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Report on Public Meeting West Coast Marine Park

Venue: Bethells Surf Club, Waitakere City
Date: Sunday 4 May 2003
Chair: Sue Osborne, Bethells resident
Duration: 2.5 hours
Attendance: 84 people

The document Greater Marine Protection for Auckland’s Wild West Coast draft proposal for public discussion document was presented as a discussion paper and open to negotiation. It was stressed that nothing had been decided on and the West Coast Working Group were open to suggestions.

Ken Catt provided a brief history of the working group. Jaci Fowler was employed by Forest and Bird to conduct research, deliver a discussion document and a questionnaire for feedback.

Marine Park Presentation
Jaci went through the PowerPoint presentation and answered questions at the end of the session.

It was stressed on many occasions that the Working Group were only discussing a Marine Park as opposed to a marine reserve.

The overall feeling from the meeting was definitely against the proposal from Forest and Bird and the West Coast Working Group.

There is some confusion regarding what they are proposing, as there are two documents in circulation. One document, a brochure titled “Greater Marine Protection for Auckland’s Wild West Coast draft proposal for public discussion document” and the other is a discussion document of 48 pages. Limited numbers of both documents were distributed to the public. 3000 brochures were produced and 80 discussion documents circulated. 15,000 leaflets were distributed to coastal residents, by Forest and Bird last year.

A classic comment from the floor, which seemed to sum up the feelings of most present, regarding the localised shellfish depletion on the west coast –

“ I know the Ministry of Fisheries (MFish) does have information in Asian writing (language). We have got some in the club, sent out by them (MFish). I just think we should have more pressure on them (MFish) to have the Honorary Fisheries Officers to get their act together. We want to police it and we had to work hard to get the information from them (MFish). There’s a lot of information out there for everybody about what the legal limits are, but as a community we just need to work on that. We don’t need a Marine Park to do it, if we have more pressure on the Ministry of Fisheries.”

Assurances were given regarding the security of submissions sent to Forest & Bird, there was suspicion that contrary views would not be recorded. The Working Group reluctantly agreed to accept electronic submissions on disc after a request from option4.

Questions were raised regarding the consultation process. Request for six-month extension to submission period was put to the West Coast Working Group. They will consider the request and advise.

A vote was requested to gauge opposition/ support for proposal of a Marine Park.
88% of people present voted against the Marine Park proposal.

Follow Up

On Wednesday 14th May 2003 we were advised by Ken Catt the submission period had been extended by one month to 30 June 2003. This is despite an overwhelming vote at the public meeting at Waitakere City Council chambers (Monday 12th May 03) to extend the deadline for six months. David Cunliffe, MP, has assured us on 15th May 03 the six-month extension will apply to this proposal.

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