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Sounds speed reductions unnecessary, damaging

2 August 2004

Sounds speed reductions unnecessary, damaging

Owner of the Bluebridge Cook Strait ferry, Strait Shipping New Zealand, today said the impending Marlborough District Council Variation to further restrict ship speeds in the Sounds is unnecessary.

Sheryl Mateni, Managing Director of Strait Shipping, said residents of the Sounds, and the Sounds environment, were already very well protected by a Council bylaw passed in 2000, which introduced dramatically reduced speed limits.

“The matter of wakes causing environmental damage became an issue with fast ferries. With the changes to the navigational bylaws, this has now been addressed.

“Strait Shipping Limited and other shipping companies worked with all parties to address this issue and it has been resolved,” said Ms Mateni.

“It appears the Council is still worried about more fast ferries using the Sounds, but they’re not coming – the existing bylaws have already prevented that,” she said.

Ms Mateni said she agreed that shipping activity in the Sounds needed to be managed in a manner which provided for the continued economic, social and cultural wellbeing of all people and communities, while sustaining the coastal environment.

“However, Variation Three imposes conditions and costs on our business which are unjustified and unnecessary,” she said.

“New Zealand is a country of two islands, it is dependant on an efficient, reliable and competitive shipping service for the movement of freight and people, and to make New Zealand one.

“Variation Three will have an unnecessary and unacceptable impact on the commercial realities of operating a business, as well as the provision of transport services for goods and people between the islands.” The Bluebridge already has resource consent to travel through the Sounds at its existing speed, so its sailings will be unaffected by the new bylaw.

“However, without this consent, this Variation would cut the number of round trip sailings the Bluebridge would be able to make from three to two per day,” said Ms Mateni.

ENDS

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