Submission on the Hauraki Gulf / Tīkapa Moana Marine Protection Bill

October 28, 2023
Gulf Users' Group

We have put together a simple submission on the Hauraki Gulf / Tīkapa Moana Marine Protection Bill, which you are welcome to use as a template for your own.

Remember the final day for submissions is Wednesday 1 November.

Submissions must be lodged using this form on the New Zealand Parliament website. The form will ask you:

  • If you are submitting as an individual or on behalf of an organisation
  • If you would like to make an oral submission to the committee
  • Your name and email address
  • Your submission. You can either upload a prepared document, or you can share your views using the comments and/or recommendations boxes provided. Using the boxes provided is a quick and easy way to share your views with the committee.

Good luck!


Thank you for the opportunity to provide input on the Hauraki Gulf / Tīkapa Moana Marine Protection Bill. I am in full support of the Bill's core intent, which aims to address the ongoing environmental degradation of the Hauraki Gulf, a pressing issue that demands our immediate attention.

The Bill acknowledges that the Gulf's deterioration is primarily attributable to human activities. These activities include the pressures from fishing and other seafood harvesting, destructive fishing practices, pollution, and sedimentation run-off from land-based operations. Together, these factors have substantially contributed to the depletion of biodiversity within the Gulf.

Scientific consensus underscores the effectiveness of establishing a network of marine protected areas as a means to reverse this decline. Such areas serve the crucial purpose of affording protection against adverse external activities, particularly fishing, and enable the preservation or restoration of biological diversity within habitats and ecosystems, restoring them to a healthy, functioning state.

Marine reserves, exemplified by their strict no-take regulations, have gained recognition for their role in safeguarding biodiversity. They allow the natural environment to flourish without human interference. Therefore, I wholeheartedly support the proposal to extend Te Whanganui-A-Hei (Cathedral Cove) and Cape Rodney-Okakari Point (Goat Island) Marine Reserves, as outlined in the Bill.

However, I cannot support the proposed introduction of a new designation known as 'high protection areas.' These areas deviate from the principles of marine reserves by permitting the continued harvesting and utilisation of marine resources. Additionally, the provisions for protection within these areas appear notably weak. This combination ultimately allows the continued exploitation of these areas, and given that they constitute a large part of the Bill, they cast doubt on the credibility of the revitalisation objective.

One significant concern is that the Bill stipulates restrictions are to be imposed only to the minimum extent necessary to align with the biodiversity objectives, and those objectives are to be determined by the very entities conducting the activities subject to restrictions. This approach is evidently inadequate. Moreover, the Bill lacks a monitoring mechanism, which means it falls short of providing the essential data that decision-makers and the public need to assess the provisions against the legislation's stated objective.

The Bill places allowance for iwi, hapū, and whānau practices ahead of the restoration of the Gulf. With approximately 80% of the Gulf remaining without restrictions, there is ample space for all New Zealanders to practice their customs. The right to practice customs is indeed an important consideration, as is the duty for all to contribute to environmental protection for the benefit of future generations. The Bill's approach of granting exemptions and exclusive rights contradicts the concept of collective responsibility and contravenes the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi, which promises 'ngā tikanga katoa rite tahi' - equal rights for all.

In light of these concerns, I advocate for the following actions:

  • Reclassifying the 'high protection areas' as no-take marine reserves.
  • Expanding consultation on biodiversity objectives to encompass the whole community.
  • Establishing a monitoring regime to track progress towards the Bill's purpose and objectives.

I believe these amendments are necessary to ensure the Bill effectively addresses the Gulf's environmental challenges and truly embodies the principles of sustainability and collective responsibility.

Thank you.

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