Surf group threat­ens court ac­tion


A fo­cus group meet­ing will be held to­mor­row for au­thor­i­ties to in­form key stake­hold­ers of the plans for works at the Manga­maunu surf break.

The New Zealand Trans­port Agency and Ki­wiRail will meet rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Ru­nanga, re­gional and district coun­cil, coastal marine guardians, surf pro­tec­tion so­ci­ety and board rid­ers as­so­ci­a­tion where they plan to ‘‘in­form the de­sign, lo­ca­tion and foot­print of works’’.

The meet­ing is part of an at­tempt to keep stake­hold­ers in­volved in the process, which has thus far drawn crit­i­cism for lack­ing any pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion.

NZTA earth­quake re­cov­ery man­ager Tim Crow and Ki­wiRail earth­quake re­cov­ery man­ager Wal­ter Rush­brook said in the let­ter sent to stake­hold­ers that they were ‘‘acutely aware of the sen­si­tive and sig­nif­i­cant na­ture of this area’’.

‘‘We con­sider that the in­put of stake­hold­ers is a crit­i­cal step in work­ing to­wards bal­anced de­sign de­ci­sions at this site.’’

How­ever An­nie Ber­ming­ham of the Surf­break Pro­tec­tion So­ci­ety said the fo­cus group meet­ing fell well short of what the com­mu­nity de­served.

‘‘A two-and-a-half hour meet­ing on May 10 fol­lowed by a pub­lic meet­ing in June to ‘‘tell’’ peo­ple what NCTIR is do­ing is ab­so­lutely no re­place­ment for an RMA process and is com­pletely un­ac­cept­able when an iconic and in­ter­na­tion­ally re­garded surf­break and bay is at risk.

‘‘SPS be­lieves pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion and thor­ough as­sess­ments through the RMA are re­quired as an ab­so­lute base­line for this na­tion­ally sig­nif­i­cant surf­break and to do any­thing other than this is reck­less.’’

A No­tice of In­ten­tion to chal­lenge the con­sents for the works, which were ap­proved with­out the need for pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion, has been sent to both coun­cils, NZTA and Ki­wiRail, out­lin­ing the so­ci­ety’s in­ten­tion to chal- lenge the con­sents’ va­lid­ity.

Ber­ming­ham said she was dis­ap­pointed with trans­port min­is­ter Phil Twyford for ac­cept­ing the works were con­sis­tent with earth­quake restora­tion works af­ter NZTA as­sured him the use of pow­ers was con­sis­tent with the spe­cial earth­quake pow­ers.

‘‘The SPS is clear about what is planned and as long as there is a push to build a hard struc­ture and sea wall in the bay through the emer­gency leg­is­la­tion, this will end up in court.’’


An aerial view of the work on the Main North Line at Manga­maunu, north of Kaiko¯ura.

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