Monday, May 20, 2024

Auckland Council drops its biosecurity responsibilities, boating association says

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A boating association wants help from the Hauraki Gulf Forum regarding hardstands closing across Auckland. Photo Department of Conservation
  • Laura Kvigstad, Auckland Council reporter
    funded by New Zealand on Air

A boating association is calling for help from the Hauraki Gulf Forum as fears around hardstands closing across Auckland fall on deaf ears at Auckland Council.

In the past year, six hardstands have reduced their hull cleaning capacity, with three shutting their doors entirely.

Boats are a primary way for pests to spread in Auckland waters and, with cleaning capacity reduced, boats will need to travel further for cleaning. This could result in pests being dragged for longer distances.

At the Hauraki Gulf Forum on June 12, Auckland Yacht and Boating Association representative Andrew Barney asked for help from the forum.

“We are losing cleaning capacity and Auckland Council has not identified this death by a thousand cuts,” Barney said.

He said the association’s public input at a council committee and a meeting with Mayor Wayne Brown were both declined.

“We seem to be the only organisation aware of this risk.”

“As a not-for-profit we are out of cash and we are losing – we feel we are fighting on our own here.”

Cr Christine Fletcher asked if Barney believed that council staff had built its advice on the assumption that Auckland boaties were all wealthy.

Barney said while council appeared to believe boaties were all wealthy that was not the only issue.

“I believe Auckland Council has walked away from its role on biosecurity,” Barney said.

Fletcher replied that she did not believe council’s response was out of malice but the organisation had become too big.

Co-chair Toby Adams identified himself as a “non-wealthy boat owner”.

“There are not enough haul-outs now – even in winter I struggle to get an appointment,” Adams said.

Cr Wayne Walker said the association had “skin in the game” and could commission a report on the effects of closing hardstands.

Barney responded that the organisation could but the issue was whether anyone would listen.

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