Harbour Management

Date: 06/04/2016

Current Situation

Over a century of fragmented management has left the Manukau Harbour in its current, poor condition. Multiple local bodies and state departments such as the Department of Conservation has meant no one group has taken responsibility for the long term health of the whole harbour and management of its use.

Creation of Auckland Council in 2010 means for the first time, the harbour is now within one local authority, but 9 local boards have jurisdiction of its foreshore. Auckland Council created the Manukau Harbour Forum (MHF) made up of representatives of those 9 local boards, and despite having no budget or dedicated staff, the MHF is attempting to focus Auckland Council on key harbour-wide issues such as water quality. MHRS works closely with the MHF on all issues. 

For more information on MHRS’s  Visitor Study and support for redevelopment of the Port of Onehunga, sponsored by the MHF click HERE

For information on the Manukau Harbour Forum'’s activities click HERE

One problematic side of the creation of Auckland Council, it is now owner of Watercare, regulator of Watercare, grantor of resource consents for Watercare, writer of consent conditions and supposedly enforcer of Watercare’s resource consent conditions. And this tangle of responsibilities is repeated for functions such as stormwater and transportation. The classic case of the fox looking after the chicken coop has been created. On major harbour issues such as water quality, MHRS believes Auckland Council has a vested interest in continuing discharges into the harbour and is not adequately fulfilling its role as enforcer of existing tough consent conditions designed to restore water quality. 

And there are still huge gaps and fragmentation of functions such as provision of emergency services and facilities, maintenance of navigational aids, provision of ramps, jetties and wharves and so forth. And who is leading the charge to restore the fish breeding grounds and improving shellfish quality?

MHRS believes the solution lies in the creation of a Manukau Harbour authority.

What the harbour needs: A Harbour Authority

While creation of Auckland Council and the Manukau Harbour Forum are steps in the right direction, MHRS believes they are not enough to return the harbour to health, to reopen it to recreational and transportation use and safeguard its precious natural resources. 

MHRS has long been a proponent of the creation of a Manukau Harbour authority. It must have: an independent, powerful and dedicated board including community representatives; staff;  an ongoing revenue stream and budget ; and the authority to make decisions for the good of the whole harbour, to restore the harbour’s health and provide facilities to serve Auckland’s growing recreation and transportation needs. 

Settlement of WAI-8 Treaty claims may provide a step towards the creation of such an authority.  The governance model for the Waikato River may provide a model for the Manukau.

Action is needed immediately.