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Statement from the Whangamata Marina Society

Statement from the Whangamata Marina Society

13 March 2006.

The implications of the Minister of Conservation’s outrageous decision to override the Environment Court extend well beyond Whangamata and are addressed in a Member’s Bill being promoted by the Whangamata Marina Society.

The Society Chairman, Mick Kelly, said National MP Nick Smith had agreed to sponsor the Bill and that the Society was also grateful for the strong support they were receiving from United Future on the issue.

“We will be talking to other parties in the House to get as much support as we can for the legislation and would urge other New Zealanders promote it with their local MPs also. No-one can have any security of planning or process for as long as a Minister can unilaterally overturn the judgement of a Court,” Mr Kelly said.

“The public understands how much is at stake here. The Society has had many messages of support, including from other people with cases currently before the Environment Court, and got a crowd of around 700 to a rally in Whangamata at the weekend.”

The Bill makes the Environment Court the final decision maker for resource consents relating to coastal activities, effective from 26 October 2005 when the Court granted planning consent for the Whangamata marina.

“Law reform is the best solution as it would remove any possibility of such an outrage being repeated. The law has been brought into disrepute by this incident and it is important that any opportunity for a recurrence is removed from the statute books.

“The Society followed due process, at significant time and expense, in getting permission to proceed with a marina which is very widely supported within the Whangamata community. We have invested 14 years and $1.3 million in getting this far.

“To have all that work overturned by the Minister is an act of breathtaking arrogance,” Mr Kelly said.

ENDS

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