The Hauraki Gulf Forum, a consultative and advocacy body established under the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park Act, is about to vote on a proposal to ask the Government to change its composition to that of a 50:50 co-governance authority with mana whenua and ‘others’. It means 2.2 million people who live in and around the Hauraki Gulf could well lose their say and councils could be powerless to ensure your ongoing right to enjoy these waterways.
This could impact recreational use, fishing, boating etc and could be a barrier to businesses who make their livelihood on the Gulf.
The proposal also recommends that the Marine Park concept be removed, and that this new Authority develop its own statutory plans that would prevail over council policies and central government decision-making for all matters in respect of the Gulf. In effect, this would grant control of the Hauraki Gulf to unelected appointees, along with far greater power, resources and influence than is currently the case.
We believe that decisions on the Gulf should remain fair, transparent and democratic and all decision-makers are accountable to the public.
Our spokesman Lee Short says generations of Kiwis have grown up on the shores of the Hauraki Gulf. “Boaties, yachties, and fisherman have enjoyed access to this important public treasure. Decisions over the future of the Hauraki Gulf and its management must remain democratic and they must be in the best interests of all Hauraki Gulf users – they cannot be made by a small group of people appointed by Wellington.”
In a parallel plan, Auckland Council is investigating including a number of our Regional Parks in the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park. Former Auckland Regional Council Chairman Mike Lee has described the Regional Parks proposal as a clandestine raid on the region’s crown jewels (NZ Herald 26/1/22). “I warn the people behind this scheme to keep their hands off our hard-won regional parks which belong to and are the heritage of all Aucklanders.”
Hauraki Gulf users from Thames and the Coromandel to the shores of Auckland will be extremely concerned to learn of these proposals.
We are calling on the Hauraki Gulf Forum members to vote down these proposals and leave control of the Gulf in the hands of elected representatives.
We encourage everyone who believes that decisions in respect of the Gulf should be fair, transparent and democratic to join us to protect everyone’s interest in the Gulf.