Hauraki Gulf Marine Park Act

The Hauraki Gulf Marine Park Act 2000 (“HGMPA”) provides special recognition for the Hauraki Gulf and this has implications for the resource management framework. In the preamble it states the: "Hauraki Gulf has a quality and diversity of biology and landscape that makes it outstanding within New Zealand. The islands of the Gulf are valued as the habitats of plants and animals, once common, now rare, and are often the only places in the world where these species exist naturally."

Section 13 of the HGMPA provides that all persons exercising powers or carrying out functions for the Hauraki Gulf under any Act specified in Schedule 1, which includes the RMA, must have particular regard to the provisions of sections 7 and 8 of the HGMPA. This is reaffirmed in section 9(4) of the HGMPA which provides that a consent authority must have regard to sections 7 and 8 when considering an application for a resource consent for the Hauraki Gulf, its islands and catchments.

Hauraki Gulf (Credit: Raewyn Peart)

Section 7 provides that the interrelationship between the Hauraki Gulf, its islands, and catchments and the ability of that interrelationship to sustain the life-supporting capacity of the environment of the Hauraki Gulf and its islands are matters of national significance. The meaning of 'life-supporting capacity' is discussed within this section and includes both the maintenance and use of resources.

Section 8 of the HGMPA provides that to recognise the national significance of the Hauraki Gulf it should be managed for several specific objectives including the protection and, where appropriate, the enhancement of the life-supporting capacity of the environment and the natural, historic and physical resources of the Hauraki Gulf, its islands, and catchments. This includes those resources with which tangata whenua have an historic, traditional, cultural, and spiritual relationship and those resources which contribute to the recreation and enjoyment of the Hauraki Gulf for the people and communities of the Hauraki Gulf and New Zealand.

A further objective outlined in section 8 is the maintenance and, where appropriate, the enhancement of the contribution of the natural, historic, and physical resources of the Hauraki Gulf, its islands, and catchments to the social and economic well-being of the people and communities of the Hauraki Gulf and New Zealand. Section 8 also provides that another management objective is the protection of the cultural and historic associations of people and communities in and around the Hauraki Gulf with its natural, historic, and physical resources.

Sections 7 and 8 must be treated as a national policy statement and a New Zealand coastal policy statement. Regional councils and territorial authorities give effect to sections 7 and in their regional policy statements and plans. For the coastal environment of the Hauraki Gulf, if there is a conflict between sections 7 and 8 and the provisions of any New Zealand coastal policy statement issued under the RMA, the New Zealand coastal policy statement prevails.

Section 9(2) and (3) of the HGMPA provide that local authorities must ensure that any part of a regional policy statement or a regional or district plan that applies to the Hauraki Gulf, its islands, and catchments, does not conflict with sections 7 and 8.

The HGMPA also establishes the Hauraki Gulf Forum to manage the Hauraki Gulf, its islands and catchments. Members of the Forum include representatives of the Ministers of Conservation, Primary Industries and Māori Affairs, seven representatives of Auckland Council, five representatives of other local authorities, and six representatives from the tangata whenua of the Hauraki Gulf and its islands appointed by the Minister of Conservation.

Functions of the Forum include integrating the management of the Gulf, facilitating communication, co-operation and co-ordination of members’ statutory functions exercised within the Gulf, preparing a list of strategic issues, determining priorities for action on each issue and publishing a report on the state of the environment every three years.

When undertaking its functions, the Forum must have particular regard to the historic, traditional, cultural, and spiritual relationship of tangata whenua with the Gulf. Day-to-day management of the Gulf continues to be carried out by individual statutory agencies.

The Hauraki Gulf Marine Park is also established by virtue of the HGMPA. It consists of conservation areas, various types of reserves administered by the Crown, the common marine and coastal area within the Hauraki Gulf (except that held for defence purposes), and all seawater within the Hauraki Gulf.

The publication Governing the Gulf provides more information on the implications of the Act for RMA policies and plans.

Last updated at 11:20AM on March 6, 2015