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Environment Court decision a 'big win' but marine treasure still under threat

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Today’s Environment Court decision to stop high density housing on land next to one of Auckland’s few marine reserves is a "big win for the people of New Zealand" say local community group, the Long Bay Okura Great Park Society, but the marine reserve is still under threat from sediment pollution from housing developments.

The Court gave the ruling today that the Rural Urban Boundary would not be moved to make way for high density housing on the southern shores of the Okura Estuary.

Pat Baskett, the Society’s Convenor says; "Today’s decision gives the Marine Reserve and its wildlife some important protection but there are still threats from runoff from development and the Auckland Council must get tougher on this."

"This is a huge win for the people of New Zealand who love and recognise the value of our marine environment. The Long Bay Okura Marine reserve is a treasure for the people of Auckland and home to a number of threatened species."

The group say the biggest threat to the health of the reserve is the huge amount of mud (sediment) that has been pouring off housing developments and smothering marine life.

"When the shellfish die from being smothered by this sediment, it puts at huge risk the endangered species that rely on them for food, like New Zealand Dotterel and Bar-tailed Godwits."

"This place is just too important for Aucklanders and New Zealand to be sacrificed to short-sighted development."

The Long Bay Okura Great Park Society says its thrilled with the decision, which vindicates thousands of volunteer hours and the $320,000 raised by the community. It also upholds two earlier decisions, the first in 1996 and again in 2003.

"The Court’s recognition of the importance of this land to the future health and wellbeing of the community and the environment will, we hope, reverberate around the country, reinforcing other efforts to protect coastal land and associated waterways."

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