Great Barrier Island Marine Reserve Proposal
9 September 2003
Department of Conservation
PO Box 10-420
59 Boulcott Street
Re: Great Barrier Island marine reserve proposal
It is with a sense of desperation that option4 write this letter of formal complaint regarding the process surrounding the proposal for a marine reserve at Great Barrier Island.
option4 are a group of people defending the publics right to go fishing for food. We are concerned about the approach to public consultation taken by your department. option4 are determined to see adequate consultation and good process employed to advise the public on any marine reserve proposal.
Naively we have endeavoured to point out to the Auckland Conservancy the error of their ways. Despite what many describe as an enormous effort on our part, to meet, discuss and subsequently “convince” your officials of the need for more effort and promotion of the process, and offering to work as constructively as possible to give effect to a series of meaningful public meetings in Auckland, we now find to our dismay and disappointment that this has been in vain.
Our concerns include the following –
No public meetings in Auckland to discuss the proposal with DoC.
Two ‘Drop In’ meetings organised by DoC staff held during school holidays with early start times and inadequate access to venue. Consequence, total attendance of 47 people.
Inadequate advertising and promotion of the proposal.
Lack of research to support the claims made in the proposal document
Flawed questionnaire slanted towards an outcome which does not allow for a fair and reasonable response to the critical issues surrounding this proposal
Misrepresentation of the facts in the media and public forums by DoC staff and the Auckland Conservator
On day 86 of a 90-day consultation process we are advised by email that the deadline for submissions has been extended to 31st July.
As things stand we believe any investigation focussed on adequacy and effectiveness of process to consult with the public will find your department wanting. Two public meetings organised by your department with an advertising budget of $260 does not constitute adequate consultation in our opinion.
We would appreciate your assistance in obtaining the following -
An undertaking from the Department to conduct well run and advertised public meetings on all future marine reserve proposals
Conservation Management Strategies for all the conservancies nationwide
A copy of the budget for all current marine reserve proposals including advertising and research costs
All research material pertaining to each proposal
A date for the release of the analysis of submissions to the Great Barrier Island proposal
An assurance that option4 will be supplied a copy of the analysis of submissions when it becomes available.
An assurance that the recognised representatives of the public who go fishing for food are included in initial consultation processes for all marine protection initiatives. Those groups are option4, NZ Recreational Fishing Council and NZ Big Game Fishing Council.
option4 will be conducting its own analysis of submissions from the public. We will be interested in the results when compared to the analysis supplied by your department.
Our concerns are with the poor process, the lack of public consultation and a coordinated approach to marine protection. Without the meaningful involvement of tangata whenua, the public and commercial interests the success of any marine protection plan will fail. Where do we go from here to achieve what we all want, greater protection for the marine environment?
The continued reliance on inadequate consultation practices will inevitably lead to total dissatisfaction and complete disregard for any DoC initiatives in the future. This is not helpful in achieving the common goal of a healthy marine environment for our future generations.
Your immediate attention to this complaint is warranted in our opinion. Your timely response and advice would be appreciated.
Cc. Minister of Conservation, Hon Chris Carter
NZ Conservation Authority
Auckland Conservation Board
Auckland Conservancy DoC
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