Protected Areas Plan
After extensive discussion
and feedback option4 has rejected the Marine
Protected Areas Policy Statement and Implementation Plan developed
by the Department of Conservation (DoC) and the Ministry of Fisheries
(MFish). The Plan does nothing to save our sea from continued
over fishing and degradation through poor land management practices.
This Plan, originating
from a directive of Cabinet, is not about consultation but all
about fast-tracking marine reserves for political gain. It is
therefore undemocratic and unacceptable. We believe that an Oceans
Policy with proper participation and representation while addressing
all our outstanding concerns (amounting to about 100 issues) must
take preference before talking about marine protection, let alone
The complete lack of intent
to engage with those of us who fish for food and who stand to
sacrifice the most, while developing this Plan, speaks volumes.
We will not accept becoming minor stakeholders amongst a majority
of stacked votes. The suggestion that the public has the resources
and expertise to participate in up to 18 regional forums is beyond
option4 have learnt much
about DoC's strategy in the past two years and MFish over many
years. We have gained considerable support as we have strived
to provide you with timely information, opportunities to have
a say and well thought out submissions to ponder. We are clear
and outspoken in the direction we must take to protect fish and
other marine life. A growing number of tangata whenua are realising
that this Government has no intention of fulfilling its promises
in protecting our interests and those of future generations either.
Truth – or Lack of It
We have serious reservations
about sitting around a table with DoC, a Government department
that has repeatedly shown contempt for the public and the truth.
Our experience has been that any consultation has always ended
in a one-way street with no compromises or even being listened
to. We do not accept DoC as a worthy partner.
An example of DoC's attitude
can be seen in an analysis report of the public awareness campaign
conducted during the Te Paepae Aotea (Volkner Rocks) marine reserve
application process. The report states that around 3000 submissions
were received with 2600 (87%) of those opposed to the application.
" Of the opposing submissions 600 (23%) were received by email
through the efforts of option4..Amongst this group of 'partially
informed' respondents, there is a strong short-term view and personal
focus (losing our rights to fish now) without any apparent heed
to sustainability issues and long-term ramifications of 'business
as usual'. "
If DoC and MFish were truly
concerned about the long-term ramifications they would have made
more effort to consider a coordinated, integrated approach to
marine protection. We need to change people's behaviour and attitude
towards our marine environment, the outcome of this alternative
strategy would see more fish swimming in better quality water.
The ultimate goal!
This same report goes onto
to advise DoC "these groups, using the Internet and making
it easy for members and supporters to 'get involved', wield a
great deal of power to rally what is often the 'vocal minority'
to oppose a particular effort. The challenge is to engage busy
people (the 'silent majority') in a busy world where there are
so many 'important' issues to learn about and 'cast a vote' on."
It is no wonder the public
hold DoC in such contempt if this is the way they consider the
submissions from people who have taken the time to participate
in their process. Not withstanding the fact that DoC and MFish
issued this Plan in November expecting submissions by January.
As DoC and MFish try to
avoid confrontation by implementing this Plan the losers will
be our country and our children. With such scant regard given
to marine protection tools other than marine reserves this initiative
is not likely to gain much support from tangata whenua and the
public, particularly when the truth is revealed.
option4 will be endeavouring
to provide you with the marine protection policies of all the
main parties as we lead up to a possible early election. We have
had enough of this politically driven madness conveniently called
"marine protection". We owe it to our children that permanent
closure and the consequent loss of opportunity and aspirations
is pursued in a most careful way.
Please go to www.option4.co.nz
and register your support for our continued involvement in
marine protection issues.