New Zealand Underwater Association Inc.
Celebrating Fifty Years 1953 - 2003

Unit 1, 40 Mt Eden Rd, Mt Eden
PO Box 875, Auckland, New Zealand
Ph: 64 9 623 3252 Fax: 64 9 623 3523
March 6, 2003
Dear Submitter,

Thank you for your email regarding our Tiritiri Matangi/Whangaparaoa Marine Reserve Proposal.

From many of the conversations and comments I have had since we started this process, I understand that most people are not against Marine Reserves and we are excited about this. I would like to take this opportunity to thank those of you who have given your support already.

Don't fool me. My submission was an OBJECTION, can't you read?
If you are serious about being able to fish with your kids one day then you must support the creation of this reserve. Education and study are only possible within reserve areas.
Marine education and studies can be done anywhere. What is needed, is an accessible point on the coast and clear water with a rich coastal marine life. People travel all the way to Leigh, by-passing Long Bay reserve, because marine life there is badly degraded and the water is very murky, usually affording less than 0.5m visibility. They also by-pass Tawharanui, which although having clear water, does not have easy access. Neither does it have a coast suitable and safe for snorkelling. The Tiritiri marine reserve does not have easy access, and it has degraded underwater life, and also very poor visibility. There's just no hope that it will be used for education, or diving.
 I am very serious about "fishing with my kids one day" - I object to being told I must support this, or any other marine reserve proposal in order to do so.
It is sensible that more reserves are situated near to larger population centres.
Yes, they would be desirable, but who is going to supply the clear water to go with it?
Fish don't recognise reserves, only people do. The evidence is clear, Auckland City is getting larger and recreational fish catches are exceeding commercial ones for this area. It is our view as Auckland grows, pressure on fish goes up, there are more boats, people have better fishing gear, they have GPS and fish finders, which all make the plight of the poor old fish rather grim and this is why further protection is critical in this area. Excessive shellfish gathering is also a problem.
Wishful thinking. Scientific studies have proved that marine reserves increase the fishing pressure on the total area. For 100% loss in fishing, they return no more than 35% in fish spilling over. The poor old fish are not even protected at Goat Island. Their needs cannot be met by either present or future reserves.
For the entire 14,000 km of coastline in New Zealand the plan is to have 10% of reserve. This means 90% for fishing and marine farming and so on.
Calculations show that 10% is an unattainable myth, requiring over 150 reserves, each of 100km2 (each 20 times larger than Goat Island's). Even then their total area will be but 3% of our land. Marine reserves must not be created for the sake of having them. It is bad policy. Each marine reserve must stand or fall by its own merits.
The reason why Hauraki Gulf seems targeted is perhaps best explained in terms of different types of coast and habitat. Places like Long Bay are necessary because of primary production.
Long Bay is a severely degraded place, and is degrading further year after year. Primary production is high because of sewage effluent, treated and untreated. Why is it necessary? For research? Diving? For education? All fail to achieve anything here.
The Poor Knights is internationally recognised as truly unique because it sits amongst water masses that are subtropical.
The temperature difference between Tutukaka and the Poor Knights is at most 1 degree during winter, when coastal water is cold. This is not subtropical. Most subtropical fish arriving from Australia, won't make it through the first winter; some last 2-3 years. What makes the Poor Knights special, is its clear waters, but these are degrading too.
The scientific data show that marine reserves do work and there are already 11 times more snapper in the Long Island Marine Reserve than outside the reserve.
Conservation works only when ALL threats are taken away, not just fishing. The main threats to Tiri are mud from eroding land and urban development, excessive nutrients from human sewage, and industrial poisons. Fishing is of course also a threat, but only to a few species rather than the thousands suffering under the other threats. Marine reserves do not take these threats away. Coastal marine reserves do NOT work and CANNOT work in New Zealand (very few exceptions). The baited camera snapper counting technique that counted the fish in various reserves, is questionable. See Seafriends/FAQs.
If the reserves are sufficiently large, then spill over will occur. This is a phenomenon where fish will migrate out of the reserve to colonise new areas where fishing is allowed.
Only less than 35% of the lost fishery will spill over. Most of the fish we catch is migratory, spending some time inside the reserve, then travelling on. This is not spill-over. The benefit of a marine reserve to fishing is less than 35% of the lost fishery. This has been proved over and over again. Furthermore, no data exists for New Zealand to prove otherwise.
There is absolutely no reason why you cannot still enjoy all of those activities you list in your letter with the presence of this reserve. A reserve here will provide economic benefits that are long lasting.
My letter made it clear why I object totally against a marine reserve. Don't turn the facts. Economic benefits occur only to reserves with clear water, such as the Poor Knights. What economic benefit resulted from Tawharanui or Long Bay?
People are not continually protesting about the abolishment of the Leigh Reserve, instead they are thankful that someone had the vision and understanding to make it so. Two hundred thousand people go to Leigh to get in the water with big fish in big numbers. Local fishers recognise improved catches and sizes of fish nearby. Hopefully one day you will be thanking us for our long-term views - or at least your kids will.
The good news propaganda machine working for Goat Island has not only robbed you from common sense, but also many innocent others. The fact is that visitor numbers have declined drastically in the past two years. Crayfish have walked out of the reserve. The environment is degrading rapidly. People complain and ask "where are the fish?".
The enclosed document is for discussion. There is a blank map if you want to show your preferred option. You have asked for an opportunity to have your views taken into account and here it is. It is important that you don't just oppose the reserve but rather take a stand and support the boundaries that you can live with. There is a blank map for you to indicate boundaries that you could be happy with.
I am insulted by this attitude. My submission was a total OBJECTION, and should be respected and counted as such. No boundaries! No new submission! I have submitted and if this is not treated as the objection it was meant to be, then we must meet before the Ombudsman and sort this out. What confidence can we have in this discussion process if we are being deceived and not listened to? I have expressed my views clearly and these should be taken into account and not interpreted otherwise.
Please NOTE the closing date for this non-statutory phase is 31 March 2003. We have considered your feedback about the consultation period being close to Christmas and have extended the deadline.

There is still plenty of time to HAVE YOUR SAY. We will be accepting only submissions on the enclosed questionnaire sheets.

My objection is already in your hands. Make sure it is respected, counted and included. Why should I need to respond yet again? There exists no statutory reason why submissions must be presented on a set form. I am annoyed, insulted and angry about the blatant ignorance displayed in your letter. There is so much wrong with what you say, that a case can be made before our courts, for wilful deception and misrepresentation of facts.
Once this consultation phase is complete then we will be sure to let everyone know the results and feedback.

I look forward to getting your questionnaire.

Yours sincerely,

Peter Crabb MSc; Environmental Coordinator; New Zealand Underwater