Great news released just before Xmas: a 17yr battle to establish a marine reserve at Akaroa Harbour has been won!
The new reserve will take effect from World Oceans Day, 08 June 2014. The 475-hectare reserve covers the SE corner of Akaroa Harbour and includes the area surrounding the Dan Rogers Bluff.
Conservation Minister Nick Smith: "Akaroa is an iconic harbour and hugely popular for its recreation and scenery. This new reserve will ensure better conservation of its marine life and add tourism value."
An application to establish the marine reserve was first lodged in Jan.1996 and has been considered by six (!!!) successive Conservation Ministers since. The incumbent Smith approved the application last April but it needed formal sign-off by the Ministers of Transport and Primary Industries. Now it can be surveyed and formally recommended to the Gov-General.
Smith: "80% of the species unique to NZ are in the sea, yet we have far less of our ocean protected compared to land." Why? Well, the answer's in the detail. SIX Conservation Munsters since 1996 looked at this particular one...and pushed it aside. Yet as Akaroa Harbour is home to the endangered Hector's Dolphin (whose numbers have been plummeting), I'd have thought this suggestion would've been rubberstamped instantly!
SIX munsters had the title 'Conservation Minister' in this period - WTF were they actually doing while in that job??? And who were they?
For the Wall Of Shame:
Simon Upton 30 May-16 Dec.1996 (National)
Nick Smith 16 Dec.1996-10 Dec.1999 (National)
Sandra Lee-Vercoe 10 Dec.1999-15 Aug.2002 (Alliance)
Chris Carter 15 Aug.2002-31 Oct.2007 (Labour)
Steve Chadwick 31 Oct.2007-19 Nov.2008 (Labour)
Tim Groser 19 Nov.2008-27 Jan.2010 (National)
Kate Wilkinson 27 Jan.2010-22 Jan.2013 (National)
and Nick Smith (again) 22 Jan.2013-ongoing (National)