Marine reserve to remain in limbo for another year

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    A proposed marine reserve off the north west coast of Waiheke remains over a year away, despite public submissions ending early last year with overwhelming public support. 

    The Friends of the Hauraki Gulf, a Waiheke-based incorporated society driven by volunteers, formally applied to the Department of Conservation to establish the Hākaimangō-Mātiatia Marine Reserve in 2021. Public consultations on the proposal run until 20 January, with 93 percent of submissions in favour of the reserve. The Friends filed their response to the submissions in April, leaving the decision in the hands of Minister of Conservation Kiritapu Allan – based on a final advisory report from DoC. Poto Williams replaced Kiritapu as conservation minister in June.

    In July, the Department of Conservation’s deputy director general of operations Henry Weston wrote to Friends of the Hauraki Gulf chairman and Auckland Councillor Mike Lee to provide an indicative timeframe for that report, and explain what went into it. “The advice we are developing is technically and legally complex. It involves assessments under at least four different pieces of legislation, with input from teams across the department,” Weston wrote. “The department will also seek advice from outside parties, including Fisheries New Zealand and the Ministry of Transport. There will be an important procedural step of providing [the Friends of the Hauraki Gulf] with the draft report for your comment.” 

    • Paul Mitchell

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