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Minister's decision on marina applauded

7 March 2006

Minister's decision on marina applauded

Minister of Conservation Chris Carter's decision today to decline an application for a controversial marina at Whangamata has been applauded by Forest & Bird.

"The Minister's decision to decline the marina is to be applauded. Forest & Bird is pleased the Minister has made a decision that will protect the important natural features of the harbour including a valuable saltmarsh and mangrove area," said Forest & Bird General Manager Mike Britton today. "The saltmarsh is habitat for the banded rail, a secretive relative of the weka, which was once much more common throughout New Zealand, but is now listed as a threatened species."

Local bach-owner and Forest & Bird committee member Eddie Orsulich said, "if it went ahead, this marina would have been built at the expense of the environment and the wider community. The decision will also keep the area in full public control."

"The case for the environment has not been properly argued before the Environment Court," said Tauranga Forest & Bird Branch Chair, Basil Graeme. "The Environment Court made a recommendation to the Minister of Conservation as 'owner' of the foreshore, and it was entirely appropriate for the Minister to turn down that recommendation in order to protect the environment."

Local Forest & Bird member and community board member David Steel said he was dismayed at the lack of accurate ecological information provided to the court over a 10 year period. "No-one presented evidence on banded rail in this case. Yet I went down to the site and photographed a pair of these threatened birds within minutes."

ENDS

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