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Coalition Submits Petition to Save Crater Hill to Council

Aug 9th 2016

Coalition Submits Petition to Save Crater Hill to Auckland Council

A coalition of community groups have come together as lead signatories on a petition submitted to Auckland Council today. The Geoscience Society of New Zealand, Civic Trust Auckland, SOUL ((Save Our Unique Landsacapes) campaign, Friends of Maungawhau and Redoubt Ridge Environmental Action Group have joined with over 800 concerned citizens in calling for Auckland Council to reject the recommendation of the Hearings Panel on the Unitary Plan with respect to the future of the stunning Crater Hill volcano, Papatoetoe.

The petition reads:

“Dear Auckland Council,

On behalf of all future generations of Aucklanders, please reject the proposed rezoning of Crater Hill in the IHP recommended version of the Unitary Plan. If accepted it will allow over 550 dwellings to be built on Auckland’s last undeveloped volcano. Crater Hill has been scheduled as an Outstanding Natural Feature in the Manukau District Scheme for more than 20 years and still will be in the Unitary Plan. This classification has helped keep this small unique volcano, with its crater lake, undeveloped and in rural zoning since the early 1990s. The proposed rezoning is contrary to the intent of the RMA 1991 Clause 6b which states that “the protection of outstanding natural features and landscapes from inappropriate subdivision, use and development” is a matter of national importance. How the Hearings Panel could think that residential subdivisions over an undeveloped, World Heritage-quality, small volcano was an acceptable adverse effect is hard to fathom in this, the 21stcentury.

The Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan says the volcanic cones and fields are “defining natural and physical features that provide a unique setting and contribute significantly to Aucklanders' quality of life”. Since 1950, 65% of the 26 volcanoes in the southern half of the Auckland Volcanic Field have been demolished, built over or severely damaged. Crater Hill is the last one left in private ownership and is currently in remarkably good shape in spite of the SW Motorway and the owners’ quarrying and back-filling activity inside one part of the crater. The recommended Unitary Plan has an objective (D10.2.4) that states “Where practicable the restoration and enhancement of outstanding natural features is promoted.”

Please do the right thing and don’t sacrifice this last remaining undeveloped, unprotected volcanic gem in the Auckland Volcanic Field to the new world order of new housing subdivisions no matter what the cost.”

The petition was signed by numerous Aucklanders from all walks of life supported by colleagues from around New Zealand and overseas. Over 200 of the signatories are from New Zealand geologists, including at least ten university professors. This attests to Crater Hill’s high values as Auckland’s best preserved tuff cone and the best example in New Zealand of a maar volcano with a partially drained lava lake. Supporting comments from signatories expressed horror and sadness at the proposed “vandalism” of Auckland’s volcanic heritage: “This is our unique heritage and a treasure we should preserve for future generations.” “too precious to bury under a subdivision.” “not preserving Crater Hill is like destroying what’s made Auckland standout from every other city.” “I once visited Crater Hill and I was captivated by its story book charm, complete with lake and island in the middle of the crater.” “Crater Hill is an absolute gem!!”


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