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West Coasters Call On Minster's Intervention

Wednesday 22 August 2001

West Coasters Call On Conservation Minster's Intervention

Coast Action Network Chairman Barry Nicolle said, "I am appalled to read today the proposed blasting and dredging of the Rangitoto Channel by Ports of Auckland.

Mr Nicolle said that the Auckland City Councils Planning and regulatory Committee have given permission to carry out untold environmental damage to this "Pristine environmental wilderness."

The Ports of Auckland what to sacrifice this wonderland simply to bring in larger shipping into the Auckland area, let them go elsewhere, Lyttelton or Wellington.

I am calling on The Conservation Minister Sandra Lee to stamp on this project with the same vigour as she has done to the GRD Macraes gold mining operation in Reefton!

The potential damage to small crabs, snails, fish, sea grass's and bird life in the area, if there are any left, would be a devastating blow to all West Coast people who hope to, in the near future travel to Auckland and enjoy this water wonderland.

This idea of blasting is shear madness, who knows it may create a huge fissure in the harbour bottom and the entire waterways could empty, this in turn would severely restrict future Americas Cup racing in the area.

Mr. Nicolle said I know that the regions people will be disappointed and were looking forward to having these large ships in their harbour but, Aucklander's should be looking towards a future along the same lines as politicians are forcing on Coasters. That is eco-tourism in these outstanding conservation areas. There is tremendous opportunity here for small niche eco-tourism operations instead of this wholesale slaughter and degradation of the Gulf's substantial ecological marine habitat and lets face it who in their right mind would want to stir up that harbour?

Mr Nicolle said he had just returned last night from a meeting in Reefton regarding Conservation Minister Sandra Lee's decesion to stop GRD Macraes gold mine and the resulting loss off 200 jobs for the area. The Minister stopped this operation even though resource management consents had been granted without a challenge by her own department, I was appalled when I read that the Port of Auckland were seeking consents to dredge and blast without the Minister challenging this.

I intend to bring this to the Ministers attention and I am confident she can over rule the Auckland Councils proposal. I am doing this on behalf of all New Zealanders and the countries future children. We need to live up to our clean green image; Mr. Nicolle said.

Bugger!

Barry Nicolle
Chairman
Coast Action Network
And Environmental Watchdog for the North Island

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