LABOUR PULLING PLUG ON HAURAKI BILL UNJUSTIFIED SAYS SMITHConservation
Conservation Minister Nick Smith is astonished at Labour's decision to pull their support on the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park and has urged Labour to reconsider.
"Aucklanders would not wish that Parliament play politics over their most important conservation and recreation asset. The Hauraki Gulf Marine Park is a good idea whose time has come. We should not miss the opportunity to have the Park established prior to the America's Cup, and with some goodwill, rather than party politicking, we can achieve just that."
"The Government's intentions with respect to HMNZS Tamaki are clear. There is agreement between all parties, including the North Shore City Council, that the coastal strip and the land on historic buildings (2.7755 hectares) should be included in the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park as a historic reserve. A Supplementary Order Paper has been drafted to do this but it has no effect on the remaining land. The idea is to use the Bill as a mechanism to get this wonderful area, and prime America's Cup viewing spot, open to the public as quickly as possible."
"The advice of officials is that the proposed Supplementary Order Paper does not change the status of the remaining land and nor was this ever intended. No decision will be made concerning this portion of the land until Court proceedings are concluded. I can give Labour a categorical assurance that no S.O.P. will be introduced that will affect the balance of the land, an assurance I gave Alliance members on Thursday. If Labour are concerned that the S.O.P. is insufficiently clear in this regard, I would welcome them having discussions with officials and parliamentary counsel to ensure it is clear. The Park is too important to be lost over issues surrounding HMNZS Tamaki, and I would be happy to exclude any reference to it at all if this would satisfy Labour."
"It would be a sad day for Auckland if this minor issue arising from a misunderstanding or misinterpretation put the Park and Bill at risk. Judith Tizard had previously given assurances that Labour would support this Bill and I will be doing all I can to persuade them to honour this agreement."