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Greens welcome moves to preserve coast

8 March 2006

Greens welcome moves to preserve coast for all NZers

The Green Party has welcomed the Government's inquiry into coastal development guidelines, saying it is long overdue.

"Parts of New Zealand which were once favourite and beautiful holiday spots are becoming little more than extra suburbia," Party Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons says. "I've been speaking out for years on this issue after being contacted by people around the country urging me to do all I can to stop inappropriate coastal development.

"Section 6 in part 2 of the Resource Management Act makes it a matter of national importance to protect the 'natural character of the coastal environment' from 'inappropriate subdivision, use and development' and yet this very strong legislation seems to be ignored in many planning decisions."

Ms Fitzsimons says she is of course most familiar with issues in the Coromandel, "which if left to developers would soon become a polluted satellite of Auckland".

Housing and boating-berthing complexes are being built and proposed at a time when serious water supply, sewerage and environmental issues have yet to be addressed around the peninsula. Most of the popular beaches or estuaries on the peninsula's east coast have been threatened with major change in recent years.

"I'm pleased that Conservation Minister Chris Carter is taking a wider view - often the real story is buried when issues like his Whangamata decision yesterday are announced. The big picture in the Coromandel coast is one of huge developmental pressure," Ms Fitzsimons says.

A large-scale waterways development at Whitianga has recently followed one at Pauanui. Meanwhile the tiny Hot Water Beach community - which recently was little more than baches and a campground - was about to be transformed and attempts have been made over the past five years to turn a pristine estuary at Tairua into a marina. Then of course there is the marina proposal at Whangamata.

"We are at the stage, I feel, if we are not to follow the mistakes of highly developed and polluted countries, of saying 'enough is enough' - especially in the Coromandel," Ms Fitzsimons says.


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