Quick action needed from Hauraki Gulf environment advisory group – EDS

An environmental campaign group has welcomed the government’s latest move to improve the health of Hauraki Gulf, but warned action must come quickly.

The appointment of a nine-member advisory group was announced yesterday to shape the government’s response to the Seachange Marine Spatial Plan.

Watercare board member Catherine Harland and Paul Majurey – who chairs several organisations including the Hauraki Collective of Iwi – were announced as co-chairs.

The plan, which contained 181 recommendations to stop further degradation of the Gulf, was published in 2016 after taking four years to compile.

It was put together by iwi, central and local government and other interested parties.

Environmental Defence Society (EDS) chair Gary Taylor said it was great to finally see some progress but time was of the essence.

“This group now needs to get on with the job and proceed with some haste,” he said. “While we’re talking about implementing the Seachange Plan, the environmental quality of the gulf is still deteriorating.”

The EDS had been a strong supporter of the Sea Change process from the beginning.

Mr Taylor said he was pleased the Conservation and Fisheries ministers had “finally appointed the Sea Change Advisory Committee”.

The time taken to see any action by central government has been a point of frustration for the EDS.

The Sustainable Business Network warned in April that time was running out for cleaning up the Gulf ahead of the America’s Cup yacht races in 2021.

The group has started a six-month trial of rubbish collection traps, which sit underneath stormwater gratings to catch rubbish before it flows into drains.