Protesters sub­mit marine park pe­ti­tion

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By DIANA WOR­THY

Protesters seek­ing to prevent a marine re­serve on Wai­heke’s north­ern beaches are wait­ing to hear what Par­lia­ment has to say.

The Keep Our Beaches protest group have sub­mit­ted a pe­ti­tion to Auck­land MP Nikki Kaye so it can be pre­sented to the House.

The pe­ti­tion has been re­ferred to the Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment and En­vi­ron­ment Select Com­mit­tee, who will now choose how to han­dle and con­sider it.

The com­mit­tee may want the pe­ti­tion­ers to pro­vide fur­ther in­for­ma­tion about the spe­cific na­ture of the pe­ti­tion and may re­quest sub­mis­sions from gov­ern­ment de­part­ments and other in­ter­ested par­ties.

It may also choose re­quest oral ev­i­dence.

The com­mit­tee has sev­eral op­tions when re­port­ing on a pe­ti­tion to the House in­clud­ing a re­port with or with­out rec­om­men­da­tions.

If the com­mit­tee makes no rec­om­men­da­tions, no fur­ther ac­tion will be taken on the pe­ti­tion.

Ev­ery select com­mit­tee re­port that con­tains rec­om­men­da­tions is re­ferred to gov­ern­ment.

Gov­ern­ment must re­port on what ac­tion, if any, it has taken to im­ple­ment the rec­om­men­da­tions. That re­port must be made within 90 days of the select com­mit­tee’s re­port be­ing pre­sented.

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Ms Kaye says the num­ber of pe­ti­tion­ers is sig­nif­i­cant and rep­re­sents a lot of Wai­heke res­i­dents.

‘‘I re­alise there will be a di­ver­sity of views on this is­sue. As the MP for Wai­heke I have duty to present this pe­ti­tion to the House, and I present pe­ti­tions that I some­times sup­port and some­times don’t,’’ she says.

‘‘Per­son­ally while I sup­port greater marine pro­tec­tion on Wai­heke Is­land, I do not be­lieve marine re­serves on lo­cal beaches would be good for the is­land.

‘‘It would af­fect the qual­ity of life for many is­lan­ders.’’

The marine re­serve off north­ern beaches has been pro­posed by Friends of the Hau­raki Gulf, a group started by res­i­dent Alex Stone with about 200 sup­port­ers.

‘‘It’d be good for fish, good for the lo­cal kids who’d be gifted a won­der­ful un­der- wa­ter lab­o­ra­tory, and good for tourism – vis­i­tors could grab a snorkel and ad­mire big, happy fish up close, just like you can at Goat Is­land,’’ he says.

‘‘We are the big­gest sin­gle com­mu­nity liv­ing en­tirely sur­rounded by the Hau­raki Gulf, so we live in­side this park.

‘‘It be­hoves us to take the lead in en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion. It’s our front yard. We should look af­ter it.’’

Photo: GE­ORGE GARD­NER

Tourist at­trac­tion: Palm Beach is al­ready pop­u­lar and Save Our Beaches protesters say it and other north­ern beaches will be­come crowded if a cur­rent pro­posal for a marine park there goes through.

Photo: DIANA WOR­THY

Marine con­cerns: Auck­land Cen­tral MP Nikki Kaye, pic­tured above north­ern beach Oneroa Bay, says she ac­cepted the pe­ti­tion from Save Our Beaches at the group’s re­quest. She does not be­lieve a marine re­serve off north­ern beaches is a good idea.

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