26 Nov 2012

Akaroa residents fed up with marine reserve indecision

3:23 pm on 26 November 2012

Businesses in the Canterbury town of Akaroa are becoming fed up with what they say is the lack of action from the Conservation Minister in designating a marine reserve in their harbour.

The Akaroa Marine Protection Society made its first application for the consent in 1995.

The minister, Kate Wilkinson, declined the application two years ago.

A High Court ruling in May this year has forced her to revisit that decision but since then, there has been no word on what progress she is making.

Long-time resident Kathleen Reid says 17 years must be a record for any kind of consent. "Each year Akaora gets more and more depleted. We need a marine reserve so that we can start turning things around."

Hugh Waghorn, who runs a number of water-based operations, says from a purely economic point of view, protecting the marine life in the harbour is a must.

Mr Waghorn says 60% of Akaroa's workforce is involved in tourism in one way or another.