The Local Board in summarizing the the marine reserve survey results as "Responses regarding location were relatively spread out with no one specific area receiving high or low levels of support as a marine reserve” is blatantly ignoring the data that is in front of them. In so doing the Local Board is breathing life back into Friends of Hauraki Gulfs old poorly conceived idea of a marine reserve on the northern residential beaches. Quite why ,having spent a small fortune and endless hours , the Local Board now wish to avoid the obvious results of even their own survey reflects a continuing lack of objectivity. The lack of objectivity will perpetuate the adversarial and divisive debate over the northern beach marine reserve.
The survey fundamentally confirms everything Keep Our Beaches has been saying for last 2 years, that the local Waiheke community highly value the marine environment and its conservation but that the proposed marine reserve on the northern residential beaches has very strong opposition, and far, far greater opposition than any other location. The survey is very clear that the northern residential beaches location is opposed by over 70% of the approximately 640 voters and ratepayers who commented on this proposed location. But rather than acknowledge this the Local Board has simply ignored this inconvenient truth. And the other obvious result the Local board has ignored was the clear preference for offshore island locations, like already DOC controlled islands, by a whopping 82% of voters and ratepayers who commented on this as a location. We’d say that’s a black and white result in anybody's language.
We had been hopeful that the Local Board would take the very clear message from the survey results and our earlier petition to move on from a divisive and poorly conceived northern residential beaches proposal and toward an integrated plan involving an appropriate location which could could be supported by the community.
It is sad that the Waiheke Local Board, Roche and Lee have continued their campaign of trying to establish a marine reserve on the northern residential beaches against the wishes of the vast majority of the island’s community. Perhaps they have an eye to a future isolationist Waiheke where they, and they alone, call the shots. Maybe they can see their names on the map already as each marine reserve is named after them – Roche’s Reserve, Lee-on-Sea, Walden’s Ocean, and let is not forget Liz Waters.