HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 570:29 June 2011

Marine Park concept deferred a third time

On Tuesday the Cabinet deferred the submission on the Marine Park concept for a third time.
This makes the score three deferrals under a CIP government and one under a Demo government.
The Herald also understands the Prime Minister is not happy with the process leading up to the submission to Cabinet. It was expected that some public consultations as with the Fishing Exploratory Licenses proposals, would take place but this was not done. Also it is a concern that Cabinet has been asked to approve a submission without any clear objectives and policies in place. Absent from Tuesday’s Cabinet were DPM Tom Marsters and Minister Nandi Glassie.
Ben Ponia, Secretary of Marine Resources advised Pitt media Group on Wednesday morning that the Ministry did not support the submission as further developments were needed in the areas of policy and objectives, also the Trust deed needed to be appraised by government agencies and there needed to be public consultations. As the Ministry was exploitation focused but in a sustainable way there needed to be no conflict between the Ministry’s objectives and the objectives of the Marine Park. The same applied in respect of the Sea Bed Minerals Act in regard to exploitation of sea bed minerals.
Of concern is that the submission was made through the Office of the Prime Minister rather than the Ministry responsible for the Environment and Conservation which is the Ministry of Environment.
The Director of the NES Vaitoti Tupa told the Herald on Wednesday morning that during the recent visit by David Shepherd the Head of SPREP, Shepherd offered the services of SPREP to assist NES in drafting policy for a Marine Park. Tupa also advised he expected to hold discussions with interested Ministries such as Marine, Sea Bed Minerals (DPMs office) and Foreign Affairs (in relation to international treaty obligations). He said the SPC and SOPAC may also be invited to assist NES.
What is not fully understood is the haste which supporters of the concept are adopting. What cannot be understood is the reason for the urgency. The EEZ is under exploited and its development is critical to generate revenue. The Marine Park concept will overlay another level of bureaucracy on top of that controlling sea bed minerals and fishing. What this will cost is unknown. In fact no cost/benefit exercise appears to have been completed.
The lack of public consultation is a major concern and Cabinet should not consider such a major submission until it is satisfied the public, especially the outer islands, support the concept.

Herald Issue 554 09 March
- Norm exposes Trio of Doom
- Briefs from PM’s media conference Tuesday
- Tourism Industry ponders $5 million draft strategy
- Norman George resigns from Cook Islands Party
- Letter of Resignation from CIP
- Norman selfish says Prime Minister

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