Report on Public Meeting
West Coast Marine Park
The information supplied in this report has come from those who attended the Muriwai meeting and the subsequent newsletter sent out by the Manukau Sports Fishing Club. Thank you to those who have contributed and the Manukau Sports Fishing Club for use of their newsletter.
Venue: Muriwai Golf Club, Muriwai Beach
Date: Monday 28th April 2003
Chair: Christine Rose, Rodney District Councillor and member of West Coast Working Group
Duration: 2.5 hours
Attendance: 150 people, mainly from Muriwai area.
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.
Marine Park Presentation
Jaci Fowler of the West Coast Working Group and Forest and Bird completed the presentation. No mention was made of a huge marine reserve, just a marine park with noted “Hot Spots”. These “Hot Spots” just happen to coincide with the places that are normally fished on the West Coast. There were a number of interjections during the presentation and everyone was duly asked to save their questions until after the presentation.
- The working group is going to base its support for the proposal on the response to the questionnaire in the draft proposal document. The majority of those present at the meeting were not aware of the existence of this questionnaire.
- The deadline for submissions to the proposal was originally 30th April 2003. The deadline was extended to 31st May but has been extended to 30th June 2003.
- Most people were very suspicious of the Working Group. Mayor of Waitakere City Council, Bob Harvey, co – sponsored the West Coast Working Group with David Cunliffe (MP). The group was formed with at least two other Forest and Bird members.
- The West coast is very much self-regulating due to its wild coastline and weather condition. So the question remains, why introduce more regulations?
- The entire meeting agreed there were enough laws to protect our coast already in place. It is the failure of government (MFish) and local body agencies (councils) not enforcing the regulations that is the issue.
- The Hauraki Gulf has been a Marine Park for many years and it still has ongoing problems with pillaging and the lack of enforcement.
- Publicity of the meeting had been very poor. Of the many clubs attending the meeting, many only heard of the meeting via the grapevine not through normal communication channels.
- Questions regarding consultation were raised. Many of those present were not aware of the proposal, until this meeting.
- The proposal seems to have been supported and financed by Forest and Bird. Concerns were raised with their involvement, as the general feeling was that Forest and Bird were more interested in locking up the country than keeping access open to recreational activities such as fishing.
- Who will be the main stakeholders in the Marine Park? There was no firm answer. ARC was named as one of the proposed stakeholders.
The Question and answer session was very heated and on numerous occasions the meeting almost went out of control.
A unanimous vote requested the submission deadline be extended and more public meetings be held.
A vote taken on the motion to scrap the entire process received almost unanimous support.
If those present at the meeting are an indication of the public support for this proposal, then there is no support.
David Cunliffe, MP, has assured us on 15th May 03 the six-month extension will apply to this proposal. The West Coast Working Group subsequently agreed to a six-month extension but notification has to be provided by 30th June if you are going to make a submission after the end of June. This is “claytons” extension and not acceptable.
If the six-month extension is to apply, all submissions sent in up to 30th September should be accepted. The Working Group are meeting on 9th June 03 and will decide whether to grant the extension that has been requested at every public meeting held to discuss this proposal.
P.S. A wise man once said, “There is very little difference between a fisherman and a conservationist, it is how they go about conserving that causes all the friction.”