The Board is trying to counteract the Keep Our Beaches (KoB) petition signed by over 2600, 30% of the Waiheke population, against establishing a marine reserve on the northern residential beaches of Waiheke. KoB recently took their cause to parliament by appearing in front of the parliamentary select committee.
In order to counteract the petition the Local Board took this extraordinary step reported by the KoB Campaign team.
While we are still awaiting the Committee’s response, we were stunned to learn that the Waiheke Local Board has recommended that the Select Committee ignore our petition, or at least put it on hold while they conduct their own their own survey. This is very disappointing as the Board has previously acknowledged on many occasions the strong opposition to a northern beach marine reserve.
This is a fight using ratepayers money that the Board started over a year ago. The first thing they did was stop the long awaited recreational boat ramp project planned for the northern beaches. This $268,000 project was already approved and funded when this board took office. The money was in the coffers just waiting for action. Failure to progress the project has resulted in the loss of the money, which the Waiheke Local Board gifted back to Auckland Council instead. When the Board bleats about not having any money and blames the Governing Body of Auckland Council they are being disingenuous. They have no-one to blame but themselves.
It then tried to disenfranchise 1800 Waiheke ratepayers from having a say, wanted to commission its own selected PR company to run the survey, and chose the questions to get the outcome they desire. Auckland Council stepped in to try and ensure some fairness, although the questions have still been put together in conjunction with the Board.
In a way this survey is more about democracy than it is about a marine reserve. It is an opportunity for the people of Waiheke, all of them, to say that they disapprove of the way this Board disregards the wishes of the people.
For that reason, and for that reason alone, I urge you fill out and return the petition. If you want to say more than a total NO to any marine reserve around the islands under the jurisdiction of the Waiheke Local Board then here is some advice from the Keep Our Beaches Campaign team.
We need as many people as possible to again reiterate their opposition to a northern beach marine reserve, so it is critical you COMPLETE & RETURN THE SURVEY BY THE 25th MAY – IT ONLY TAKES 5 MINUTES!! You may also complete the survey online at http://surveys.colmarbrunton.co.nz/waiheke , (you will need to quote the number on your postal survey to do this).
Question 6 asks you to ‘state the main factors to be considered when choosing the location of a marine reserve’. These include ‘excluding beaches or bays close to existing residential areas’ and ‘that visitor numbers can be accommodated without providing more car parking etc’ We encourage you to select these and any other factors that are a concern to you.
Question 8 asks you to ‘state any areas you do not consider acceptable as a no-take marine reserve’. We encourage you to specifically mention Waiheke’s northern residential beaches - Oneroa, Hekerua Bay, Sandy Bay, Enclosure Bay, Palm Beach and Onetangi. Add further pages if necessary as the space provided to respond is extremely small. There is also no space provided to add any additional comments so add an extra page if you need to.