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Mangrove destruction Bill ill conceived

A move by Thames-Coromandel and Hauraki District Councils to give themselves special powers to destroy manawa/mangroves in the Firth of Thames and around Coromandel Peninsula is ill conceived, the Green Party says.

The Thames-Coromandel and Hauraki District Council Mangrove Management Bill is sponsored by National MP, Scott Simpson and is awaiting its first reading in Parliament.

“The councils’ lack of understanding about the role mangroves play in providing habitat for fish, birds and shellfish in the harbour is disappointing,” Green Party environment spokesperson Eugenie Sage said.

“Mangroves are a valued native species and the Bill would allow for their destruction with little public consultation.

“The spread of mangroves is nature’s response to more sediment in our harbours and estuaries caused by how we have been using land for decades and actions like clearing forest. It is erosion and sedimentation that councils should be worried about, not our native manawa/mangroves.

“Destroying mangroves has often not led to sandy harbour bottoms as some residents may be hoping. Cleared areas can end up muddy and devoid of life, and are likely to remain this way for years.

“It’s disturbing that district councils want to sidestep the usual Resource Management Act (RMA) processes with the limited consultation and ad hoc process which the bill proposes.

“Community input is essential to good decisions about mangrove management. The Bill would restrict that with its ad hoc processes. It would deny the public the right to access the Environment Court as a check on council decision making,” said Ms Sage.

The Green Party will be voting against it to ensure that well considered decisions on mangrove management are made under the RMA.