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Nugget Point May 2005

DOC says Guardians Have Not Delayed Application

By Joseph Beaumont


This article was originally published in the Southland Times 27 May 2005

The Department of Conservation's delay in applying for its proposed marine reserve at Nugget Point had nothing to do with a recent idea for a guardians-style coastal management group, Otago conservator Jeff Connell said yesterday.

Confirming he would miss his self-imposed end-of-May deadline, Mr Connell said the delay had come about for several reasons.

"As well as preparing for the application, we have been working on a couple of (time-consuming) Official Information Act requests," he said.

"We have also been considering all the information we have received, as well as continuing to listen to the key parties interested in the marine reserve proposal."

DOC had not delayed its application because of the alternative guardians group proposal, he said.

"While I am heartened to see members of the local community taking an interest in the protection of marine environments, the idea is not yet fully formed."

The guardians group idea, floated a month ago, had yet to confirm its membership as well as its goals and timelines.

"A properly constructed and fully representative group that is willing to discuss marine reserves as well as other forms of marine protection for the coast as a whole could have a constructive role to play further down the track, no matter what happens at Nugget Point," Mr Connell said.

He was not disappointed about missing his deadline, given it was self-imposed.

"I'm pleased we're taking the time to try and listen to what everyone has to say."

While Mr Connell could not confirm a new date for completing the Nugget Point reserve application, he said he expected it would be "very soon".

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