Marine protection for the Hauraki Gulf
DoC's proposal for a working group for marine reserves
in the Hauraki Gulf, March 2004
Dissected by Dr J Floor Anthoni (2004)
The text in back is the original text and the text in blue is ours.

This is DOC's response to the Public's request for an integrated approach to conserving our seas. Although this document is still in a state of construction, its purpose and methods are clearly defined. The main change in direction comes from consultation before proposing marine reserves and more opennes, but the way this is done still rests on DOC and scientists dominating the process. Proposed for placing marine reserves in the populous Hauraki Gulf area, DOC will undoubtedly continue its confrontational approach with other (larger) marine reserves elsewhere. Reader please note that this plan has not been realised so far but it shows how DoC is scheming for fast-tracking solutions.
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Strategy for Protection of Marine Biodiversity For the Hauraki Gulf
The Department of Conservation
March, 2004
Reader, please note that this was the original proposal which may have changed over time.

Project Goal:
To develop and implement a strategy for establishing a network of areas that protects marine biodiversity in the Hauraki Gulf.

It is not clear whether marine biodiversity is going to be protected under the Marine Reserves Act 1971, the new MR Amendment Act, or Fisheries Act or other Acts such as Local Body acts and those covering cable ways and ammunition dumps. The use of the word network implies that we are talking only about permanently closed marine reserves. The Public has difficulty understanding the Biodiversity Strategy (Marine) which states that the only acceptable form of protection of biodiversity is a permanently closed area. The public is questioning this concept since biodiversity is about viable populations, not necessarily unfished ones. Unexploited populations do not exist in nature. Before going any further, this needs to be clarified.

General Objectives:

  1. Obtain funding commitments to carry out the first stage of work, including support for both the general work to be done and for general communications related to that work. The Biodiversity Strategy has a large fund, and so has DOC for establishing new marine reserves. DOC has over 100M$ to spend each year. What is it spent on?
  2. Resolve issues that are currently open that will guide next steps in the process.  These include:

  3.  a) Establishing a clear definition of "Hauraki Gulf". Why is this necessary, since the new model will eventually be used to usher in all marine reserves along our coasts. The extent of the Hauraki Gulf was defined by the Hauraki Gulf forum, but it does not extend out to the territorial limit. Surely the Great Barrier Island proposal is not going to be pushed through this way?
     b) Identifying the main interest groups that will need to be involved and the amount of overlap between various groups. The main interest groups should be those most affected by closed areas, the fishermen.
     c) Determining a role for the Hauraki Gulf Forum. Why not let them determine their own role?
     d) Determine whether present coastal marine reserves are actually working.
     e) Determine whether there exists scientific proof for the network concept.
     f)  Determine the level of protection offered by cable ways and ammunition dumps.
     g) Determine what the most pressing threat to the seas is, and use the best conservation tools available.
  4. Form a working group that will be responsible for:

  5.  a) creating the strategy using the best available scientific, cultural and other relevant information,
     b) negotiating on the behalf of stakeholder groups, manage information on specific themes of interest, and
     c) serving as links for ongoing public consultation throughout the process.
    The working group does not only do all the work, but makes the decisions too. Stakeholders are there only to rubber-stamp their recommendations.
  6. Create a science panel and Tangata Whenua participation panel that will consolidate information on science and iwi/ hapu issues to feed into the working group discussions.
  7. Create a media/communications and education committee that will work on releasing information to the public and ensuring that there is adequate public understanding of the process and its objectives for people to participate in consultations through relevant channels. DOC has spent large on media communications and is likely to dominate this part, particularly in their role of propaganda provider.
  8. Establish clear roles and terms of engagement for each of these groups.



    The main problem here is that the voices of those most affected, the recreational fishermen, are swamped by the opinions and beliefs of people who have neither direct involvement nor practical knowledge nor an emotional link with the sea. Most of the people in this decision process have not even bothered to inform themselves.

Possible sources of funds

Notes on the usage of funds

Rationale for establishing a working group as a key component of the strategy
Multi-stakeholder working groups have been successfully used as centralized bodies for decision making and public consultation in NZ and internationally.

Establishing a science panel
There are many outstanding science issues that will need to be resolved in order for the working group to effectively use the science information that is available. One of the most important early questions is related to the validity of the marine classification system for evaluating biological habitats. Other important questions concern methodologies for breaking down available data into meaningful groups, decisions on how much anecdotal data to include and how to weight such data, and prioritization of national biodiversity protection vs. local biodiversity protection in evaluating the different areas and habitats to be protected..

There are many more outstanding scientific issues, like whether our existing marine reserves are actually delivering on their promise of protecting biodiversity. The latest monitoring results from our best marine reserve shows that it too is degrading badly with considerable reductions in traditional fish species. Our other reserves fare much worse. [See myths11, (19 pages) examining DoC's report on monitoring results from various marine reserves.]
All of these questions will need to be decided upon by a group of scientists and field experts. Due to the technical nature of the discussions they will undertake, it is suggested that they meet separately from the working group. They will then be required to send a single, consistent spokesperson to provide two-way information and communications and to participate in the working groups discussions and decisions.
It would be appreciated if a representative from the fishing interests could be part of this panel, fully subsidised.
It is suggested that the composition of this science panel should include representatives from at least the following agencies:  NIWA, ARC, DOC, the University of Auckland, other interested universities, and a representative from the Northland science panel. Costs of participation in this group should be covered by the organizations for which the scientists work. It is not recommended that scientists be paid to participate in this group since we would have little control over how long the deliberations might take, or the number of meetings that are required. The process will probably move forward most efficiently if it is in the interest of every participant to complete the work as quickly and efficiently as possible. Is this realistic? Most science agencies have to recover costs. Who is the Northland Science Panel?

Establishing a panel for tangata whenua participation
Given past experience with marine reserves and especially, the most recent experience of the government on foreshore issues, it is expected that building relationships and gathering relevant information from tangata whenua will be a complex, time consuming process that will need to be handled sensitively.

In order to allow specific experts in this area to work on these issues and to create a forum for participation of iwi/hapu leaders (if desired), it is suggested that a special panel be created for tangata whenua participation.

This composition of this panel will be determined in consultation with experts in this area, and with key Maori community leaders.  The panel will elect a spokesperson who will serve on the working group and who will be responsible for communications to other members of the TW panel. It is expected that members of the TW panel will in turn take responsibility for two-way communications on the process to iwi/ hapu members and to the representative elected to the larger working group.

Setting up a committee for communications and education
Public awareness and education are a key component of the DOC strategy put forth in the June 2002 document "Building Community Support for Marine Protection". That document clearly outlines the need to build community support for marine biodiversity protection strategies through improved information flows and participation.

Is DOC aware that the Seafriends Marine Conservation and Education Centre was established in Leigh to provide totally independent marine education to the public? Starting as early as 1990, Seafriends now has the largest and most informative free web site, which traces the causes of all our problems in the sea. All this was achieved without any outside funding. Why is DOC not endorsing this? Worse still, why is DoC still spreading false propaganda? Can the public trust the information flow from any government department? This is a very serious issue that needs to be addressed with high priority.
While it is expected that each member of the working group and associated panels will serve as a two way communications conduit with their key constituents, there will still be a significant portion of the public who are not associated with any of the interest groups, but who should be informed and educated about the process and its eventual outcomes. This should be done regardless of this group.

In addition, it will be necessary for the working group to release official statements about progress to the media, to carry out several public consultation meetings (on the process, rather than on specific issues.Why?), and to inform the public about the status of decisions. Since the working group is a collective, participative body, it might be better if no single agency or individual is seen as responsible for such statements to the media or public. The public is not interested in process but in specific issues, which need to be addressed and resolved.

It is suggested that a small committee for communications and education be established to carry out these and other related communications functions. This panel could include key communications people from involved agencies, a media expert (if available at little or no cost) and/ or a PR expert. DOC has such people, free of charge of course.

In addition, it is suggested that an information management expert be placed on this committee to take charge of setting up and managing a public information system that both collects input from the general public and which responds to or directs specific questions to the relevant working group members.

Forming the committees and nominating spokespeople for the working group
The key to a successful working group process is election of individuals to the working group that are both interested and willing to reach a decision that can best meet the objectives of the whole group, and who are seen as truly representative of the public's interests. Nominating individuals to the working group and to the different panels to be formed will most likely be a time consuming and contentious process. It is therefore necessary to carry this process out in the most transparent and participative way possible. No more secrecy and deceit?

One possibility for nominating spokespeople to the working group might be to start with communicating information on the process to be undertaken to the public, together with an invitation to interest groups to express their desire for participation in the process to DOC. DOC will then consolidate all such expressions of interest and group people who share similar interests and goals. These groups of people will then be placed in contact with one another and asked to elect a single spokesperson to the working group. The fact that costs of the spokesperson's participation in the working group will need to be covered by his/her employing agency, should help to reduce competition for places. Since spokespeople will be represented by their interest group "constituency", they will have a direct responsibility to those constituents for two-way communications as the process evolves.

This method of selection smacks of that for the Conservation Boards, resulting in lapdogs for DOC, rather than watchdogs. If DOC is in any way involved in this selection process, the Public will have no whatsoever faith in its outcomes. Instead, stakeholders should appoint their representatives and these should be reimbursed all their expenses.
Nominating people to the different expert committees is likely to be a more controlled internal process involving the key agencies and experts in the appropriate areas. Since expertise in different scientific and cultural areas seems to be limited in NZ, it should be possible for a small team of agency representatives to quickly determine the individuals who can best serve on each panel. Watch out!

The following sections were not completed:

Estimated Cost
Estimated Time Frame

Draft rules for engagement of working group members

Marine Biodiversity Protection Working Group for the Hauraki Gulf

  1. Established in response to mandates from the:
  2. Will work in conjunction with a Science Panel and an Tangata Whenua Participation Panel.
  3. Sample Mission Statement of MBPWG for Hauraki Gulf: "Using the best available information from all sources, the working group will collaborate to seek agreement on a recommendation to MfE (?) regarding the establishment of guidelines that will protect marine biodiversity in the Hauraki Gulf in the interests of both the surrounding and the greater NZ communities."
  4. Timeline; It is expected that the MBPWG will develop and forward its recommendation to MfE by 2005.
  5. Participation
  6. Stakeholder involvement
  7. Decision Making Processes
  8. Working group Operations
    1. Meetings will be chaired by representatives of the major organizations sponsoring the MBPWG.
    2. The meeting chairs and their assistants will

    3.   i. Develop meeting agendas with input from members and facilitators
       ii. Serve as official spokespeople for the process
      iii. Encourage active participation of all members
      iv. Communicate relevant legal framework issues to the group
       v. Keep the working group accountable for tasks and timelines.
      vi. Support the facilitators.

Draft Stakeholder List (to be added to by Emma)

Dept. of Conservation
Ministry of Environment (MfE)
Ministry of Fisheries (MinFish)
Tangata Whenua
Citizens and homeowners of surrounding land areas
Commercial Fishers
Recreational Fishers
Forest and Bird
NZ Underwater Association
Local Government
Regional Government
Tourism and Charter industry
Ferry boat owners
Recreational Boating Industry

Likely Interest Groups to be Represented in the Working Group:

  1. DOC/ MfE chair - together with any other funders of the process
  2. ARC
  3. Charter/Tourism spokesperson
  4. ?Commercial Fishers spokesperson - For specific fisheries?
  5. Conservation spokesperson
  6. Diving spokesperson
  7. Local council reps from Auckland and all other areas involved....
  8. Min Fish
  9. Rec. Fishers spokesperson
  10. Boating industry spokesperson
  11. Science committee spokesperson
  12. Tangata Whenua committee spokesperson

Other committees:

Seeking support from the Minister of Fisheries, the Minister for the Environment, and the Minister of Auckland Issues
Departmental Submission
Date:    19 March 2005    File reference:    Auckland PAP-02-07-07Minister of Conservation

Action Sought:    Note proposal to proceed with the development of a plan and seek support for the proposal from your colleagues, the Minister of Fisheries, the Minister for the Environment, and the Minister of Auckland Issues.
Deadline:    No deadline
Paper Type: (Cabinet, Statutory or Other)    Other
Dept’s Priority: (Very High, High, Normal or Low)    Medium
Risk Assessment: (e.g. possible negative reactions/consequences)    Proceeding with Great Barrier marine reserve proposal prior to this proposal may require a response to criticism from fishing interests.
Level of Risk:  (High, Medium or Low)    Medium
  Name Position Telephone
1 Barbara Browne RGM (Northern) (07) 858 0003(wk)    (027) 2430699 (ah)
2 Felicity Wong Manager, Marine Conservation Unit (04) 4713179 (wk)    (027) 4824652 (ah)
3 Warwick Murray Community Relations Manager (09) 3074855 (wk)    (025) 751306  (ah)

Executive Summary

In response to the several independent marine reserve proposals currently being promoted in the Auckland region, many stakeholders have expressed dissatisfaction at the lack of an overall plan for the selection of marine reserve sites and have stated that they cannot support any current or future proposals until such time as a strategic plan is tabled for the entire Auckland region.  This concern reflects the competition that exists for space within the Hauraki Gulf between recreational fishing, commercial fishing, customary fishing, aquaculture and marine biodiversity protection interests.

We believe that there would be much to gain by addressing these concerns and taking into account the needs of these users of the Hauraki Gulf up front and to do so, are proposing that a steering group be formed to implement a plan to identify a network of marine protected areas in the Hauraki Gulf.  The steering group would comprise representatives from the department, Ministry of Fisheries, Ministry for the Environment, Auckland Regional Council, Environment Waikato and interested territorial authorities.  The process we are proposing for the plan will allow for the active involvement of tangata whenua, other stakeholders and interested parties, and for liaison with the Hauraki Gulf Forum.  The proposed process follows closely the concepts outlined within the draft Marine Protected Areas Strategy that we and the Ministry of Fisheries are jointly preparing.  We believe that the proposed process give us the best chance of achieving the 10% marine protection goal as outlined in the Biodiversity Strategy by the proposed deadline of 2010.  The integrated approach that we are proposing will aim to meet the needs of other agencies and groups, which we expect will include recreational fishers and tangata whenua, while at the same time meeting the department’s core objective of marine biodiversity and habitat protection.

It is proposed that the area covered by the plan be that contained within the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park and that it would exclude the west coast and western harbours of Waikato, Auckland and Northland.

It is our intention to progress the marine reserve proposal for Great Barrier prior to the completion of the proposed plan.  We do not intend to promote any other marine reserve proposals until the steering group has completed its work.  If you agree, after discussion with your colleagues, you may wish to make a suitable announcement.

Fisheries management issues will almost certainly arise during discussions and deliberations on the proposed plan.  Therefore, it is essential that the Ministry of Fisheries is fully involved in the plan.

Recommended Action
It is recommended that you– Minister’s decision
(a)    Note that we are planning to develop a plan identifying a network of areas that protect marine biodiversity in the Hauraki Gulf. ( yes / no )
(b)    Agree to support the development of the proposed plan. ( yes / no )
(c)    Agree to seek support for the proposed plan from Hon David Benson-Pope, Minister of Fisheries, Hon Marion Hobbs, Minister for the Environment, and Hon Judith Tizard, Minister of Auckland Issues, Auckland Regional Council, Environment Waikato and six territorial authorities (draft letters attached). ( yes / no )

Barbara Browne
Regional General Manager – Northern
for Director-General

………………..………….    …… / …... / ……
Hon Chris Carter
Minister of Conservation


The purpose of this paper is to seek your support for a proposal to develop a plan for establishing a network of areas that protect marine biodiversity in the Hauraki Gulf and to request that you seek the support of your colleagues, Hon David Benson-Pope, Minister of Fisheries, Hon Marion Hobbs, Minister for the Environment, and Hon Judith Tizard, Minister of Auckland Issues.


Marine Protected Areas Strategy
The New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy 2000 directs us and a number of other agencies to achieve a target of protecting ten percent of New Zealand’s marine environment by 2010 with a view to establishing a network of representative protected marine areas.  Currently, less than three percent of our country’s marine environment is protected.

In order to achieve the marine protection goals set by the New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy we, together with the Ministry of Fisheries, are jointly developing for public consultation a Marine Protected Areas Strategy (MPA Strategy).  The MPA Strategy aims to establish a network of marine protected areas, to ensure that the relevant government agencies make marine protection work a priority, and to ensure marine protected areas are established using a common multi-agency approach.

Current approach to marine protection
In this country, the current approach to marine protection is somewhat piecemeal.  Rather than focusing on a network of marine protected areas, we tend to target individual sites for marine reserves.  In addition to marine reserve proposals advocated by us, other agencies and non-government organisations are eligible to propose marine reserves and other marine protected areas, which does not necessarily lead to an integrated approach to marine protection.  The current approach does not contribute to network approach or to the use of a common multi-agency approach as advocated by the draft MPA Strategy.  Nor does it necessarily assist with the Biodiversity Strategy’s objective of ensuring a representative range of marine habitats in this country is under protection.

Stakeholder concern
In the past eighteen months, in the Auckland region alone, marine reserve proposals have been mooted for Great Barrier Island, Tiritiri Matangi Island and Tawharanui and a marine park has been proposed for Auckland’s West Coast.  These proposals have resulted in some members of the Auckland community expressing increasing concern about the way in which marine protected areas are established.  The concern reflects the competition for space that exists within the Hauraki Gulf between commercial fishing, recreational fishing, customary fishing, aquaculture and marine biodiversity protection interests.  Key marine stakeholders have been strongly critical of the current approach to the selection of marine protected areas, claiming it is ad hoc and unscientific.  In particular, some stakeholders have expressed dissatisfaction at the lack of an overall plan for the selection of marine protected area sites.

Stakeholder concern about the establishment of marine protected areas is being translated into active opposition to individual proposals, with New Zealand Underwater (NZU) receiving around 6,000 objections to its marine reserve proposal for Tiritiri Matangi Island and the pro-recreational fishing group Option4 launching a high profile advertising campaign against our Great Barrier Island marine reserve proposal last year.  Several key stakeholder groups have stated they can not support any current or future marine protected area proposals until such time as a strategic plan is tabled for the entire Auckland region.


Need for an integrated approach
To reduce some of the conflicts the department and others have experienced with past marine reserve proposals, we believe there is a need to adopt an integrated multi-agency strategy toward marine biodiversity protection.  Such a strategy would address stakeholder concerns and involve the community in the identification of marine protected areas.  The approach would closely follow the concepts outlined in the draft MPA Strategy and should assist us and other organisations to establish more marine reserves and other marine protected areas and also provide a robust framework to address issues relating to the competition that exists for space within the Hauraki Gulf.  We are therefore proposing a plan (called the Hauraki Gulf Marine Protection Plan) to protect a representative range of marine habitats in the Hauraki Gulf.  A scoping report has been prepared and we have identified a draft process for the plan.

The expected outcome of our proposed plan is the establishment of a network of areas which protect a full range of marine biodiversity and habitats and which take into account the needs of the key users and agencies involved in the Hauraki Gulf including aquaculture, fishing, tangata whenua and other relevant interests.

It is proposed that the area covered by the plan be the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park as defined in the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park Act 2000.  It is proposed to exclude the west coast of the Auckland and Waikato regions at this stage as this would involve quite different communities of interest and the availability of biological data for the west coast region is currently more limited.

Hauraki Gulf Marine Protection Plan
The Hauraki Gulf Marine Biodiversity Protection Plan (HGMPP) is expected to provide a model for marine protection work that we are likely to undertake in other regions.  We anticipate that different regions would tailor the approach to suit the needs of their communities.  Therefore, the proposed process needs to be applied on a regional, rather than national scale.  Our proposed process is consistent with the process outlined in the draft MPA Strategy.

In addition to addressing community and stakeholder concern about the approach to marine protection being ad hoc, a strategic plan would offer other benefits, including:

Proposed structure

We are proposing to establish a steering committee to lead the HGMPP.  The committee would need to consult with a wide range of stakeholders and interest groups and it is proposed that a working group, comprised of key stakeholders, be established.  In addition, there will be a need for expertise and advice on tangata whenua issues, science, and communications and education.

Steering Committee
It is envisaged that the steering committee will be comprised of officials from the key agencies that have a political mandate to protect marine biodiversity, i.e. Department of Conservation, Ministry of Fisheries, Ministry for the Environment, Auckland Regional Council, Environment Waikato and interested territorial authorities including Auckland City Council.

In addition to having a statutory mandate, the member agencies of the steering committee will need to ‘buy-in’ to the process agreed upon by the group.  They must also commit to participating in the process throughout its duration and to providing funding for the process.  Member agencies will be asked to make expert staff available to work on relevant parts of the process and to share information with the group as needed.

The purpose of the steering committee is to make recommendations to its member agencies for a network of areas that protect marine biodiversity in the Hauraki Gulf, and to liaise with the Hauraki Gulf Forum.  The member agencies will consider the recommendations and make a decision whether and how the recommendations will be implemented.

Role of the Hauraki Gulf Forum
Consideration was given to whether the Hauraki Gulf Forum was an appropriate body to lead the proposed HGMPP.  We believe a steering committee should lead the proposed process as some of the Forum’s member agencies do not have a statutory interest or responsibility for marine protection.  In addition, the purpose of the Hauraki Gulf Forum is the integrated management of the Gulf, rather than marine protection.  We see the integration and communication functions of the Forum being an important component of the proposed HGMPP, and envisage that the Forum will provide advice directly to the steering committee.

Working Group
It is essential that key stakeholders and interest groups are involved in the proposed process and that these people have sufficient opportunity to have their say during the process.  It is therefore proposed that a working group, comprised of key stakeholders, be established.  A multi-stakeholder approach that includes public input and consultation during the decision-making process is favourable over the more traditional approach of making decisions then carrying out public consultation afterwards.

The purpose of the working group is to provide stakeholder input and/or recommendations to the steering committee on the marine protection plan.  The functions of the working group will be to:

There are a number of different ways in which a multi-stakeholder working group could be formed, from the steering group appointing representatives of stakeholder and interest groups to allowing all interested people to participate in the formation of the group.  It is proposed that this be a matter for the steering group to ultimately determine.

Advisory panels/committees
The steering committee will require expert advice and assistance on a number of issues.  It is therefore proposed that three expert advisory panels be formed for advice on tangata whenua issues, science/technical issues, and communications/education.  Each advisory panel would report directly to the steering committee.  It is particularly important for a direct link to exist between iwi and hapu and the steering committee to provide for the partnership between the Crown and tangata whenua.

Costs of participation in the science/technical group and communications/education groups should be covered by the organisations for which the scientists work, although specific scientific work may need to be purchased.

It is envisaged that the science/technical group will use both the Interim Nearshore Classification, which is a tool to assist establishing a New Zealand network of protected marine areas, and the Ministry for the Environment-led Marine Environments Classification as a base for their work.

It is anticipated that the tangata whenua group will comprise of representatives of all iwi and hapu who wish to be involved in the plan.  Nomination of individuals to the science/technical and communications/education groups is expected to be an internal process, involving the members of the steering committee and experts in the appropriate areas.

It is possible that the HGMPP process could take several years to complete.

Proposed outcome of HGMPP
Because we must respect established consultative procedures we cannot guarantee the proposed plan will result in more marine reserves in the Hauraki Gulf.  However, the process will focus on marine biodiversity protection and is expected to result in the creation of protected areas that complement existing marine reserves. Since the plan will bring different agencies to the table together and will address marine protection and other usages concurrently, it is expected that the plan will contribute to and speed the achievement of ten percent marine protection target outlined in the New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy.  It is also expected by looking at all the marine protected areas together in a network form that we will be able to reduce the overall amount of time and resources required to achieve the government’s marine protection goal.

We are currently considering how the proposed HGMPP would be implemented.  The steering committee may recommend that a number of marine protected areas be established but would not jointly be able to make the necessary applications.  While the Marine Reserves Bill 2002 allows for any person to prepare a proposal for a marine reserve and the Fisheries Act allows any person to submit a proposal for the establishment of a taiapure, only tangata whenua or tangata kaitiaki nominated by tangata whenua, can apply for a mataitai reserve.  Therefore, the member agency responsible for particular proposed marine protected areas may need to process individual applications.  For example, we would process marine reserve applications and the Ministry of Fisheries would process taiapure applications.  Other options to consider might include amendment to the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park legislation or other special legislation if necessary.

Cost Implications

It is proposed that those agencies represented on the steering committee contribute to the costs of the process.  This may be in the form of funding and staff expertise.  In addition, participants in the working group and advisory panels would be expected to meet their own costs.

A detailed cost estimate of the proposal cannot be completed until the particulars of the consultation process have been completed.  However, the preliminary estimate is $200,000 per year over and above staff time provided by participating agencies.  It is proposed that that the costs be equally shared amongst the steering group agencies. In the past coast of resolving conflicts for one off marine reserve proposals have been significant and we expect that this additional upfront investment will result in long term savings for the department through a reduction in repeated scientific investigation, consultation and conflict resolution that is necessary for individual marine reserves to be established.

It is envisaged that the cost of running a similar process elsewhere in the country would be significantly less than in the Hauraki Gulf region.  The Hauraki Gulf is by far the most intensively used marine environment in the country and is the area where competition for space is at its highest.  Added to that is the large size of the Auckland population, many of whom wish to be involved in the proposed process.  Other regions of New Zealand are not subject to the same level of use nor do they have such a large population living in close proximity to a highly accessible marine environment.


Discussions about the proposed plan have been held with a number of organisations, including Auckland Regional Council, Auckland City Council and the Auckland Ministry of Fisheries office.  All three organisations have expressed interest in the idea and have indicated they would like to be involved.  It is expected that the Ministry of Fisheries would have a major role.

The Hauraki Gulf Forum has also expressed interest in our proposal.  We presented a paper at the Forum’s September 2003 meeting and the following resolution was passed, “That the Forum members support and assist the Department of Conservation and the Ministry of Fisheries in the development of an overall strategic plan for the protection of marine biodiversity within the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park”.  While the purpose of the Hauraki Gulf Forum is to integrate the management of the Hauraki Gulf, the composition of the Forum does not lend itself towards leading the HGMPP.

Key marine stakeholder and interest groups such as Option4, Forest and Bird and New Zealand Underwater have repeatedly requested a more strategic approach to marine protection and have indicated their willingness to be part of such a process.

Section 4 Conservation Act

As outlined above, it is essential that a mechanism is established to provide for tangata whenua participation in the proposed plan.

Tangata whenua may be concerned about participating in the plan if it is launched prior to the resolution of issues relating to the ownership of the seabed and foreshore.  Careful consideration will be given to the timing of discussions with iwi and hapu, taking into account the government’s timeframe in relation to decisions made about the seabed and foreshore issue.  In addition, we will emphasise to tangata whenua that the proposed HGMPP is not about ownership of the Hauraki Gulf, but is about management of the marine environment to maintain and enhance the area, regardless of ownership.

Consideration will also be given to the potential impact the plan may have on any Treaty claims to ensure the Crown’s position and the interests of Maori are not compromised.

Risk Assessment

Great Barrier Island marine reserve proposal
The proposed HGMPP may impact on the Great Barrier Island (GBI) and other marine reserve proposals that are currently being mooted.  Stakeholders may criticise us for proceeding with the GBI proposal prior to the outcome of the HGMPP.  However, some of the marine habitats in the proposed reserve are not currently represented in other marine protected areas in New Zealand so it is likely that any plan will identify the north-east coast of GBI as an area of high marine biodiversity that should be protected.  As with any other marine reserve proposal, the GBI reserve will have to meet the requirements of the Marine Reserve Act prior to being established.

Other marine reserve proposals
Aside from the Great Barrier Island marine reserve proposal, we have no plans to promote any other marine reserve proposals during the duration of the HGMPP.  While the HGMPP would not prevent other organisations from pursuing marine reserve proposals, it is possible that such proposals would not get support from the stakeholders and interest groups who were participating in the wider process.

Fisheries issues
Our experience with marine reserve proposals indicates that issues relating to the current approach to fisheries management in New Zealand, both commercial and recreational, will arise during the development of the proposed HGMPP.  Some recreational fishing advocate groups and individual fishers would like to see the creation of dedicated recreational fishing areas as part of the proposed process.  It is therefore essential that the Ministry of Fisheries is fully involved in the process.

It is likely that developments in the identification of Aquaculture Management Areas (AMAs) within Regional Coastal Plans and the lifting of the aquaculture moratorium (likely to be December 2004) will have an impact on the proposed HGMPP.  For example, the AMA process may result in large areas being designated for aquaculture, meaning less areas available for marine protected areas and, possibly, areas of high biodiversity being used for aquaculture.  In addition, the public may be more resistant to a marine protected area being established in their “back yard” if part of the area is designated as an AMA or already has marine farming present.  The general public may also resent having to engage in a separate round of consultation on marine protected areas, when they have recently been consulted on AMAs.


It is possible the steering committee might recommend special legislation if they decide to follow a process similar to that used for the investigation and protection of marine, coastal and estuarine areas in Victoria, Australia.



 Appendix 1 – Diagram showing relationship between entities

Hauraki Gulf Marine Biodiversity Protection Plan

The fishermen's reaction to the proposed working group

Dear Department of conservation,
Your Hauraki Gulf Working Group proposal has some serious shortcomings as it does not come close to addressing fishermen's most pressing concerns:

* it reduces one million recreational fishermen to a single vote within a stacked committee consisting mostly of agencies committed to marine reserves for better or for worse, due to either their obligation to the Crown or their uninformed beliefs. This is not an attractive proposition for us since the only people affected are the fishermen who are being deprived of their traditions and rights with no compensation in sight.

* it does not address our concerns with the Biodiversity Strategy (Marine) and its attached conclusion that networks of marine reserves are the ONLY way to protect marine biodiversity. Where is the proof?

* it is a myopic attempt to focus a lot of work on a small area, rather than working out a strategic plan for the whole of our EEZ. We're sure that DOC will remain confrontational, secretive and deceitful while pushing marine reserves elsewhere.

* we are not interested in closing off 10% of the sea, believing that this will save the sea. Our focus is on saving ALL of our seas for the sustainable use by our children and their offspring. We want more fish in the sea within healthy marine ecosystems and there are better ways to achieve this. Why try to save 10% when we can save 100%?

* it is not a fully integrated approach as we see it, which looks at all threats, including population pressure, landbased pollution and fishing, while embracing a scale of protection measures from the Quota Management System through trawler restrictions to permanently closed areas. Also the Marine Reserves Act and DOC must be questioned as being the right agents.

* it must acknowledge that the QMS is finally showing results and that stocks are increasing. DOC must also acknowledge that de-facto marine reserves closed off in cable ways and other, have high conservational value and therefore must have high priority as well.

* it does not address the nonsense of the rush to have 10% of the sea boxed in by the year 2010. Where is the proof that urgency is required? Why do things wrong today when we can do them right tomorrow?

* it does not leave enough time for consultation, awareness and education. The Public is entitled to this.

* it does not give enough control to local people and fishermen who make the sacrifices.

* it is an attempt to use heavyhandedness and law rather than education with self responsibility as is necessary for fostering a sense of environmental hygiene with everybody who ventures on the sea, and all of us inhabiting the land.

* it does not address the largest threat to the sea, that of land based pollution such as runoff from the land and sewage from populations of people and farm animals.

* it does not address our concerns with the now established fact that coastal marine reserves are not working for protecting biodiversity. Why have more failed marine reserves?

* an annoying problem for us is having to engage with people who have not bothered to inform themselves, including a secretive and deceitful Department of Conservation. We may refer you to the many instances of misinformation and deceit documented on the Option4 and Seafriends web sites.

* in order to make a beginning, DOC and others should take notice and resolve each of the wrongs in the present marine reserves approach, as summarised on the Seafriends web site: www.seafriends.org.nz/issues/war/index#intro

* as a basis for further engagement, participants must endorse the independent and informative teachings on the independent Seafriends web site, and they must inform themselves of its content. It makes no sense communicating with people who do not understand the sea and its ecology or the principles of resource management and conservation, or the threats originating from the land.

* a further requirement is for the public to have proof that they are being listened to. If DOC does not officially and permanently abandon both the Great Barrier and Tiritiri marine reserve proposals, this will not be achieved. The public must have confidence that DOC backs off from its bungled and erroneous attempts. There exists no valid reason to engage with a partner who does not listen, take notice and react accordingly.

* in dealing with DOC we have experienced a litany of lies and deceit. This must end before meaningful consultation can be achieved. Also DOC's Mafia-style secrecy must make place for openness.

As you can see, progressing with the Working Group does not make good sense at all. It is time for DOC to take a deep breath and a long coffee break. The best solution for future generations would be to leave DOC out of the equation and address all issues under the Fisheries Act, with the Minister of Fisheries as sole agent.