MINUTES OF THE SIXTY-THIRD MEETING OF THE AUCKLAND CONSERVATION BOARD HELD ON THURSDAY 27 FEBRUARY 2003 AT THE NORTH SHORE CITY DEVONPORT AREA OFFICE COMMENCING AT 9.35 AM.
PRESENT: Paddy Stafford-Bush (Chairperson), Stephen Ching, Anne Fenn, Mel Galbraith, Laly Haddon, David Hill, Tony Holman, Margaret Kawharu, Alan La Roche, Marilyn Stephens, Catherine (Cath) Tizard; Denise Yates
IN ATTENDANCE: Rob McCallum (Auckland Conservator); Warwick Murray (Community Relations Manager); Rau Kapa (Kaupapa Atawhai Manager), Marie Alpe (Community Relations Officer Board Support). Annie Wheeler Community Relations Supervisor (Public Awareness) and Bill Trusewich (Auckland Community Relations Programme Manager) were present for Items 7.1 and 7.2.
VISITORS: David Chandler (NZCA), Alice Anderson (Waikato Conservation Board)
Rau Kapa offered a karakia.
As there was not a quorum it was agreed to continue with the meeting as members were known to be on their way. Apologies for lateness were recorded from Margaret Kawharu, Anne Fenn, Marilyn Stephens, Laly Haddon, Stephen Ching and Denise Yates.
RESOLVED that the apologies be accepted.
Paddy welcomed the visitors to the meeting.
4. REVIEW AND CONFIRMATION OF MINUTES
4.1 Minutes of the meeting of 12 December 2002
- Mangroves - Marie confirmed that there would be a report to the April meeting and commented that the Waikato Board had already received the presentation.
- Hauturu resource consent hearings – Paddy invited members to attend the hearing on Friday 7 March in support of David who was to present evidence for the Board. Action – Marie to advise members of the time.
RESOLVED that the minutes be confirmed as a true and correct record.
6.1 Auckland Conservator’s Report (Appendix 6.1 CBD 009/01)
Rob commented hat for much of the period it covered he had been away on leave.
Omaha Dotterel Project: Rob added that interpretation panels described in the report had recently been burnt down by vandals. In response to a question about the viability of the NZ dotterel population at Omaha and whether the prognosis was more encouraging than in the past, Rob agreed that without localised intensive effort by the community and in this case Jim and Laura McKinlay carrying out predator control and managing people impacts, it is likely the population would not have survived.
Providing support to the group and how to facilitate an ongoing commitment from the community was discussed further. Using the South Kaipara Landcare group as an example, Mel commented on the value of DOC/Board liaison and support to community groups.
RESOLVED that Mel Galbraith be appointed the Board’s liaison person for the Omaha Dotterel Group
Other matters discussed included:
- Maui’s Dolphin – Rob referred to the brochure on the recent set net ban decision. He noted that this species was the highest priority for the Conservancy in the 2003/4 year and some adjustments to funding of biodiversity projects in the draft business plan might be necessary to enable the Conservancy to meet its responsibilities. The process for re-naming the species, the respective roles of MinFish and the Department, surveillance programmes and public relations issues were talked about.
Denise made the point that if research proved that the animals did go into the Manukau Harbour it would be important to share this information with the local community to engage them and overcome cynicism. Paddy proposed an update on surveillance and community awareness issues as a standing item in the Conservator’s report so the Board could see how it might provide support. Bringup It was agreed that it would be useful for the Board to flag the issue with territorial authorities along the Auckland west coast and encourage their involvement noting that Rodney had already taken a proactive stance.
RESOLVED that letters be written to the Mayors of Rodney and Franklin District Council and Waitakere City Council as discussed.
Paddy adjourned discussion on Item 6.1 to welcome Stephen to his first meeting of the Board. Members, staff and visitors present introduced themselves.
RESOLVED that business already transacted be confirmed a quorum being present.
- Damage by roading contractors to mistletoe host plants at Miranda. Council had been well informed about the existence of the threatened plants but this had not translated to those doing the work on the ground. This problem, issues of accountability and the need for enforcement and appropriate sanctions by Councils were discussed. Rob provided an assurance that the Auckland Area Manager was following the matter up.
- Motuihe rabbit control operation – Rob reported that the outcome was promising but it was not yet known if they had been eradicated. Questions were asked about the impact on cat and rat populations and ongoing monitoring. Rob concluded the discussion by noting that the aim of the rabbit eradication project had been to clear the ground for the restoration project not predator control as rabbits were not a priority in this regard.
- Great Barrier Island Marine Reserve hui – Marilyn reported that the presentation had been excellent but had perhaps provided too much information. She talked about the association of her people with the Whangapoua Estuary/Rakitu area and that a significant concern was customary fishing rights. Marilyn added that she had advocated protection particularly of the deep water areas and that she had suggested to Ngati Rehua that they bring back a proposal. How to provide for cultural concerns and customary take was discussed as well the implications of the Marine Reserves Bill and the High Court decision regarding Ngatiwai and the Poor Knights Islands. Rob noted that at this stage the Department needed to learn of the values, acknowledging the customary take issue, and work to that. Alice talked about the Waikato Board’s experience with Ha Hei and Paddy agreed that a discussion between the two Boards would be very useful to share experiences and explore solutions. Action [Poor Knights High Court decision]
- Conservation board representation at events – this was raised specifically in regard to the Motuihe project launch as to whether the Board had been invited, and a general concern that Board representation had been overlooked at some events in the past. Points made by Rob were that the Conservancy did not necessarily know the Minister’s calendar, that some events such as the Motuihe one were organised externally and that Marie looked out for the Board’s interests. Alan reported that the Minister had expressed to him an interest in attending a Board meeting. Action. Paddy commented on the desirability of Board members being involved in events. She asked members to keep Marie informed if they heard of things happening.
- Walkways – Alan asked for clarification on the section of the Dome Walkway that had been closed for forestry operations. Action
- World Wetland Day – Margaret and Mel reported that they both took part in the event organised by South Kaipara Landcare at Lake Kereta.
- Four Wheel Drive Forum - it was noted that the Auckland Regional Council was conducting a survey and suggested that a copy of the questionnaire be obtained for the Board’s information. Action Clarification was sought on why Pouto and Bay of Plenty were referred to in the report.
RESOLVED that the Conservator’s Report be received.
Rob provided feedback on the Painted Apple Moth campaign noting that there was greater confidence that eradication might be achieved. Denise commented on the need for an examination of the way the campaign had been run and the apparent disregard of community health issues.
6.2 Chairperson’s Report
Kaikoura Island: A report was included in the agenda. Tony thanked DOC staff for their prompt responses to his requests for information and outlined the reasons why he thought public acquisition of this island was highly desirable. He talked also about the need for inter-agency co-operation acknowledging that the timeframe and costs were against this on this occasion.
Paddy asked for comment on the suggestion in the report that the Board advise the Department to work with the new owners to promote protection of landscape and conservation values of the island. This was generally supported and the suggestion made of including Auckland City Council re development of a package of incentives such as rates relief.
The issue of forward planning so as to not be “caught on the hop” was raised. Rob and Warwick outlined what was being done to develop an “acquisitions strategy” and said that the Department had been in informal discussions with the island’s owners for about 18 months. It was noted that the Board had not been aware of this and it was agreed that a closed session briefing on the strategy when it is complete would be useful. Bringup
RESOLVED that the report be received and the Conservator be asked to continue discussions with Auckland City Council and the new owners of Kaikoura Island with a view to improving the general environment on the island.
Motuihe Trust – a report was included in the agenda including a letter of support for the Trust’s Lottery Grants Board funding application. Alan explained the background. Anne and David expressed concerns about the content of the letter, considering its indication of support for the Trust itself as premature in view of the fact that the Board had not been consulted by the Department on the establishment of the Trust and therefore had insufficient information about the Trust and its restoration plans for the island. They also expressed disappointment with the Department for not consulting the Board about the formation and launch of a “new” Trust, in light of the Board’s history of involvement with this issue and support for the Department’s previous decisions on applications to form trusts for Motuihe. Questions raised included the process for preparation of such responses, how much information the Board should expect to receive, whether it had role to be actively in support of Trusts and funding applications. In response to the concerns raised, Warwick provided background on the development of a Memorandum of Understanding with the Motuihe Trust, noting that the Trust was to prepare a five year strategic plan and annual plans. He added that the Trust had sufficient support from the Department to apply for seeding funding.
David made the point that the Board had a role to support applications, and there were precedents for this but care should be taken to ensure these were soundly based or the Board’s reputation could be damaged. The discussion concluded by noting the Department should provide a briefing on the Motuihe restoration project to the next meeting of the Board. Action
RESOLVED that the letter to the NZ Lottery Grants Board on the Motuihe Trust be endorsed.
6.3 Reports from Members
Paddy noted Marilyn’s earlier report on the hui with Ngati Rehua on the GBI Marine Reserve proposal. There were no further reports.
7. MAJOR ITEMS
7.1 Community Involvement – Strategic Direction
A report had been circulated on community involvement in conservation management in Auckland as requested at the December meeting of the Board. Annie introduced herself and Bill and spoke to the report explaining the historical CMS policy context, the Conservancy’s long standing involvement with “supporter” groups and the recent impetus of the Conservation With Communities Strategy.
Rob tabled a brochure on the Conservation with Communities strategy and took the Board through this. He pointed out that the strategy represented a significant culture shift for the Department, though this was much less the case for Auckland. Warwick added that Annie’s paper on community partners such as Motutapu Restoration Trust and Supporters of Tiritiri was one component of the bigger picture that Rob had outlined. He commented that while the Conservancy had gathered experience on working in partnership with groups there were still some questions and these were set out in the “Where to from here” section of the report. He agreed that considered feedback from the Board would be very useful.
Issues raised by members:
- If the Board is the community, where does it fit in respect of the strategy;
- Is there a divergence in view on the Board’s role between the Board and the Department.
• Was the role of the Board as the liaison point between the Department and the community changed by the strategy.
- What were the implications for Nga Akiakitanga (Kaupapa Maori Strategic Policy Initiatives).
• The Board role to reality test.
- Relationships with local authorities managing conservation lands also needed to be considered as to overlaps and implications for the conservation estate.
- Need clear view of what conservation outcomes are wanted for Auckland as the basis for community involvement and the Board should participate in the determination of these.
Rob commented that the Board’s advisory role was unchanged by the Strategy as the Board remained the primary or over-arching community contact for the Department in terms of advice on issues and policy. In respect of the last bullet point he also commented that there was unlikely to be a major shift in priorities as community involvement was already a significant component of the Conservancy’s work.
Members also raised some specific matters such as what was being done for immigrant groups, support for a focus on informal education/awareness raising and Conservation Week.
Annie explained that an Auckland Implementation Plan was to be developed and that this would relate to conservation priorities. She suggested that further discussion by the Board would be most valuable if it fitted with the time frame for development of this plan, noting that the deadline for the first draft was September. Mel commented that it would also be useful to document the Auckland experience particularly from the perspective of community groups themselves, and that he would like to assist with this.
General support was expressed for Paddy’s suggestion that the Board convene a special session. It was agreed that the whole Board should be involved with a two-stage process of Board members only, then involving DOC staff. July/August was an option but that the Board also needed to be mindful of its promise to respond to the Motutapu Restoration Trust. Paddy undertook to set up a process. Annie expressed a strong interest in being involved in the Board’s process, if only to listen. Action
7.2 Marine Mammals and Ship Strike
Bill tabled a paper on the Shipstrike Workshop held on 28 February 2003 and noted the need for more research as well as public education and awareness raising within the shipping industry. He outlined possible mitigation measures and the problems associated with these, for example large container ships could not function unaided below certain speeds. He made the case for greater protection of marine biodiversity saying that implementation of Oceans Policy was crucial. Matters discussed were whether ship strike was increasing, whether there were any solutions, and a need for more information. It was agreed to keep the item on bring-up and the Department making a report to the Hauraki Gulf Forum was also supported. Bringup
RESOLVED that the report be received.
7.3 James Family Property at Te Kouma
A report was included in the agenda at David’s request. Alice provided an update in terms of Waikato Conservation Board activity and a visit by the Minister to the property. She added that a report commissioned by the Department was pending and expressed support for the appointment of a liaison person for the Waikato Board for this issue and cross-boundary issues generally. David commented that this was not necessary for Te Kouma as the minutes would provide updates.
RESOLVED that Alan La Roche be appointed the Board’s liaison person for the Waikato Conservation Board.
8. STATUTORY ACTIONS
8.1 Resource Consent Applications by the Department of Conservation
There were no new items.
8.2 Concession Schedules (Appendix 8.2)
A request was made for an update on the issues raised by the Board in relation to the MAREX concession at Kawau. Warwick reported that a DOC staff member had been on site, the public had not been inconvenienced and there were no concerns. Paddy suggested a follow-up letter from the Department to the concessionaire on a job well done if this proved to be warranted.
8.3 Triggered Concessions (Appendix 8.3)
This was an application by the NZ School of Outdoor Studies for North Head. Process matters were discussed in relation to the anticipated public notification of the application and whether the Board would make a submission or exercise its right to provide advice. It was noted that the Department was to have further discussions with the applicant. Bringup
8.4 Statutory Actions – Non Concession
Discussion is recorded under Item 9.
9. SUBCOMMITTEE REPORTS
There were no matters to report for the Maori Members and CMS Sub-committees.
RESOLVED that the response on the Stony Batter Historic Reserve Draft Visitor Plan be endorsed.
A report setting out the recommendations of the Sub-committee on the Portage Marginal Strip Exchange following a site visit 26 February 2003, and on the inclusion of private land on Waiheke Island [Fenwick] into the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park was tabled.
Portage Marginal Strip Exchange:
- Consultation with the Board, or lack of, on the reduction of the marginal strip.
- The value of the exchange as one more step towards a walkway along the Whau River.
- Should a reduction of 5 to 8 metres have been allowed, in other words is there usable space for public access.
- Effects of the reclamation, whether removal was practicable and the need for suitable mitigation measures. It was noted that advice was needed on Auckland Regional Council’s policy on retrospective approval of reclamation, and on leachate control.
- The site had significant historic values.
Paddy summed up the Board’s view as being support for the exchange in principle subject to not less than 8 metre wide usable strip/public access being achieved, the issue of the reclamation being satisfactorily resolved including conditions to achieve practical public access and restoration work.
RESOLVED that advice be provided to the Conservator on the exchange as discussed.
Inclusion of Private Land in the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park:
The matter of inclusion of the Fenwick property at Waiheke had been referred to the Sub-committee by the previous meeting of the Board for a recommendation following the receipt of further information from the Department. Paddy advised that information had been received and while there was agreement in principle, a policy issue remained of whether the Minister should be advised to exclude an area containing pasture and buildings. She advised that she had endeavoured to contact Rob Fenwick as to why the covenant included this area but he was not available.
The policy issue was discussed and the points made in the Department’s report noted. David noted that he disagreed with the report and reiterated his view that it was not appropriate for areas of production activity for private benefit to be included in the Park, and as this was the first case careful consideration of such issues was needed. Warwick and Rob commented on the landowner’s objective of protecting the landscape values of the property in particular from quarrying. Rob suggested that where land is covenanted under the Reserves Act and an application made for inclusion in the Park, there was no need for separate consideration under the HGMPAct because the tests were automatically met. David rejected this view noting that if all that was needed was for the land to be covenanted, the Act would have stated as such and been silent on the requirement for consultation with the Board and the Hauraki Gulf Forum.
RESOLVED that the Board support the inclusion of the Fenwick property at Te Matuku Bay, Waiheke Island in the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park.
The meeting adjourned for lunch at 2pm and reconvened at the Department of Conservation Area Office on North Head at 3pm. Margaret Kawharu, Steven Ching, Tony Holman and Rob McCallum were not present.
Tiritiri Matangi Marine Reserve proposal. A report on the role of conservation boards with respect to marine reserve applications was included in the agenda. Cath led discussion noting the points in the report about making a submission, and the three options set out in the proposal brochure. There was an in principle acceptance of a marine reserve at the site, so issues were those of size and boundaries. Points for the Sub-committee to develop a submission around were:
- Strong support for a reserve around Tiritiri Matangi to achieve a continuum of protected status from land to sea.
- Go for something small that would be achievable.
- Recreational fishing values of Shag and Shearer Rocks were significant and opposition to the inclusion of these in a reserve could be substantial.
- Issue of concern to some was whether creation of a marine reserve around Tiritiri would result in increased visitation and impacts.
- Close relationship between the sea and bird life – need to protect this and bird breeding areas on rocks which leant weight to Option 1.
- This was an instance where the Board needed to be pragmatic and the most winnable option was likely to be a variant of option 3. An additional comment made in respect of this point was to run with Area A in Map 3 but consider an extension to include the Rocks to the east for seabirds.
- An option might be to protect bird habitat by a land reserve or some other means that still allowed recreational fishing.
- Strong opposition to the bigger reserve options from the Whangaparoa community would likely frustrate a reserve so go for an option that was winnable and would be respected. Shakespeare Point should be considered as a separate application.
- Community ownership of any reserve was crucial and this would not be achieved with the option 1 at this stage even though this was the best for protection and conservation.
- Support for marine reserves around that coastline will grow with increasing awareness of their value as a nursery for fish stocks.
It was noted that the majority view was support for starting small. Matters such as marine reserve policy generally, the 10% target, the need for a more planned approach to creating marine reserves rather than ad hoc applications and whether marine reserves were discussed further. Warwick commented on the consultation process the Department proposed to undertake on marine protection. The process for completion of a submission was discussed and it was agreed that this should be delegated to the Sub-committee with a draft circulated to all Board members. Action [submission closing date 28 March 2003]
RESOLVED the report be received and finalisation of a submission on the Tiritiri Matangi Marine Reserve proposal be delegated to the Marine Sub-committee.
David Chandler commented that he was pleased to see the work on the Dome Walkway. He asked that the NZCA Chair’s memo be tabled at this point as it contained information relating to Walkways. He advised also that there was a substantial report on the Walkways in the agenda of the last meeting of the NZCA and that the Board may find this of interest. Action [obtain a copy]. He noted the recommendations of that report in relation to proposed revision of the NZ Walkways Commission booklet on Walkways and the Walkways Coordinating Group, adding that he had been appointed the Authority’s representative on this group which was to meet in March. He added that the ministerial advisory group set up to look at activities in rural areas is likely to look at walkways and commented on the possibility of these being subsumed into general access policy for rural areas.
RESOLVED that the verbal report and the NZCA Chair’s memorandum be received.
10. MINUTES - NEW ZEALAND CONSERVATION AUTHORITY AND NEIGHBOURING CONSERVATION BOARDS
Minutes of the NZCA meeting of 13 December 2003 were included in the agenda. Marie expressed a concern that without someone having a liaison role for each of the neighbouring boards, acknowledging that Alan had picked up this for Waikato, cross-boundary issues could be overlooked. It was agreed to go back to the practice of binding the Northland and Waikato minutes into the agenda. Action
A schedule of inwards and outwards correspondence was included in the agenda as Appendix 11.
11.1 Wallaby Eradication, Kawau Island (Appendix 11.1)
Forest and Bird correspondence had been circulated separately to members. The NZ Herald article relating to this issue was tabled for information. Warwick provided further information on the work by the Pohutukawa Trust to gain community support, the Department’s support for the Trust and progress with gaining approval to repatriate wallaby to Australia. He explained that the trapping permits which had been issued did not confer any rights to keep wallaby on the island. Paddy reported that she had talked with Ray Weaver of the Pohutukawa Trust and outlined his concerns. The point was made on the need for better communication between the Department, ARC and Forest and Bird on the issue.
11.2 Tawharanui Marine Reserve Proposal (Appendix 11.2)
It was noted that there was no process for re-classification of a marine park so this was in effect a new application by Auckland Regional Council. Concern was expressed that as there were a number of active marine reserve applications at the moment, promotion of this proposal at this time was ill advised and had the potential to exacerbate opposition to marine reserves. While a marine reserve at Tauwharanui was desirable in the long term, there seemed little justification for progressing in the short term. Roundtable discussion confirmed that this was the general view.
RESOLVED that the Chair be asked to write to the Auckland Regional Council as discussed.
12. OTHER BUSINESS
12.1 Loder Cup Nominations
Information on the nomination process was included in the agenda as Appendix 12.1. Denise and Alan agreed to look at preparing a nomination for the Bethells Coast Care Group for consideration at the next meeting.
12.2 Hauturu/Mokohinau Islands Inspection in March
Marie confirmed the dates for this as 18,19,20 March.
13. DATE AND VENUE FOR THE NEXT ORDINARY MEETING
The tentative date of 24 April 2003 was in the Easter/Anzac Day week. Date options were discussed and Wednesday 14 May 2003 agreed as the date for the next ordinary meeting. Extending this over two days with a field trip in the Awhitu/Waiuku area was discussed but a number of members indicated that they were only available for the day.
RESOLVED that the public be excluded from Agenda Item 9 Marine Sub-committee – Endorsement of Marine Reserves Bill Submission for reasons as follows:
General subject of each matter to be considered Reason for passing this resolution Ground(s) under Section 48 (1) for the passing of this resolution
Select Committee Submission – Marine Reserves Bill
A submission has been made to the Local Government and Environment Select Committee on the above bill. The submission requires endorsement at a full meeting of the Board. Submissions to Select Committees are confidential until heard by the Select Committee in question. A hearing of submissions has not yet been held. For the Board to consider the submission in open session is contrary to constitution conventions.
Section 48 (1)(a)(ii)
Section 9(f) Official Information Act 1982
RESOLVED that Rob McCallum, Warwick Murray, Rau Kapa, Marie Alpe, Alice Anderson and David Chandler remain in the meeting as they have knowledge of the matter to be discussed, or are required to provide administrative support.
The meeting closed at 4.05pm.
Minutes confirmed as amended at meeting of 14 May 2003
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