Marine Park bill not good enough to pass
"National's arrogance means that their MPs do not listen to what people most affected by the bill are telling them. This bill needs some significant improvements and Labour in government will ensure that those improvements are made before it is passed," Judith Tizard said.
"Labour supports the concept of a marine park in the Gulf but has had doubts about this bill since its inception. While we believed it had been improved by the select committee process, it was still not good enough.
"A significant problem that arose was Nick Smith's refusal to put all the HMNZS Tamaki land not now used by the Navy into reserve status. Had he moved on that, greater progress with the bill could have been made.
"The park will have to operate with the goodwill of Auckland local authorities, Gulf residents and users, and iwi Maori. Yet the bill was opposed by the Hauraki Maori Trustboard and many other Maori representatives, Federated Farmers, many commercial users, as well as significant groups of Hauraki Gulf Island residents and harbour users.
"While Labour believes that the protection of the Hauraki Gulf was important, the bill does little to advance that and we were not prepared to see the National Government refusing to put any resources into the park while taking credit for a conservation measure for Auckland.
"We too are disappointed that the bill was not improved enough to pass. But Nick Smith was warned on 5 September that we did not believe there was enough in the bill to satisfy people's concerns. Labour will pass the improved bill after the election with the support of those key groups and individuals," Judith Tizard said.