Marine protection forum given more time for consultation

Marine protection forum given more time for consultation

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The South-East Marine Protection Planning Forum/Roopu Manaaki ki te Toka has been granted a 10 month extension for their planning process so that members of the forum can continue engaging with their stakeholder groups.

The forum, created in July 2014 with support from the Department of Conservation and the Ministry for Primary Industries, has been asked to recommend to the government what sites, from Timaru down to Waipapa Point in Southland, are deserving of marine protection and what type of marine protection the sites need.

The first stage of the planning process, consultation and information gathering, was to have been concluded by February 2016, followed by a formal submission process. However forum members were unanimous in wanting to have more time to engage with their stakeholder groups. Forum membership represents a broad spread of interested parties, including iwi, community groups, and fisheries, science, tourism and environmental interests.

Forum chair Maree Baker-Galloway says that from the outset the forum has been committed to involving as many people as possible in the planning process and that the forum still has some way to go to fully achieve that objective. She says a further 10 months will enable wider consultation and greater information gathering before proposed areas of protection are refined and then notified for the formal submission process.

“We want to reach more people so that everyone who has something to say in this formative stage can do so. We want the proposal that gets notified for the submission process to be based on the best information possible, including what the people want. We will be holding more public meetings and events over the next year and urge those who use and love our coastal waters to become involved and have their say. We need to know what people want.”

The forum wants to understand the history of the marine environment, what has changed, what people value about it, what the threats are to those values and what communities want to see happen to their marine environments in the future.

The formal submission process is now expected to begin in September 2016 and final recommendations are scheduled to be provided to government by April 2017.

For further information:

Forum Chair: Maree Baker-Galloway Ph: +64 3 471 5447 or +64 27 295 4704 Email: maree.baker-galloway@andersonlloyd.co.nz

Media Liaison: Gillian Thomas 0274272254