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Source: Auckland Council

Waitematā Local Board has passed a notice of motion that supports the Hauraki Gulf Forum in its goal to restore 1000m2 of shellfish beds and protect 30 per cent of the Hauraki Gulf.

This follows a significant decision by the Court of Appeal in November 2019 which ruled that regional councils can control fishing to protect biodiversity, using the Resource Management Act.

Waitematā Local Board member Alexandra Bonham, who put forward the notice of motion, says the local board is following the lead of the Hauraki Gulf Forum which has a co-governance model and there has been collaboration across the council, mana whenua and government agencies.

“At a local board level, we have talked with members of the Hauraki Gulf Forum, technical staff, environmental experts and mana whenua to build support and ensure we are getting it right.

“We are not reinventing the wheel but responding to the promise of the Sea Change Plan. The local board wants to play its part. Protecting the ocean is partly about what we do in the ocean and what we allow to flow into it.

“If we can change the way that we do our construction projects, farm, and industry so as to be prevent run off and sediment getting into streams and stormwater pipes that end up in the gulf then we can have an enormous positive effect.

“The SuperCity structure allows us to take a holistic view in creating a marine park and improving the unitary plan to protect water from what happens on land.”

Hauraki Gulf Forum co-chair and Waitematā and Gulf Councillor Pippa Coom says the science shows at least 30 per cent of the Hauraki Gulf urgently needs protecting and that this can be achieved using a variety of mechanisms including indigenous and regulatory tools.

“The key point from the State of our Gulf 2020 report is we need much more protection, and we need it fast,” says Councillor Coom.

Member Bonham says her notice of motion is timely because the recently released report indicates how progress in restoring biodiversity in the Hauraki Gulf has stalled, many fish stocks are in decline and crayfish are functionally extinct.

“During the COVID-19 lockdown, it was amazing to see how nature is able to restore itself, and if we look to examples like Goat Island, we know what can be possible.

“There are terrific opportunities to restore biodiversity, and create more opportunities for people, in Auckland, New Zealand and beyond to connect to the sea and its wonders. This is a positive vision for the Gulf that we can all support.”

Read Member Bonham’s notice of motion to support biodiversity in the Hauraki Gulf here