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Gulf Marine Act clouds port development

Media Release Monday, May 14th, 2001

Port development under threat from Minister's retroactive decision

Conservation Minister Sandra Lee's retroactive intervention last week under the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park Act 2000 could have far reaching and drastic consequences for the development of Auckland's port, say the Employers & Manufacturers Association (Northern).

"Pulling the plug on the Whitianga canal project raised serious questions over whether the expansion and dredging of the port of Auckland would be able to proceed," said Alasdair Thompson, EMA's chief executive.

"The issue is of grave concern to Auckland business. The port needs more terminal space through reclamation and to take larger ships.

"Presumably Minister Lee obtained a Crown Law opinion before acting. We would like to see it. She decided that although the approvals needed for the Whitianga canals development had all been obtained before the enactment of the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park Act 2000, that Act could be applied retroactively to stop the development.

"Business needs to know what conditions would have to be satisfied for an application under the Act to succeed.

"We also need to know what has to be done under the Act more than what may be required under the Resource Management Act for a project to get the go ahead.

"Otherwise New Zealand will become known as a place where investment projects can swing on a Minister's whim."

Further comment: Alasdair Thompson tel 09 367 0911 (b) 09 303 3951 (h) 025 982 024


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