Hauraki Gulf Protection Set to Triple

The Hauraki Gulf and Tikapa Moana Marine Protection Bill will create 12 new "high protection areas" – essentially marine reserves where tangata whenua may issue permits to allow for customary fishing – that include parts of the Mokohinau Islands, Noises, Aldermen Islands, western and northern Coromandel, Little Barrier Island, Kawau Island, and Tiritiri Matangi Island.  

It will also extend the marine reserves at Cape Rodney (Goat Island) and Whanganui a Hei (Cathedral Cove), and there will also be five new seafloor protection areas where commercial activities like trawling are banned.  

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"All New Zealanders recognise the Hauraki Gulf as a national jewel treasured for its beauty and biodiversity," Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said. 

"I'm pleased to announce that through new legislation, we'll almost triple the area of the Gulf that is under protection from just over six percent to around 18 percent."  

Ocean advocates are frustrated that bottom trawling won't be banned throughout the entire Hauraki Gulf.

"We know that that is completely inappropriate with the state of the Gulf, and there's no place for it in the future of efforts to restore Tikapa Moana," Forest & Bird Hauraki Gulf coordinator, Bianca Ranson said. 

"I'd like to see bottom impact trawling banned from the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park," said Mike Plant from the NZ Sport Fishing Council.  

Due to the upcoming election, the process to codify any changes in law once the Bill has been introduced to the House will be left in the hands of next year’s Government.  

National leader Christopher Luxon is non-committal on the subject.  

"I've worked to make sure we continue to protect the Hauraki Gulf which is an important asset for the people of Auckland and also for New Zealand. All I'm saying to you is we need to get into the detail. I haven't seen the detail.”  

  - Nick Jones

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