< March 2022 newsletter

Hauraki Gulf Forum votes on co-governance proposal

Thank you to all who joined the action over at the Gulf Users Group by signing their petition or sending a message to the elected members of the Hauraki Gulf Forum asking them to vote down the proposal to introduce 50/50 co-governance to the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park.

According to the Group, nearly 14,000 people signed the petition in just three weeks, and 2,400 individual emails were sent. Great response!

Regrettably, some Forum members were not moved by the public’s response to the proposals. Some even appeared to be annoyed about the publicity campaign and seeing their name in the paper requesting they consult the public.

Lee Short, spokesman for the Gulf Users Group, presented at the start of the meeting. You can find a copy of his presentation at www.gulfusers.org.nz

This was followed by an at times heated debate, after which the Forum voted 11-7 in favour of changing its composition to that of a 50:50 co-governance body with mana whenua and ‘others’, including a proposal to develop its own statutory plans that could prevail over council policies and central government decision-making for matters in respect of the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park.

We share the Gulf Users Group's disappointment in this decision made by the Forum. There was no public consultation beforehand, and believe their decision is not in the best interest of Gulf users. Nor has there been an explanation as to how the proposed changes will be better for the Marine Park.

The majority of elected representatives voted against the proposals. This is how the elected members of the Forum voted:

Against the proposal: For the proposal:

Mayor Sandra Goudie
Cr John Watson
Cr Wayne Walker
Cr Christine Fletcher
Cr Donna Arnold
Cr Rob McGuire
Mr Scott Milne

Cr Pippa Coom
Cr Anne Marie Spicer
Cr Denis Tegg
Ms Cath Handley
Ms Valmaine Toki

Although the elected members voted 7-5 against the proposal, six more votes were collected from the tangata whenua appointed members - Ms Nicola MacDonald, Ms Charmaine Bailie, Mr Joe Davis, Mr Terence Hohneck, Mr Paul Majurey and Mr Dean Ogilvie - making the final vote 11-7 for the proposal. The three Government appointees abstained.

The Forum Co-Chairs will now take the resolution to the Government to advocate for legislative change.

We are mindful that all elected members on the Forum come up for re-election at the Local Body elections later this year - allowing citizens to express their views at the ballot box. Additionally, the Gulf Users Group has announced it will be calling for a referendum on the issue at the local body council elections later this year.


We encourage you to write to the elected members of the Forum who voted against the proposal.

Click here to email all councillors.

Alternatively, you can email them individually:

Mayor Sandra Goudie, Thames-Coromandel District Council - [email protected]
Cr John Watson, Albany Ward - [email protected]
Cr Wayne Walker, Albany Ward - [email protected]
Cr Christine Fletcher, Albert-Eden-Puketāpapa Ward - [email protected]
Cr Donna Arnold, Matamata-Piako District Council - [email protected]
Cr Rob McGuire, Waikato District Council - [email protected]
Mr Scott Milne, Chair, Ōrākei Local Board - [email protected]

Below is an example message:

Hello good Councillors,

Thanks for taking a principled stand against the co-governance motion at last Monday’s Hauraki Gulf Forum meeting. It must have been an unpleasant experience as I understand that the discussion got quite heated. It is a shame that you were unsuccessful in stopping it.

This was a graphic example of why so many people are opposed to co-governance arrangements. It only takes one member of the 'others' to vote with an iwi ‘block‘ vote on issues in which they have direct or indirect vested interests to give iwi, who are NOT ACCOUNTABLE to the general public, effective control.

Thanks again for the work and effort that you put in on our behalf.


If you haven't already, head over to the Gulf Users Group and sign up to receive information about future action: www.gulfusers.org.nz

Go back to the March 2022 newsletter


Need help with submitting on Hauraki Gulf Marine Protection Bill?

We are aware there is a wide range of views on how to protect the Gulf, which is why we were hesitant to include a form submission for the Hauraki Gulf / Tīkapa Moana Marine Protection Bill.However, several people have asked for help. Accordingly, we have put together a simple submission, which you are welcome to use as a template for your own. Please click here to read. Continue reading

Submission on the Hauraki Gulf / Tīkapa Moana Marine Protection Bill

We have put together a simple submission on the Hauraki Gulf / Tīkapa Moana Marine Protection Bill, which you are welcome to use as a template for your own. Remember the final day for submissions is Wednesday 1 November. Continue reading

New marine protection reserves not created equal for all

Under special legislation recently introduced to parliament, marine protection areas are to triple the total area under protection in the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park. These areas include some of the most favoured fishing spots in the Gulf and the Coromandel coast, such as parts of the Mokohīnau Islands, the Noises, Aldermen Islands, western and northern Coromandel, Little Barrier Island, Kawau Island, and Tiritiri Matangi Island. Continue reading

Marine protection secondary to ‘customary rights’

Although all looks well on the surface, it is well documented that the Hauraki Gulf is under stress. Sedimentation, pollution, overfishing, and poor fishing practices are all taking their toll on these beautiful waters. Marine mammals, fish and seabird species are dwindling in numbers. So, not before time, plans are underway to reverse this decline and revitalise the Gulf. However, the plan comes with a few fish hooks of its own. Continue reading

Co-governance advocates bully dissenter on Hauraki Gulf Forum

  Below is an email sent to members of the Gulf Users Group on 28 April 2022: I am writing to bring your attention to an attempt by the Hauraki Gulf Forum’s co-chairs to muzzle Auckland Councillor John Watson, a Forum member, after he shared on social media our NZ Herald advertisement. This advert named the five local body councillors who voted to introduce a new 50:50 co-governance arrangement with mana whenua and ‘others’ to manage the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park. Furthermore, these five Councillors failed to seek a mandate from the public and ignored the concerns of thousands that had signed our petition or emailed Forum members. Continue reading

Blatant grab for power over the Gulf – again!

Currently, the Hauraki Gulf Forum is considering recommendations put forward for what is explained in a report as ‘updating and strengthening the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park Act’. Several major changes are being proposed. Continue reading

Have your say on Waiheke Island rāhui

The Ministry of Primary Industries is calling for public submissions on the Ngāti Pāoa imposed rāhui around Waiheke Island. The closing date for submissions is Monday 22 March 2021. The ban relates to the harvesting of four species of kaimoana - i.e. scallops, mussels, crayfish and pāua - the aim being to restore their declining numbers. Continue reading

Who is running this country? Ngāti Pāoa takes the law into its own hands

An iwi on Waiheke Island in the Hauraki Gulf has decided that it is they who should be in control of kaimoana around the island. Without gaining the legal authority to do so, Ngāti Pāoa has declared a ban on the gathering of certain species around the entire coastline of Waiheke. Continue reading

Treaty settlements over the Waitemata and Manukau Harbours, and the Hauraki Gulf

There is a very real danger co-governance arrangements like the Tūpuna Maunga Authority are being considered for the Waitemata and Manukau Harbours, and the Hauraki Gulf. Continue reading

Sea Change Advisory Committee appointed

The Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage and the Minister of Fisheries Stuart Nash have selected the members of the ministerial advisory committee established to support the Government’s response to the Sea Change Tai Timu Tai Pari Marine Spatial Plan. The nine-person committee includes members with expertise in commercial and Māori fishing - including four mana whenua, fisheries management, environment, law and marine science. It will be co-chaired by Paul Majurey and Catherine Harland under a co-governance model. Continue reading

The battle for the control of the Hauraki Gulf

You may have read the article ‘Saving the Gulf: tradition holds key’ published in the NZ Herald on June 24 (copy below), which promotes the idea of ahu moana - 50:50 co-management arrangements between mana whenua and local communities covering the entire coastline of the Hauraki Gulf. Regrettably, the ahu moana proposals are not the only avenue being pursued for control of the Gulf. Communications consultant Fiona McKenzie, in her article ‘Who’s Protecting the Public Interest?’ warns us of that democratic governance of the Hauraki Gulf is being threatened on three fronts. Continue reading

Update on Sea Change - the Hauraki Gulf marine spatial plan

In last month’s DA Update, we reported that the Ministries of Conservation and Fisheries are in the process of setting up a Ministerial Advisory Committee, (MAC), the purpose of which is to “help shape the proposals, facilitate engagement with our Treaty Partners and stakeholders, and provide advice and report to the three Ministers – Environment, Conservation & Fisheries.” Continue reading

Invitation to hear Councillor Mike Lee speak on the Sea Change Plan

Democracy Action invites you to an address by Mike Lee – Waitemata and Gulf Ward Councillor on Auckland Council. Mike is very concerned about proposed threats to democracy as advocated in the Sea Change Hauraki Gulf Marine Spatial Plan. He outlined his concerns in an article first published in the Gulf News on 21 June, now available on Mike’s website HERE. Continue reading

October 2018 Bonus Edition

Several members who were unable to attend our special meeting on Sunday 7th October have requested a report on the ‘Sea Change versus democracy in the Hauraki Gulf’ presentation given by Auckland Councillor Mike Lee. Mike has been a local body representative in the Auckland region for over 26 years, having lived and worked in the Hauraki Gulf and Waitemata ward for most of his life. He was invited to address Democracy Action about the power play currently underway for the control of the Gulf. Continue reading

Hauraki Gulf Forum meeting - change of date and venue. Friday 8th February

Time: 2.00pm Venue: Room 1, Level 26, 135 Albert Street Auckland The Minister for Māori Development Nanaia Mahuta is to address the Forum. Public are welcome to attend. The agenda is available HERE. Continue reading

Sea Change Plan versus democracy in the Hauraki Gulf

Auckland Councillor Mike Lee speaks out on the high stakes power play over ownership and control of the Hauraki Gulf, in an article first published in the Gulf News on 21 June.  “The Hauraki Gulf belongs to all of us and should not be handed over to a non-democratic elite and their consultant advocates”, writes Mike. Read Mike’s excellent article HERE. Continue reading

Report on Hauraki Gulf Forum meeting, 19 February 2018

Before the meeting Janet waded through the agenda and the two main reports (by the Chair and acting CEO), which revealed three key and recurring items: They are 1. To enable Mana Whenua to have a greater role in the Hauraki Gulf Forum 2. To continue work towards the “New Governance Model” Continue reading