensure we are listening and we will be," he says.

Mr Carter says he will ask for officials to be sent north to explain the policy to landowners.

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