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Sandra Lee’s Decision An Outrageous Abuse Of Power

Tuesday 15th May 2001

“The Minister of Conservation’s instruction for Whitianga Waterways to recommence their consent approval process is outrageous and an appalling example of political manipulation to the point where it breaches the law,” says ACT Deputy Leader Ken Shirley.

“Whitianga Waterways received their full consents at a joint hearing in December 1999 involving Environment Waikato, Thames/Coromandel District Council and the Department of Conservation.

“Under the Resource Management Act the Minister of Conservation should have issued restrictive coastal permits within 20 working days on the advice from her approved Commissioner to the hearing process held in November 1999.

“The Hauraki Gulf Marine Park Act was not passed until April 2000 and for the Minister to now subject this application to the full gambit of this additional process is appalling. ACT New Zealand was the only political party to oppose the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park Act which was driven through Parliament by the National Party as an ill-conceived but populist vote catcher in election year.

“ACT said that this piece of legislation threatened to introduce another layer of red tape and bureaucratic delay - and once again we have been proven right.

“There are numerous other consents which have been granted in this vicinity but not subjected to the retrospective application of the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park provisions. So why is Sandra Lee singling out this proposal?

“The Whitianga Waterways project has overwhelming support among the local community including the local iwi, Ngati Hei. The development addresses a number of community issues - such as the upgrade of the water supply, the sewage scheme and the provision of essential coastal protection works. In addition the development provides for a much needed bypass highway for Whitianga.

“It is known that the local member of Parliament Jeanette Fitzsimons opposes this legislation and it would now appear that the Whitianga township and their future development has been compromised by the spat between the Greens and the Alliance both trying to out-green each other.

“I will be attending a public meeting in the Mercury Bay Town Hall on Wednesday the 16th May and I challenge the Minister to front up to the local community and explain her actions,” said Ken Shirley.

ENDS


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