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Support in principle for Kaikoura Is Purchase

Support in principle for Kaikoura Is Purchase

North Shore City Council has been asked to contribute to the $6m anticipated cost of buying Kaikoura Island in the Hauraki Gulf.

Auckland's mayoral forum representing the region's eight councils has asked each of its members to consider the purchase. The forum has also asked central government to contribute at least $3m, amounting to about half of the current shortfall to buy the island.

There would also be initial costs for pest eradication, and ongoing management and maintenance costs.

North Shore City's community services and parks committee considered the request, and decided to ask the Minister of Conservation to support the purchase, and if there is a shortfall in the funding, to refer the request to North Shore City's long term council community plan process for further consideration by council and public.

Committee chairperson, Margaret Miles, says the island would provide a magnificent asset for the people of North Shore City and the wider region, especially with the growth predictions for the area.

"We're happy to support the idea of the purchase, but we also want our residents to have an opportunity to have their say - we want to be sure that they're happy with the city contributing to this important asset," says Councillor Miles.

The 564 hectare island is the seventh largest in the Hauraki Gulf, and is seen as an opportunity to create a sanctuary for endangered species that did or can exist on the island. It could also provide an opportunity for Auckland's youth to experience the wilderness of a remote Hauraki Gulf Island, and has been promoted by many as a fitting memorial to the late Sir Peter Blake.

The island lies just to the west of Great Barrier Island, and forms a part of scenic Port Fitzroy.

The island is currently in generally poor condition in terms of wildlife habitat, but once the introduced deer, pigs, cats and rats are eliminated there would be a significant increase in the natural biodiversity found there.

Councillors heard how Tiritiri Matangi Island, also in the Hauraki Gulf, is an example of successful rejuvenation. Pests have been eradicated and native animals and plants have been successfully introduced to make the island a wildlife refuge popular with visitors.

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