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I 💙 the Hauraki Gulf!

By Councillor Penny Hulse

Published: 22 March 2018

The recent release of the fifth ‘State of our Gulf’ report by the Hauraki Gulf Forum is a sobering but predictable read.

As OurAuckland has previously reported, our beloved Hauraki Gulf / Tīkapa Moana is experiencing serious degradation.

Auckland Council wants to continue playing its part and work even harder to address many of the issues identified in the report, but I believe it’s time to do more than we’ve ever done—before it's too late.

10-year Budget will tackle problems

The council’s proposed 10-year Budget refuses to shy away from the many problems affecting the Hauraki Gulf. Auckland’s water issues include decreased water quality from stormwater and wastewater overflows, the need for improved marine biosecurity, ongoing sediment and contaminant runoff from land and the need to further protect biodiversity. 

We want to actively address these issues, and I hope that Aucklanders will support the introduction of two new proposed targeted rates: a targeted rate for water and a targeted rate for the natural environment. If introduced, we believe the additional funding will contribute to better outcomes for our gulf.  

5 ways to improve water

Specifically, the proposed water targeted rate provides funding for five initiatives to improve water quality in catchments draining to the Hauraki Gulf:

  1. A stormwater improvement program will reduce combined sewer overflows to the Waitematā Harbour and Hauraki Gulf.
  2. A contaminant reduction programme aims to reduce sediment, litter and road contaminants through improved treatment methods.
  3. An urban and rural stream rehabilitation programme will support ecological health and reduce sediment delivery to the Hauraki Gulf.
  4. A proactive compliance programme for septic tanks to ensure maintenance and reduced contamination of streams and beaches.
  5. An illicit discharges programme aims to reduce illegal connections to the wastewater network and lessen Safeswim non-compliance alerts.

In addition, the Natural Environment Targeted Rate proposes to increase funding over 10 years for marine ecology assessments and support improved biosecurity programmes.

We all want to be able to swim in the gulf, even after rain. We want future generations to enjoy fishing for snapper or diving for crayfish. We want the islands of the Hauraki Gulf to provide predator-free breeding grounds for the amazing seabird diversity that we cherish, and we all want Bryde’s whales to thrive.

It's worth investing in the Hauraki Gulf

I believe the Hauraki Gulf / Tīkapa Moana is worth investing in and I support the aim of the Auckland Plan 2050 to better integrate growth with protecting and enhancing the environment. 

I also strongly endorse the Hauraki Gulf Forum’s call for “Urgent attention by the Minister of Conservation to support and act upon a renewed, integrated programme of action across government agencies and partners.” 

Our gulf is crying out for help and we should all be acting to protect this treasured taonga.

Find out more about the Hauraki Gulf Forum and read the State of our Gulf 2017 report 

Have your say

Please have your say on the Auckland Plan 2050 and the 10-year Budget.

Feedback is open until 8pm on Wednesday 28 March.