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Geoffrey Robinson Responds

It did not take long for a response to Bob Simcock at WRC from Gegffrey Robinson which I totally endorse. This is the kind of subterfuge that gives councils a bad name:

"Hello Bob,

As you are aware, your committee this morning will be considering a report and recommendation from staff regarding possible release of the Coromandel Marine Farming Zone for the farming of caged fed finfish (Agenda Pages 9-19).

This development, which the public has just been made aware of in the last few days with release of the committee agenda, is of grave concern to many residents and stakeholder groups in the Thames-Coromandel District.  It is also of major concern to stakeholder groups beyond the district.

While the staff report being presented today makes mention of a range of concerns and the possibility of mitigating those concerns through the consent process, it fails to adequately inform committee members of the range and extent of environmental risks associated with caged finfish farming in general, and with caged finfish farming in the inner Hauraki Gulf.

A report to the former Environment Committee immediately before it was disbanded identified numerous potential adverse outcomes and environmental risks associated with the plan to introduce caged finfish farming in the Gulf.  This report should be reviewed by all committee members along with all other staff reports and comment on the proposal.

The report being presented today also states clearly that, “this discussion has not considered other environmental effects such as impacts on landscapes, natural character, navigation, or public access.”  With publication just five days ago of the TCDC district plan decisions regarding natural character and landscapes of the coastal zone, a thorough review of potential and likely impacts on the coastal zone should be required before any release of the CMFZ space.

Furthermore, prior to release of CMFZ space and in the interest of both transparency and to inform decision-making, there should be public notification of the proposal and consultation with the community, Thames-Coromandel District Council, and affected stakeholder groups.

With the committee having scant time to familiarise themselves with the volume of relevant information on this proposal, and with it being more than five years since the idea for caged farming was introduced, there is obviously no rush to approve release the space this month.  As noted in the report, a decision is deemed having a high degree of significance.

This is to urge you, as chairman, to recommend that the committee RECEIVE the report (Recommendation 1); and that you recommend that the committee NOT APPROVE Recommendation 2 at this time pending receipt of further information and discussion with stakeholder groups.

Geoffrey Robinson"


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