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Whangamata decision disastrous

19 December 2006

Whangamata decision disastrous

The decision by Environment Minister David Benson-Pope to grant consents for the controversial Whangamata Mariana proposal is extremely disappointing, the Green Party says.

The Marina was earlier turned down by Conservation Minister Chris Carter but an appeal by its backers in the High Court found that Carter had not followed correct procedure in making his decision and it was passed to David Benson-Pope to review.

"It is tragic that the Environment Minister has chosen to reverse the original decision, as the High Court found nothing at all to object to about the substance of that decision, only the process," Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons says.

"Not only is this reversal embarrassing for the Government, it is disastrous for Whangamata Harbour.

"This is one of the few areas of coastline left undeveloped in the area, and has great ecological value, including areas of rare salt marsh and mangroves. Local residents, iwi, and harbour users have all expressed grave concerns at the Marina proposal, and the Green Party was very pleased when Chris Carter chose to protect public space over the financial interests of private developers.

"It seems David Benson-Pope has buckled to pressure from these interested parties in reversing the decision. Those with a financial stake in the development will be celebrating, but the majority of residents in Whangamata will be devastated.

"This is another step towards the privatisation of our foreshore and seabed for the benefit of a few privileged citizens. It is the worst Christmas present imaginable for the people of Whangamata," Ms Fitzsimons says.

ENDS


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