Great Barrier Island chosen as dumping location because it's cheap - local board chair

A Great Barrier Island leader wants a rethink on proposed dumping in its marine waters.

Hundreds protested against the move to dump 250,000 cubic metres of sediment 25 kilometres east of the island, also known as Aotea, every year for 35 years.

Local board chairperson Izzy Fordham believes the location was chosen based on cost.

"From what we gather it's far more expensive to do it on land than it is to take it 25km east of Aotea and dump it in the ocean."

Two groups are appealing the decision. Fordham says there has to be another way.

"People are saying this just isn't good enough anymore. We've got to be smarter. Dumping it in the ocean really isn't acceptable at all...

"We're just sick of this nonsense that isn't even from Great Barrier Island shores. We don't know what sort of toxicity is in that stuff, the impact on our marine life."

Coastal Resources Limited's new consent allows it to dump five times more sediment from Auckland and Waikato marinas that it used to. The increased allowance is partly due to the upcoming America's Cup regatta, due to be held 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," resident Tony Story told Newshub in March.

Auckland Central MP Nikki Kaye said the protests on Saturday showed the depth of opposition around marine dumping near the island.

"The latest consent approved by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) of marine sludge is large scale and for a very long-term into the future," she said.

"As the local MP I recently held several public meetings on issues of marine protection on Great Barrier Island and Waiheke Island. These issues were raised and islanders expressed their major concerns about this activity and why there was a need to have large scale dumping in the waters near Great Barrier. Iwi also raised issues of wai tapu and the seabed.

"The alternatives to this marine dredging dumping could include landfill, clean fill and as I understand it cement mix. The issue of marina dredging will need to be properly considered in the future. I think there are some wider issues for local body politicians to consider around this."

The EPA said potential adverse effects will be restricted to the disposal area.

The appeals will be decided later this month.



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