September 14, 2020
Blue highway bad news for coasties
A Ngāti Porou environmentalist says the idea of a blue highway linking Te Tairāwhiti to major east coast ports is dead in the water.
Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones has announced there is $45 million in the shovel ready fund tagged for marine infrastructure in Te Wharekahika-Hicks Bay or Te Araroa.
A proposal was considered by the Provincial Growth Fund two years ago for a facility on the coast that could be used to barge out the region’s timber harvest rather than sending it to ports like Tauranga and Napier by road.
Tina Ngata says that idea was vetoed by hapū, and the latest attempt to get it through is also doomed to failure because of legal protections like the Resource Management Act and Ngā Rohe Moana o Ngā Hapū o Ngāti Porou Act.
"The idea of a port in Wharekahika has been well and truly binned from our perspective as a hapū. We are confident on the support of our iwi in that stance and the council are also very clear on the importance of our say on any port in and around Wharekahika," she says.
Tina Ngata says it’s fiscally irresponsibly to keep spending money promoting a project that isn’t going to happen.
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