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Council change of heart on Kaipara protection

24 May 2006 - Auckland

Forest & Bird media release for immediate use

Council change of heart on Kaipara protection welcomed

Forest & Bird has applauded Auckland Regional Council's decision to withdraw a proposal in its coastal plan to allow marine farming in the southern Kaipara Harbour.

North Island Field Co-ordinator David Pattemore said the decision by the council's regional strategy and planning committee recognised the importance of protecting internationally significant wildlife from inappropriate development on the Kaipara.

"Kaipara has outstanding habitat for birdlife, marine mammals and spectacular landscapes and recreational opportunities which would have been threatened by allowing development in some of the most sensitive habitats on the harbour. Forest & Bird is very pleased that the council has now recognised the importance of protecting this valuable natural asset."

The council had proposed establishing Aquaculture Management Areas for marine farming in the southern Kaipara Harbour, but withdrew the proposal following an Environment Court ruling overturned council consent for a 30-hectare mussel farm in the area.

The court found that benefits from the proposal by Biomarine Ltd would have been outweighed by significant adverse effects on the natural character, amenity and recreational values of the area.

David Pattemore said since Aquaculture Management Areas were proposed in October 2002, local environmental groups including Forest & Bird had fought against a number of inappropriate developments on the Kaipara, including the Biomarine mussel farm, and a 104-ha oyster farm off Orongo Point.

David Pattemore said it was hoped the withdrawal of Aquaculture Management Areas from the plan would provide a more ecologically sustainable basis on which to consider future developments on the Kaipara.

"Auckland Regional Council has made the right decision in withdrawing the proposed areas in the Kaipara, and we look forward to working constructively with the council on ways to protect and enhance this special coastal ecosystem."


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