The statutory process
for establishing a marine reserve
This process table or flowchart is always part of a marine reserve proposal.
To save space, it has been isolated here.
Relevant parts of the Marine Reserves Act have been added for clarity.
To understand how MFish and DoC work together, read their memorandum.
The latest flowchart is found at the end.

Pre Statutory Process
(the proposal stage)
Define objectives
Initial consultation with interested groups Overwhelming adverse public reaction or no support: abandon project (see DoC manual)
Site survey and investigations
Draft proposals formulated and public feedback incorporated Overwhelming adverse public reaction or no support: abandon project (see DoC manual)
Community consultation. Dicsussion document circulated for comment before preparing formal application.
The statutory process
See section 5 of the Marine Reserves Act 1971 (MRA71) for details
Application is made to the Director General, Department of Conservation (DG)
Application satisfies S.3(1) of the MRA71 If application does not satisfy S.3(1): application does not proceed
Public notification of intention to apply for an 'Order-in-Council' declaring the area a marine reserve, anyone owning an estate or interest in land adjoining the proposed reseerve and any local authority with jurisdiction over the area, any local authority with control of the foreshore in the area, the Secretary of Transport and the Director General of Fisheries notified in writing by the applicant.
The proposed MRA2004 excludes the Ministries of Transport and Fisheries. Their concurrence will no longer be required.
2 month objection period Includes objections and submissions in support
There is no further consultation
1 month for the applicant to answer the objections.
DG refers the application, objections and answers to objections to the Minister of Conservation.
Before considering the application, the Minister of Conservation considers the objections and the applicant's answers to them (if supplied)
This process is not transparent, conducive to practices declining objections while favouring support
Where DG is the applicant, the Minister of Conservation may call for an independent report
Minister decides whether or not to uphold [1] any objections; applicant and objectors notified in writing of the Minister's decision and the grounds for it. Any objection upheld: application does not proceed
If no objections upheld, Minister of Conservation considers the application Minister not satisfied application meets the criteria in the Act: application does not proceed.
If the Minister of Conservation is satisfied the application meets the criteria in the Act, the concurrence of the Ministers of Fisheries and Transport is sought. If concurrence is withheld: application does not proceed
If concurrence is obtained the Minister of Conservation recommends the Governor-General make an Order-in-Council to establish the marine reserve.
Order-in-Council is made and notified in the Gazette. Order declaring the marine reserve comes into force 28 days after notification.

[1] Section 5(6) of the MRA71: ...... The Minister shall not be bound to follow any formal procedure, but shall have regard to all submissions made by or on behalf of the objector, and to any answer made by the applicant, and shall uphold the objection if he is satisfied that declaring the area a marine reserve would---
(a) Interfere unduly with any estate or interest in land in or adjoining the proposed reserve:
(b) Interfere unduly with any existing right of navigation:
(c) Interfere unduly with commercial fishing:
(d) Interfere unduly with or adversely affect any existing usage of the area for recreational purposes:
(e) Otherwise be contrary to the public interest.
5(7) The decision of the Minister shall be final.

Section 3(1) of the Marine Reserves Act 1971

3. Marine reserves to be maintained in natural state, and public to have right of entry--- 
(1) It is hereby declared that the provisions of  this Act shall have effect for the purpose of preserving, as marine  reserves for the scientific study of marine life, areas of New Zealand  that contain underwater scenery, natural features, or marine life, of  such distinctive quality, or so typical, or beautiful, or unique, that  their continued preservation is in the national interest.

Any bit of the sea satisfies this criterion. Its judgement is entirely subjective. The words typical and unique are mutually exclusive, in combination meaning any. The Minister of Conservation may overrule all valid objections by declaring the marine reserve in the national interest. It invites abuse of the objection/ submission process.

The statutory process under the proposed Marine Reserves Act 2004
Is characterised by strict deadlines for each phase.
The proposed Marine Reserves Act 2004 is designed to streamline the creation of marine reserves. Concurrence from the Min of Transport and Min of Fisheries is no longer required. They can only give advice but no longer veto an application.

diagram of decision-making process

The Marine Reserve Process
as defined in a memorandum of understanding between
the Ministry of Fisheries and the Department of Conservation,
August 2003
For the complete document, click here (moumfish.htm)
The Marine Reserves Process