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Act of Good Faith

EMBARGOED til 1030am Fri 18 July 2008
Press Release – Act of Good Faith

Hauraki Mäori, local surfers and other Whangamata community members say:

“The piece meal approach by the consenting authorities continues to frustrate us and everyone else involved in the Whangamata Marina debacle. Amongst others, a new plan change to the land based activities of the Marina Society was announced by the Thames Coromandel District Council this week. We stand firm against a process where the original plan submitted in 2005, has been allowed to be changed without notification to the general public, signifying that there is no apparent need for further transparent and robust assessment of environmental and cultural effects for additions to granted consents.”

The primary goal of the group has been to lobby the Minister for the Environment to undertake a comprehensive independent audit of the procedures undertaken by the local and regional authorities, to date, this being within the jurisdiction of his portfolio.

During the 18 day occupation, the concerns of the group at Whangamata have been supported by the Hauraki Mäori Trust Board. Communications between the board and local Mäori MP, Nanaia Mahuta culminated yesterday, with a site visit to talk with the Whangamata group. She assured them that the Minister for the Environment was aware of the issues and that he needed time to deliberate. She has undertaken to ensure the Minister responds to the call for an audit.

Today, as a demonstration of Good Faith, the group will break their occupation and await the decision of the Minister for the Environment, the Right Honourable Trevor Mallard.

This is also an acknowledgement to the Marina Society who have formally agreed to withhold all on site activities until 1 August 2008.

In summary, Nathan Kennedy a spokesperson for the group stated ‘the occupation was about:

• Raising the awareness locally and nationally of irregularities and discrepancies in the long running series of marina consent applications
• Displaying and showing the real environmental effects of the marina to Mäori and to the community
• Addressing misinformation circulated by the marina society over the last 15 years
• Expressing alarm at the enabling of privatisation of the foreshore and seabed for the financial gain of a minority group of users and residents.
• Shedding light on the relocation of the Mokomoko Skink to enable the destruction of their natural habitat

There is a further call for the Minister of Conservation to:
• make a declaration on the status of the Lease Lands of the Whangamata site
• to commence dialogue with mandated representatives of Hauraki Mäori on the mokomoko skink
• to conserve this special habitat and its biodiversity

A further spokesperson, Pauline Clarkin, said,
”Outcomes that have given us comfort to move off site include:
• Balanced media coverage has increased public awareness both local and national, dispelling myths from Marina society
• TCDC has made public statements to the effect that recent marina plan revisions differ significantly from consents granted by the environment court,
• The Minister for the Environment Trevor Mallard is currently considering the potential for an independent audit of the marina consents processes
• Councils have confirmed that work will not start on site until at least August 2008
• The Marina society has to date not obtained tenure of either the TCDC or DoC lands on which to construct the marina


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