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Auckland raises first Blue Flag in Australasia

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Auckland mayor Dick Hubbard and Westhaven Chief Executive Keith Hogan raising the Blue Flag

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Blue Flag Co-Ordinator Erin Alley and Westhaven Operations and Administration Officer Kyla Brooks with the Blue Flag

Blue Flag New Zealand

Press Release

Auckland raises first Blue Flag in Australasia over Westhaven Marina

Mayor Dick Hubbard launches new, environment programme by raising the Blue Flag

Auckland - 21 November 2005 – Auckland Mayor Dick Hubbard raised the first ‘Blue Flag’, representing a European-based environment programme for good beach and marina management, at a ceremony at the Westhaven Marina on Saturday.

The Blue Flag programme is operated in 33 countries worldwide in over 3000 beaches and marinas. The Westhaven launch for the marina is the introduction of the United Nations-endorsed programme in any beach or marina in Australasia.

“This is not the beginning or the end,” the Mayor said at the opening ceremony “but rather a step along the path” in terms of good environment practices.

Mr Hubbard said he firmly supported the concept of sustainable cities and was very interested in the Blue Flag programme and what it could achieve towards making cities and coastal environments sustainable and clean.

The Chairman of Blue Flag New Zealand, Mr Robert Acton, congratulated Westhaven Marina for embracing the Blue Flag programme and complying with its requirements.

“Joining the programme is more than simple form-filling,” Mr Acton said. It required approval by the National Jury in New Zealand before being submitted to the International Jury for approval. The International Jury comprised a variety of environmental organizations, including the United Nations Environment Programme.

The Department of Conservation also attended the opening ceremony with a display focused upon biosecurity issues for boaties and others, particularly regarding island biosecurity issues.

Blue Flag operates a programme based on environmental education and awareness, both for marinas and beaches. It started in Denmark in 1987 and is found throughout Europe, the Caribbean, South Africa and other countries.

The Blue Flag programme is intended to be extended to other marinas and beach areas in New Zealand over the coming years.

About Blue Flag:

Blue Flag is an internationally-recognised, voluntary, environmental award presented to communities that reach the appropriate level of environmental management and education in respect of their beaches and marinas.

The Blue Flag programme is coordinated by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) and was established in France in 1985. It has been implemented throughout most of Europe since 1987 and includes marinas as well as beaches.

Together with UNEP and WTO, FEE extended Blue Flag to areas beyond Europe in 1999.

In order to receive a Blue Flag, a beach or marina must meet strict criteria including the measuring of water quality, the provision of environmental education and information, environmental management, and environmental safety. Thee links provide more detailed information on the Blue Flag criteria for beaches or marinas.

The 'Blue Flag criteria' have increased over the years since the programme's commencement, thus maintaining its integrity and prestige to those beaches and marinas that display the award. Although the same criteria are used throughout the network, adaptations are permitted to suit each particular region.

For further information on Blue Flag please visit the international Blue Flag website www.blueflag.org or contact the national organisation info@blueflag.org.nz


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