8 December 2014
It's time to stop playing the 'blame game' on Gulf issues
Everyone using the Hauraki Gulf/Tikapa Moana needs to stop playing the 'blame game' and work together to find solutions to the key issues.
That call came today from Nick Main, independent chair of the Stakeholder Working Group for Sea Change – Tai Timu Tai Pari. The Stakeholder Working Group (SWG) is developing a marine spatial plan designed to secure a healthy, productive and sustainable future for the Hauraki Gulf
Mr Main said the SWG's collaborative approach has shown what can be achieved when the various parties using the Gulf stop 'pointing the finger' over issues such as declining fish stocks and water quality, and start working together to find solutions. "The group is vision led and then works out what needs to be done to achieve this vision, rather than being particularly concerned about past contributions to the problem."
To break down its work, the SWG has created seven Roundtables looking at specific issues. In those Roundtables, there are commercial fishermen, recreational fishermen, environmentalists, foresters, dairy farmers, mussel and oyster farmers, mana whenua, island residents and those representing the interests of communities and recreation groups, sitting at the same table and identifying all the issues and options.
"Some came into this project with very firm views but, as they have been fully informed by science and by input from communities and mana whenua, attitudes have changed.
"Now we have mussel and oyster farmers working together with environmentalists to find win/win solutions for communities and the environment. We have fishermen, farmers and foresters working together to find solutions to current levels of sedimentation, because they realise everyone needs to play their part to make a difference."
Mr Main said the Roundtable members are focused on the major drivers of ecosystem decline and the changes that need to be made to improve the Gulf ecology and economy, but they are also identifying lots of little things that can collectively make a difference.
"Part of this shows a need for an increased public awareness of the impact we can all have on the Gulf.
"For instance, zinc is very toxic to sea life and the choice of galvanised materials has an impact on the zinc content in run-off that reaches our harbours.
"Tyres and brake linings contain copper and other heavy metals. If we all wash our cars on the driveway, pollutants can flow into our storm water system and into our harbours but if we all wash our cars on the grass, the pollutants can be filtered out by the soil."
Roundtable analysis of the key Gulf issues, their causes and potential solutions is almost complete. This month (December), the Roundtables will complete their work and be able to submit their findings and recommendations to the SWG at the start of next year. The SWG will then begin bringing these threads together as it develops the marine spatial plan which will be completed by June 2015.
The goal of Sea Change – Tai Timu Tai Pari is to develop a marine spatial plan that will achieve a Hauraki Gulf that is vibrant with life and healthy mauri, is increasingly productive and supports healthy and prosperous communities.
Members of the public can have their say on key issues by taking part in an online survey through the project website www.seachange.org.nz.
Media contact/further information
www.seachange.org.nz – all project information and latest updates.
Sea Change – Tai Timu Tai Pari ‘fast facts’ document available: please email: firstname.lastname@example.org for a copy.
|Nick MainSea Change – Tai Timu Tai Pari Independent Chairman
Phone: 021 315 851
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