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Permit To Dredge Sand Off Pakiri Approved

Permit To Dredge Sand Off Pakiri Approved

Conservation Minister Chris Carter has approved a permit for Kaipara Excavators Ltd to dredge two million cubic metres of sand offshore from Pakiri, north of Auckland.

The sand, to be dredged over a 20 year period, will be taken from the seafloor at a depth of 25-50 metres within a 500 square kilometre area between Pakiri and Little Barrier Island (or Hauturu).

The Environment Court recommended in January this year that the permit be granted subject to revised conditions, after submitters sought inquiries into an earlier recommendation by an Auckland Regional Council hearing committee to grant the permit.

Mr Carter confirmed the Environment Court recommendation to grant the permit.

“I have accepted the Court recommendation that the proposal would enable significant economic and social benefits to be realised without compromising the life supporting capacity of the marine ecosystem.”

“The sand will be used in many large commercial and infrastructure projects in Auckland and for replenishing beaches in the area,” said Mr Carter.

Mr Carter said the Environment Court had found that the quantity of sand to be taken by Kaipara Excavators was consistent with sustainable management promoted under the Resource Management Act.

“The Environment Court concluded that 2 million cubic metres of sand and fine gravels represent approximately 1.3% of the resource off Pakiri.”

The proposed dredging operation, which will suck up the top 10 centimetres of sand and fine gravel, will disturb about 20 square kilometres over 20 years. This amounted to about 5 % of the application area..

The Auckland Regional Council usually decides on permits to extract sand in the coastal marine area. However, due to the large quantity of sand involved, Kaipara Excavators’ application was considered as a “restricted coastal activity”, subject to the Minister of Conservation’s decision.

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