The Maori View
Tuesday, April 17, 2012 at 2:17PM
Bill Barclay

The Ngaati Whaununga Values Assesment by Nathan Kennedy - Environment Officer should be read alongside of the Dunbar-Smith/Reynolds Report. It pulls no punches, and provides a perspective that needs equal billing, though whether it will get the attention it deserves is a moot point.

Getting beyond the essential Tikanga, the Assessment appears to favour Sugar Loaf if it has to stay in the Coromandel area, but otherwise it definately favours a Koopu, or interestingly, a Stevenson's Quarry solution over all others - the latter was eliminated at the outset on the recommendation of the KTB Report prepared by Mr Baldwin, and on whose report early decisions were taken. Interesting because it highlights the purely selfish 'District interest' basis for eliminating the site in the first instance.

In some ways this throws a cat amongst the pigeons, and may give rise to further investigations in the light of the fact that the site has "no other fatal flaws". Mr Kennedy otherwise favours Kopu and raises serious doubts as to the efficacy of the dredging and toxicity argument. 

From Mr Kennedy's Report P 67: (PDF available on the TCDC website Council Agenda page) 


Ngaati Whanaunga favours locating the proposed wharf facilities at Koopuu, and transporting mussels by barge from existing and new mussel farms. While the sailing time from aquaculture areas is reportedly a barrier from the industries perspective it is noted that the use of a barge, with appropriate management, need not unduly interrupt vessels servicing the farms, with barge loading taking place at sea. Furthermore, those areas nearer Kaiaua for which applications are currently in stream are closer to Koopuu than existing farms.

Acknowledging the presence of contaminants within the CMA near Koopuu, we would still like to see additional investigation of this option. We are interested to hear the extent to which contaminants are predicted to disperse over time and the impacts of the current aggregate barge operations and associated maintenance in terms of disruptions of contaminants. The point being that potential contamination resulting from dredging a channel to Koopuu should not be assessed against a contamination neutral base line.

Notwithstanding the above-noted reservations, that Ngaati Whanaunga would indicate support for awharf at Koopuu given the potential for dredging related contamination is an indication of the perceived positives associated with relocating a substantial component of the aquaculture industry closer to main centres. Furthermore, some parties consulted by Ngaati Whanaunga in preparation for this MVA, who have been involved with existing barge operations at Koopuu have expressed doubt as to the relative dredging requirements of the existing operation versus the mussel barge under consideration.

Stevenson's Quarry

Stevenson's quarry is considered in the KTB report and found to have merit as a potential site, and unlike almost all other locations considered, except from the preferred ones, was found to have no fatal flaws. Rather the location is recommended for no further consideration on the following basis: It is considered that the primary flaw of this location, from a TCDC perspective, is that the site is outside of the Thames-Coromandel District which will eventually result in a significant loss of economic and social benefits associated with the industry.

There also appears to be a clear lack of support for this option from the industry which also seriously undermines this option. Ngaati Whanaunga maintains that Council should consider this site further. Its proximity to Auckland sits well with likely expansion patterns within Tiikapa Moana, and the reduction in reliance on SH 25 for transporting produce is deemed to present both environmental and safety benefits.

It is simplistic to assume that locating new wharf facilities away from the existing industry base near Coromandel will result in a loss of the industry from the district, in that existing facilities would remain and continue to be used, however the anticipated increased burden on existing infrastructure would be avoided by marine farm operators within the western portion of Tiikapa Moana landing on the adjacent coast.

We think that further investigation should be undertaken into the likely effects of dredging on Kaiaua and the RAMSAR site to the south, and note that Mr Baldwin, upon whose recommendation this site has apparently been dismissed, has no expertise in this area.




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