Case Study 2 - Port of Tauranga resource consents for entrance dredging

In early 2013 the Minister of Conservation granted resource consent for the Port of Tauranga to dredge 50 million cubic metres of sediment in order to widen and deepen its shipping channels, creating space to provide access for larger vessels.

The decision came after the Port of Tauranga had spent $2.5 million in legal fees on its proposal since lodging a resource consent application nearly four years previously. The bid had been opposed by Ngāi Te Rangi, Ngā Potiki and Ngāti Ruahine through the Environment Court in 2011. An eventual decision to grant resource consent for the deepening was later appealed to the High Court by Ngāti Ruahine hapū member Lance Waaka. The court did not grant Mr Waaka leave to take a further challenge to the Court of Appeal, allowing the Minister to finally grant consent. 2621  The case was one of the last to be dealt with prior to the EPA being established.

The resource consent conditions placed on the activity included the setting up of a trust with local iwi, the port and other stakeholders to set priorities and set aside funding for future harbour improvements. In addition, the conditions required a minimum separation distance of the dredging from Te Kuia Rock (a sacred rock), the development of a Kaimoana Restoration Programme to mitigate the effects on local seafood especially the pipi beds, and the setting up of tertiary and post graduate research to promote better environment health in the harbour.

The Tauranga City Council is now in the process of preparing a resource consent application to the Bay of Plenty Regional Council to use some of the Port’s dredged sand to renourish several harbour reserves including Kulim Park, Memorial Park, Fergusson Park, and the Maxwells Road Esplanade Reserve.


Last updated at 2:11PM on February 25, 2015