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Sea Plan Change Debate Under Way

Tai Timu Tai Paru Pari marine spatial plan is now in the public arena, and as may have been expected, critics are about to let loose on its content, while Joe Davis, Alison Henry and Dirk Sieling who were the East Coast participants in the proceedings of the Stakeholders Working Group have gone into defense mode to stave off the obvious defects highlighted by Dal Minogue in the latest issue of The Informer. 

I have previously drawn attention to some of the defects - particularly in regard to the proposed consultation (or lack of same!), and the proposed constitution of the 'appointed committee' that is to be responsible for implementation of the SWG recommendations. This committee is clearly and deliberately to be dominated by iwi interests - 50% for starters, and then others appointed by central government. It is inevitable that this dominant role by iwi and other Maori interests will lead to a situation involving resentment, resistance and eventual defiance of any attempts to impose the proposed rules that provide a dominant tangata whenua kai moana and governance role in the catchment, the Gulf, and on the Eastern Coast - well beyond that normally regarded as kaitiaki

These proposed rules are manifest in their intended application, and it was indefensible that the SWG (that included our own Clr Peter French, (his involvement may have been critical in him having gone down to Sandra Goudie in the Election!) originally planned to implement the recommendations just prior to the Election in the absence of any form of consultation. The SWG believed at that time the proposals "were not up for debate" and were "an integrated package that must be implemented as a whole." - Disgraceful, and the intention showed up the utter ill-judgment of Haukai Mayor, and SWG Chair John Tregidga who changed his mind at the last moment when the intent was disclosed in this blog, and by other news outlets. 

At this point, the members of the SWG have been revealed as having 'feet of clay,' and in the Informer article, set out to defend their indefensible position by attacking Dal Minogue's claims, while defending the selection process that led to the SWG. Following acknowledging that the claims of Minogue and Tony Fox (TCDC Councillor) "are important, they need clarification on some misunderstandings." 

They then explained the PWG processes, and the wide range of community organisations that had been approached for their views, and then explored the the wide ramifications of "cultural harvest"  that is already in place, and which must be respected in any new arrangements and that will in any case "be subjected to further public consultation by DoC." 

They went on to outline the conditions required for aquaculture expansion in the Gulf, and go on to explain the that Tai Timu Sea Change will be required to go through the same public consultation as the Healthy Rivers Plan. But the 'giveawy' is the admission the the recommendations "were not up for debate," so just what was 'consultation' supposed to achieve. 

All this would have been a fine, if defective defence, but Davis, Henry and Sieling could not resist then attempting to discredit Minogue's comments on the basis that because they were the in the domain of DoC and central government, that they were outside his mandate as a member of the Waikato Regional Council. They suggested that he should "confine himself to those parts of the Plan for which the WRC is responsible, including sedimentation, and the 'run-off' of nutrients in the Firth of Thames in particular." 

Seiling managed to get his oar in on that issue though wording, clearly his, insisting that "nutrient 'run-off' requires more understanding and scientific research." This is the standard defence mounted by the Feds so as to avoid being nailed on having to deal currently with the problem - just keep putting it off while the farming community continues with its current practices indefinitely - or until the required "scientific research" is completed - what a joke, - do they really think that we are total fools. To see the current Fonterra advertisements, we could be forgiven for believing this to the case.  

It is frankly outrageous that these three so-called East Coast community representatives on the SWG could resort to such arguments, and attempt to discredit Dal Minogue who appears to know more than the three put together on this issue, and who made a thoroughly well researched submission to the Informer, well supported by Clr Tony Fox. And it is indefensible for these 'representatives' to deny Minogue his right to have views, and spoeak out on these matters.

Indeed, I prefer Dal Minogue's arguments. Hopefully the WRC will do likewise, and stand up to central government bullying on the issue.  I am sure that this will be the case with TCDC - Sandra has already indicated as much. stifling debate on the basis that "we know best" will not sit well with most Thames Coromandel residents I suspect.

It is critical that the matter be referred to ours and other interested district councils for consultation before any furthher action is taken to implement the recommendations.   




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