Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Hauraki Gulf Forum vote to update Act

Hauraki Gulf Forum members have voted to adopt an advocacy position to update and strengthen the Marine Park Act.

The key updates the Forum will be seeking are:

  • introduction of a legislated statutory vision and strategy for the Hauraki Gulf, which would become a key consideration in relevant decision-making processes and planning by the Crown and councils, and
  • a refresh of the Forum to reflect our commitment to a Treaty partnership and enable us to be a more effective advocacy body.

Over the past nine months the Hauraki Gulf Forum has undertaken an internal review on whether the 22-year-old Hauraki Gulf Marine Park Act, and the Marine Park and Forum it created, remain fit for purpose.

The Forum looked at how it could be a better advocate for the Gulf and help turnaround its decline.

The need to update the Act is not new – it has been discussed for the best part of a decade, including through three independent reviews and reports over the past seven years.

Forum Co-Chairs will now discuss the new advocacy position with Ministers.

Whether any changes go ahead sits first with the government, and ultimately with parliament, the Forum said in a statement. Any legislative change would require a consultation process, it said.

“There have been many raupō ringaringa who have contributed towards the kaitiakitanga of Te Moananui-ō-Toi, Tīkapa Moana and this new advocacy position is a great opportunity,” says Forum Co-Chair Tangata Whenua, Nicola MacDonald.

“We also know that Kiwis overwhelmingly support this. Our recent public poll showed huge support for doing more to protect and restore the Gulf, with massive numbers also in favour of the use of indigenous practices like rāhui.

“Everyone knows that the Gulf is struggling, and they want to see action to restore it. We are determined to play our part in making that positive change.”

“It is our leadership responsibility to advocate for the Hauraki Gulf,” says Forum Co-Chair, Pippa Coom.

“If our advocacy proposal is adopted by the government, the Forum would continue to be the lead advocate for the Hauraki Gulf.

“There would be no impact on the ownership of private or public land such as Auckland’s Regional Parks, nor will it restrict access to the Hauraki Gulf in any way.

“I look forward to taking our proposal to Ministers as I am convinced that we will see far greater action and transformational change by raising the status of the Hauraki Gulf for decision-makers and through revitalisation of the Forum under a Treaty partnership model.”

The Hauraki Gulf / Tīkapa Moana / Te Moananui-ā-Toi is currently in a degraded state, suffering from impacts from activities on land and at sea. Six State of the Gulf reports over the last 20 years have documented the ongoing decline of the health of the Gulf, with species like crayfish now considered functionally extinct.

The Hauraki Gulf Forum is the lead advocate for restoring the life-sustaining capacity of the Gulf, with members representing Ministers, councils and tangata whenua.

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