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Baldock Champions 'Steam-Rollered' Islanders

Media Statement
For immediate release
Monday, 20 September, 2004

Baldock champions 'steam-rollered' islanders

The proposed Great Barrier Island marine reserve is too big and is being pushed by the Conservation Department to the detriment of the local population, United Future fisheries and environment spokesman Larry Baldock said today.

Speaking after a weekend visit to the island, Mr Baldock said he would take the matter up with Conservation Minister, Chris Carter, as there appeared to be few good reasons why the planned 50,100-hectare reserve had to be that size.

"Locals are right offside with this, and it is going to have a huge impact on them socially and economically," Mr Baldock said, indicating that such realities needed to be factored into planning for the reserve.

"The potential economic consequences from a reduction in recreational fishing would have a significant impact on the livelihoods of many of the island's residents and that loss is unlikely to be replaced by any economic gain of new visitors to a marine reserve.

"I think both those economic opportunities should be promoted alongside each other and doing so may well help reverse the local population's downward trend by creating more job opportunities, rather than simply locking out the recreational fishing sector," he said.

Mr Baldock said that once again it appeared that people were being run over by a DOC steamroller.

He said locals weren't opposed to a reasonably marine reserve, if it were of a reasonable size.


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