Towards the end of 2019, a group from the small community of Aotea, Great Barrier Island (“David”) were successful in appealing the Environment Protection Authority’s decision to grant Coastal Resources Limited (“Goliath”) permission to increase the amount of sediment it dumped off Aotea, Great Barrier Island.
The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) gave permission to Coast Resources Limited (CRL) to increase its sediment dumping from 50,000 cubic metres to 250,000 cubic metres annually for 35 years, just 25 km of the east coast of Aotea, Great Barrier Island.
In its determination, the High Court found that the EPA erred in approving the CRL application and in its judgement ordered the matter be referred back to EPA for reconsideration. The High Court also said that the EPA needed to take into consideration the advice of its Māori Advisory Committee for "meaningful" engagement with local iwi authorities and groups that may be affected by CRL's application.
Ngāti Rehua Ngātiwai ki Aotea uri and Protect Aotea representative, Kelly Klink, welcomed the High Court decision blocking an increase in the amount of dredging waste from Auckland that can be dumped off Aotea, Great Barrier Island.
Kelly says, “For the tangata whenua and local community, desecration of our environment is not acceptable. As an island community, who live in and on the sea, we believe the time has come for archaic practices, such as marine sludge dumping, to come to an end. We therefore welcome this decision, which we see as a step forward to better marine environmental protection.”
“The Crown must reconsider CRL’s application in light of its obligation to actively engage with the local community. Either way, Protect Aotea will be ready to speak on behalf of our community and for our unique and special home.”
“We would like to thank the tangata whenua and local community for their support, as well as all others who have contributed to our campaign. We would also like to, in particular, dedicate this decision to Uncle Serb, our beloved kaumātua who sadly passed away at the end of last year.”
Kelly says that they they will continue to represent the interests of the island home and speak up against dated environmental practices. As the group prepare for their next steps in this case, they are now also turning their attention to challenging CRL’s existing consent to dump 50,000 cubic meters per annum of marine sludge off the coast of Aotea as well as the Ports of Auckland’s recent consent to dump marine dredging near Reponga, Cuvier Island.