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Let's make Hauraki Bill work - Fitzsimons

Let's make Hauraki Bill work - Fitzsimons

Green co-leader and Coromandel MP Jeanette Fitzsimons said she was relieved the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park Bill was finally passed by parliament on Wednesday night.

The Greens have consistently supported the bill since its inception. "It is now up to all participants to make it work," she said. "This bill has great potential to protect and enhance the natural environment of the Hauraki Gulf through clearer management processes with concrete goals," she said.

"The environment including and immediately surrounding the Hauraki Gulf is home to around a third of this country's population and the stresses this level of population places on the Gulf must be very carefully managed and monitored.

"The administration of the Hauraki Gulf will continue to be the responsibility of the 13 local authorities whose areas include parts of the Gulf, however this bill now provides a framework through which these bodies can co-ordinate their planning, management and resource consent procedures to the benefit of the whole Hauraki area," she said.

Ms Fitzsimons said the area was greatly valued for its beauty, its rare wildlife, its recreational opportunities, and was especially significant for local iwi as a natural food gathering area.

"It is a matter of continued sadness to me that Hauraki iwi are still unhappy with the bill. It is a lesson that conservation efforts must incorporate Maori perspectives from the start if they are to have their maximum effect. We need to develop Treaty partnerships in all conservation initiatives," she said.

"In my view, this bill does make a start in that direction. I was able to persuade the select committee and Parliament to increase iwi representation on the forum from four to six; to make the protection of kaimoana a specific objective of the bill; to incorporate the Maori names for the Gulf into the bill; and to change the Treaty clause to have no effect on the claim to the foreshore and seabed.

"The passing of the bill with support from four parties, after the work of three ministers is a good example of MMP in practice. I hope all those who live around the Gulf will now work together to make the bill work for the benefit of the Gulf and its people.

Jeanette Fitzsimons MP: 025 586 068, 04 470 6661 Jonathan Hill (press secretary) 04 470 6719, 021 212 0642

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