Mass protest against Great Barrier Island waste dumping plan

A mass protest in Auckland on Saturday has seen around 200 people march up Queen Street, angered by the dumping of dredged sediment in the ocean off Great Barrier Island.

Coastal Resources Limited has been granted consent by the Environmental Protection Authority to deposit 250,000 cubic metres of sediment 25 kilometres east of Great Barrier Island each year for 35 years. That's five times the amount it was previously allowed to dump.

The sediment is dredged from Auckland and Waikato marinas, and the increase is partly due to dredging work that needs to be carried out for the America's Cup in Auckland.

But protestors say the dumping will destroy the environment.

"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 in March.

Taryn Wilk says she's worried pests from Auckland Harbour will be transferred to the cleaner outer waters of the Hauraki Gulf.

"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 told Newshub in March.

Auckland Central MP Nikki Kaye says the protests today show 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 in a statement on Saturday.

"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's decision is being appealed to the High Court.


Contact Newshub with your story tips: