30th March 2017
The South-East Marine Protection Forum/Roopu Manaaki ki te Toka has determined it needs more time for its deliberation process. The Forum have been working to a government deadline of 28 April 2017, for the delivery of its final recommendations for a network of marine protected areas on the south-east coast from Timaru to Waipapa Point in Southland. At a Forum meeting held over the last two days, members were unanimous in supporting a request to extend the delivery deadline for a period of up to four months.
Forum Chair Maree Baker-Galloway says the primary reason for requesting extra time has been the work load associated with the unexpected large volume of feedback, approximately 2800 submissions, that were received through the consultation process held in late 2016. She says, “The Forum wish to do justice to all the submitters who have taken the time to provide their feedback to us, and to do that we need more time to familiarise ourselves with all of the submissions. It’s fantastic that so many people have engaged with this process and every view presented deserves consideration.”
A summary of submissions which is being prepared by an independent analyst, is expected to be finalised within the next month. Once it has been officially tabled, it will be accessible to the public via the Forum’s website. A database of redacted submissions will also be publicly accessible in the near future. Information that submitters indicated they did not want to be made public will be withheld along with all individual submitter’s contact details.
The Forum expects to provide a formal request to Ministers before the end of April.