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Extension of marine reserve consultation needed

Tuesday, 31 January 2006

UF/ORNZ seek extension of new Govt move on marine reserves

United Future environment spokesman Gordon Copeland and Outdoor Recreation spokesman Phil Hoare have welcomed the announcement by Conservation Minister Chris Carter and Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton that the government is going to improve radically its consultation process on the development of new marine reserves.

The Ministers announced at the weekend that the Marine Protected Areas policy sets up a new system for planning where marine protected areas, including no-take marine reserves, are to be located in each region.

In future, the government expects proposals for new marine reserves to be considered by regional forums before ministers decide on them.

The forums will involve a broad range of community groups with an interest in the local marine area.

Messrs Copeland and Hoare are now saying the government should put its money where its mouth is and back up their new commitment to consultation by putting a complete stop to the marine reserve at Great Barrier Island that has angered and frustrated recreational fishers, island residents and local tangata whenua.

Mr Copeland said, "This was one of the worst examples of the Department of Conservation's bulldozing consultation approach.

"I am afraid many will not take the Government's commitment to consultation seriously unless the current plans for the country's largest marine reserve are also subjected to the new procedures, regarding a new more consultative and comprehensive approach to the development of marine protection.

"This will be a step in the right direction and a definite u-turn from the unilateral DOC approach as proposed in the Marine Reserves Bill before Parliament last year and which hopefully has now been consigned to the rubbish bin.

"United Future's Larry Baldock worked hard to convince the Government last year that the current approach was not going to work and we are glad to see that someone has been listening," said Mr Copeland.

ENDS

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