Saturday, July 13, 2024

Manukau forum welcomes harbour stand

Moves to confirm a clear vision for the future of the Manukau Harbour have been welcomed by Manukau Harbour Forum chair, Jon Turner.

Auckland Council’s Planning, Environment and Parks Committee has adopted a high-level strategic direction to achieve better environmental outcomes for the harbour.

Mr Turner says the decision commits Council to a work programme aimed at achieving better environmental outcomes and sets out a vision the council group should aspire to.

“A framework has been used as a basis for identifying what we want to achieve and what objectives and actions are a priority,” he says.

The first stage of a four-stage approach sets out a Treaty of Waitangi context, harbour values, and environmental outcome statements.

Mr Turner says the harbour’s current state will be assessed, while identifying ways to reduce pressures on the environment.

“Completing the second stage of the plan will require Council to work with mana whenua, given the significance of the harbour, and staff believe it would be beneficial for Council leaders and mana whenua to meet to track progress,” he said.

“Until now we have lacked a clear view of what we are seeking to achieve. We need to acknowledge the input in shaping the strategy from mana whenua and harbour users.

“One thing is clear, everyone wants to safeguard a harbour that is critical to the health of our communities, city and environment.”

The Planning, Environment and Parks Committee has statutory obligations related to Auckland’s marine areas.

Representatives from the nine local boards that border the harbour come together to form the Manukau Harbour Forum. They consider activities that they can undertake locally that further the council’s aspirations.

Parks committee deputy chair, Angela Dalton says both the Manurewa and Papakura boards that form her ward, sit on the harbour.

“The Manukau Harbour and all that impacts it are important to iwi/hapū with a connection to the harbour. Council is committed to engaging mana whenua on issues related to their taonga – and Manukau Harbour is without doubt a significant taonga,” she says.

“Iwi/hapū support improved environmental outcomes and Council staff have sought to address their concerns through the strategic direction, work programme and the proposal to meet.

“Few would argue the harbour is not degraded. Mana whenua expect it to be restored. Some good work has been done in places to improve the harbour, but more needs to be done to prevent future problems as well as addressing previous impacts. That call should be shared by us all so those to come experience the harbour in a better state.”

Read the 2021 Manukau Harbour catchment State of the Environment report.

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