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Elder Statesmen Fight For Hauraki Gulf Marine Park

1 September, 1999

For immediate release

ELDER STATESMEN FIGHT FOR HAURAKI GULF MARINE PARK

Two elder environmental statesmen in the Auckland area have come out fighting for the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park Bill due to be reported back to Parliament this week. The bill has drawn opposition from the Act party, some members of Federated Farmers in the Hunua electorate, and reservations by the Hunua MP, Warren Kyd, of National.

Auckland Regional Council member Bill Burrill, who is chairman of the Auckland Regional Parks and Recreational Committee, and a member of the Hauraki Gulf Forum, has singled out Mr Kyd for criticism.

Jim Holdaway, who chaired the committee which reviewed over 700 submissions made to the Auckland and Waikato Regional Councils on the park bill, has accused the Act Party and sections of Federated Farmers in the Hunua and Coromandel electorates of "deliberately misleading" statements about the bill. Mr Holdaway is spokesman on environmental issues for Bluegreens Northern, a task force established to offer independent policy advice to the National Party on environmental and heritage issues.

"Act and some farmers have embarked on an orchestrated litany of false claims in an effort to mislead the community about the consequences of creating the Hauraki Gulf marine park," said Mr Holdaway. "As a livestock farmer at Dairy Flat, well within the catchment area of the proposed marine park, I have some appreciation of how the park will affect farmers. What Act and some misguided farmers are saying is simply not true. I call on them to stop misleading people, and to concentrate instead on the real benefits which the marine park will introduce.

"The legislation does not create another layer of bureaucracy, because no additional bureaucrats are necessary. Resource consent applications will continue to be handled by the relevant regional or territorial local authority. What the legislation will do is require the various statutory authorities to talk to one another. The proposed Hauraki Gulf Forum will have no executive powers. The Bill gives statutory form to a consultative mechanism, within one set of over-arching principles, for achieving consistency of resource interpretations. It should produce administrative efficiencies across the range of local bodies in and around the park.

"The park encompasses a vast area of land and sea, administered by two regional councils and several Government departments, is vitally affected by the administration of nine territorial local authorities, is home to six iwi, contains some 180 Crown reserves (some of international ecological importance), and an important commercial fishery overseen by the Ministry of Fisheries. A mechanism under which all of those agencies confer on resource management issues affecting the gulf can only benefit everyone.

"Not only will there be no additional costs on applicants, it is probable that consistency of interpretations and greater co-ordination across the various agencies will result in more consistent decision making and reduce costs to applicants and ratepayers.

"When the project was put to the people in the two regions, Auckland and Waikato, more than 700 submissions were made. There were some objections, but, as convenor of the working party which received the submissions, I can assure the present critics that the overwhelming majority supported the concept of a marine park."

"For those of us who live in and around the gulf, and in fact for New Zealand at large, the creation of the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park provides new marketing opportunities for our country's products, from food to tourism, based on our unique geography and the quality of our environmental management.

"On the eve of the preliminaries to the America's Cup we can capture world attention for the Hauraki Gulf, and make it as universally well known in the early years of the new century, as was Long Island Sound when the New York Yacht Club was the defender. The idea of defending the world's oldest sporting trophy within the limits of a marine park will appeal to world imagination, and will spread the message of New Zealand's environmental values," said Mr Holdaway.

Meanwhile, Mr Burrill has accused Mr Kyd of being "driven by ideological short sightedness and ignorance with respect to the Hauraki Gulf and our natural environment in preventing the passage of the gulf maritime park bill.

" One third of the population of New Zealand live on the shores of the Hauraki Gulf, and are vitally concerned to ensure we maintain the best possible water quality, sustainable and fairly managed fisheries and above all, recreational access.

"There has been sustained community demand that the gulf be recognised with park status .For the past two years the councils (seven local and two regional), DoC, the Ministry of Fisheries and the Ministry of Maori Affairs, have worked together voluntarily in the Hauraki Gulf Forum. The bill will formalise the forum, give appropriate representation to Maori and recognises the special status of the Hauraki Gulf as a Maritime Park.

"Passing this bill with appropriate final amendments will recognise that the people of the Auckland and Waikato Regions are committed to preserving the Hauraki Gulf.

"My family were one of the largest land owners in the Gulf and I farm in the catchment. I am confident that this Bill will facilitate common sense management and represents no threat to private land owners. In March 1984, my dad gifted 9000 acres of his land on Great Barrier Island to the people of New Zealand as part of the Hauraki Gulf Maritime Park. I have worked for seven years to see this bill passed by Parliament for the benefit of the whole community, our children and for future generations," said Mr Burrill.

Ends


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