In a report released today, the Environmental Defence Society calls for a strengthening of the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park Act 2000 to better protect the landscapes of the Hauraki Gulf Islands. Protecting the Hauraki Gulf Islands examines the effectiveness of the act, current planning provisions and other approaches in protecting the landscapes of the gulf.
“Our research concluded that the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park Act is making little useful contribution to the protection of the island environments. This is due to its broad language and competing objectives,” says co-author Cordelia Woodhouse. “Waiheke Island has been subject to intense development pressures due to its growing population and high pre-Covid visitor numbers. We found the current planning provisions not up to the task, with the cumulative impacts of case-by-case consenting threatening ‘death by a thousand cuts.'”
The other author, Raewyn Peart, says, “On these fragile island environments, land and sea are very closely connected. We have recommended the Council adopt an integrated planning approach, where a precinct plan is developed for each island, extending over the land and into the surrounding marine environment.”
The report sets out a number of recommendations including:
- Develop tailored island precinct plans for each island and surrounding marine area: for incorporation within the Auckland Unitary Plan below the Hauraki Gulf Islands Overlay.
- Promote a move to ‘slow’ tourism: on Aotea/Great Barrier and Waiheke Islands.
The Hauraki Gulf Islands report is available here