Great Barrier Island residents fight dredged sediment dumping plan

Great Barrier Island residents are rallying together to stop the dumping of dredged sediment in the ocean off their island.

A company has been granted the right to dump the spoil 25 kilometres east of Great Barrier Island.

But the islanders say because the soils mostly coming from Auckland Harbour the City should deal with its own mess.

"We're going to have Auckland's shit dumped in this pristine environment. I mean look at it, why would we want to put this at risk?" resident Tony Story told Newshub from the shoreline on Great Barrier Island.

Sediment dredged from Auckland and Waikato marinas will be dumped 25 kilometres east of Great Barrier Island.

Coastal Resources Limited was last month given consent to deposit 250,000 cubic metres at the site each year for 35 years. That's five times the amount it was previously allowed to dump.

The increase is partly due to dredging work that needs to be carried out for the America's Cup in Auckland.

"Where they're going to dump this toxic shit is teeming with sea life and we're putting that at risk so a few rich people can sail some boats in a few years," Mr Story said.

Locals also claim there was little consultation. Taryn Wilks says she's the only water scientist on the island. She only found out about the consent application days before submissions closed.

"It's a massive significant increase in waste sludge sediment going into the environment so I've got huge concerns over the impact that's going to have on the marine ecology and water quality and the potential increases in biosecurity risks," she says.

She's worried pests from Auckland Harbour will be transferred to the cleaner outer waters of the Hauraki Gulf.

Fishers are worried too.

"This is going to affect your fishing, this is going to affect your diving, the future of the Hauraki Gulf," fisherman Kim Watts alleges.

"Why can't they just put it on land and treat it? No one's even done tests as to what heavy metals are in the product that they're throwing into the ocean."

Kelly Klink from local iwi Ngātiwai is also against the dumping, saying the area is sacred ground that Māori have looked after hundreds of years.

"It's going to drift over here and it's going to kill off the hāpuku grounds that are out there, the bluenose grounds - they only breed every four years," she told Newshub.

Coastal Resources Limited didn't respond to Newshub's request for an interview.

But in granting the consent, the Environmental Protection Authority said potential adverse effects will be restricted to the disposal area.

A community meeting was due to be held on Great Barrier Island about 4pm on Saturday. Residents were set to discuss how they can get the dredging consent withdrawn. Any appeal must be lodged by Friday. Locals say it could cost them thousands and say it's money they just don't have.


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