Regional Policy Statement 2008

Kia Ora ,

These are thoughts on the need to develop long term strategic planning for

Totaranui Queen Charlotte Sounds.

I have limited this submission to Totaranui, QCS , My knowledge of Hioere,Pelorus is limited and judgements on its future is best left to persons who are better aquainted than myself, the only suggestion is that Tenneson Inlet Worlds End and d’Urville, Is French Pass should be made into MPA’s and don’t allow those wonderful big outer Sounds inlets like Port Gore and Titirangi be made into AMA areas, it is their seclusion that makes them so special don’t allow them to be fulled up to the eyes with aquaculture

It makes me very sad to see all of those beautiful bays and inlets ruined by mussel farms& Forestry. You must restrict that and keep them out of Totaranui while it is still salvageable

Totaranui should become a National Park, it is such a special area, it is not just a national but an international treasure, it needs an act of parliament to protect her and enpower the people of Marlborough to manage her with an Intergrated Management Structure.

There is a need to take a holistic , ecosystem wide approach to Sounds management. Nothing develops in isolation, every element of nature is in someway interdependent on other creatures, animals, fish , birds, trees, insects, habitat, land water, wind, air. If our future management plans focus on only one or only part they will not be effective.

Man is not included in this list of creatures and elements because he is right at the very top of the food chain the only creature that has the potential to destroy the planet.

For hundreds of years our economies have been driven by the harvesting of natural resources we only stop when one of two things happens. Either when the resource is all gone or it has become uneconomic to harvest.!

The history of the Sounds is the story of a succession of Monocultures 80million years of isolation.

Maori period, sealing and whaling, pastoral farming, commercial fishing, forestry, aquaculture, tourism, and the latest subdivision and development.

Most monocultures although initially successful fail long term because they fail to acknowledge that you need a healthy balanced environment .


Hundreds of years ago Maori developed the concept of Kaitiakitanga, based upon acknowledgement that their future survival was dependant on them harvesting in a sustainable way.

Maori weren’t the only ones to reach this level of understanding the Eskimo, American Indian with their circle of life concept , the aboriginal, the African bushman.

Europeans on the other hand developed Christianity and placed God above nature and then along came the industrial revolution and we’ve been going backwards ever since.

The MDC need to embrace the concept of Kaitiakitanga, and make it a core value, the responsibility to protect and enhance the natural environment. Put it at the top of your mission statement. NZ Tourism has done just that which is just wonderful, MDC should follow their lead !

Natural Capital ;

In the last 10 yrs that I’ve been involved with environmental issues

Decisions made by MDC and other agencies like DOC, MOF have always been swayed by the economic argument. How much revenue does a company put into the Marlborough economy, how many jobs do they create, how many other businesses will benefit from the downstream effect.

How much will the MDC be able to profit from this industry which we are seeing more and more through the council owned subsidiaries of forestry, rubbish collection and Port Company.

The council receive an annual dividend that they inturn use to underight the rates .

This is wrong we have ended up with the tail wagging the dog. The Port company in particular have and will continue to grow to develop infrastructure that is priced beyond the ability of most Marlbarians to be able to afford.

These developments will alienate the Port Company and the Council from the community it is supposed to represent until the situation reaches flash point.

Good management would not allow this situation to develop the developments are targeting the rich and are creating a them and us scenario.

The natural resources of the Sounds are in a state of collapse, we have lost over 87% of our fish stocks in the last 5 yrs alone, kaimoana stocks have been stripped for sale on Asian markets, the Cook strait ferries in the last 10 yrs have devastated the benthic community beaches and banks all along their route from Tory channel entrance to Anakiwa .

Measures adopted where successful in getting rid of Fast Ferries but at speeds of up to 25 knots with the tide these ships are still travelling too fast !

As we have been continually saying to council any ship that exceeds 15 knots will cause damage and continuous erosion.

This situation is unacceptable and needs to be addressed. The Grandfather Clause must go.

Any ship using the Sounds should be made to abide by rules that ensure that they are not causing damage. Every ship that traverses the sounds causes erousion and damage, the council have closed their eyes and ears to the damage to protect their investment in the Page 3.

Port Company. Long term, putting economics ahead of the environment will be our undoing.

The Sounds 50 yrs ago with the exception of the Maori or DOC reserves were all in grass, as pastoral farming become uneconomic they were sold off and the regeneration of native forest began our old people used to say that we can’t wait 200 yrs for the native trees to recover so we should plant pines, creating industry, revenue and jobs.

This industry was allowed to grow without long term planning, no thought was given to the issues of what harvesting methods should be employed to prevent erosion and

siltation of wetlands and filling our bays with mud smothering our kaimoana beds.

Wilding pines ,who’s responsible for their eradication. No thought has been given to what becomes of an uneconomic forest that is not replanted.

No plans for adequate roading or barging sites set aside for getting the logs to market.

Effects ;

The Sounds is turning into one great big exotic pine tree forest because of the effects of wilding pines.

Our local community was terrorised by at times having up to 100 trucks a day on roads unsuitable for heavy traffic.

The effect of wilding pines on the landscape values and the negative impact on tourism is massive, Tourists will not travel from the other side of the world to look at pine tress.

Many of our few remaining wetland areas and bays have been smothered by siltation. Brought about by harvesting practises adopted by forest managers and contractors to maximise profits by taking short cuts.

Much of this occurs because the MDC is negligent in their responsibility of monitoring and compliance. Money is taken for resource consents that have insufficient conditions imposed with very little to no monitoring and compliance.

The industry have developed the attitude that it is easier to ask for forgiveness than permission.

Fish dolphins and kaimoana stocks have collapsed, there is no colour left in the Sounds bush because the possums have eaten all the fruit and berries necessary to feed the birds, with the exception of the island bird sanctuaries. You can go to any bay in the Sounds and not see or hear a single bird because they have been devastated by introduced pests. I am an Eco -Tour operator !

So what can we do to turn this all around?

We have to decide what would the Sounds be like in 400 years and develop long term strategic plans to achieve those goals.

Rule makers and decision makers need to adopt Kaitiakitanga they need to appreciate that our natural environment is in fact our Natural Capital that natural capital needs to be maintained.

What is NZ’s and Marlboroughs biggest earner….. Tourism, … What do tourists want to see,….. dolphins, native birds, native bush, fish, nice beaches, clean water to swim in,

lean water to drink, breath unpolluted fresh air. Not too crowded.

These are all achievable goals,

My whanau have lived in the sounds for generations originally as sounds bushmen and farmers, my Great grandfather slashed and burnt the bush , my grandfather spent half his live pulling out stumps, in my fathers time the farm become uneconomic and was sold.

I’ve spent 50 yrs living in the Sounds, as a boat builder, engineer, batch and wharf builder, commercial fisherman and finally self employed eco-tour operator.

I’ve spent the last 10 years nearly every day on the water. It has taught me a lot about the interrelationships between Dolphins fish and birds, about migrational patterns , about the decline in fish stocks , the waste, the arrogance, ignorance and stupidity of Sounds users and the corruption that exists within our agencies mainly by people who are influenced by friends or associates with vested interest.

I have battled long and hard to protect and restore the Sounds much of which is to is to help change mind sets and influence decision makers. I’m getting tired but I have faith in this process you are going through.

I’ve fought for the Sounds, been threatened , ( many times, ) been sacked, been a victim of entrapment ,arrested ,had my vessel arrested and been threatened with jail, as a result of all this I have given a lot of thought into how we could restore and enhance the natural environment. I know it can never be what it once was but we can manage what we have left it is not too late.


What should the Sounds be like in 400 yrs time, how many batches and homes, in what areas, what infrastructure eg sewage runoff, how many launch services, how many boats should each business be allowed to own, and consider that if you limit the numbers will we end up with the same scenario as that which resulted with the quota management system were all the business are bought out by multinationals or large companies ?

I don’t know the answer to that but believe it is important to limit numbers of operators.

How many tourists do we want how many can our infrastructure handle, do we want backpackers or top end tourists, do we gear up for overnighters or design our tourism strategy around people who stay for a week in the Marlborough Nelson Region.

Put strategies in place to restore and enhance the Natural Capital, It needs to be made into a National Park with an Integrated Management plan so that Marlborough people can manage our own resources.

If you get individual people or agencies to develop a plan they will come up with a plan to maximise their own profits or business, but if you get a committee comprised of all the Stakeholders who collectively have the best interests of the whole province at heart, then peer pressure will ensure that they will come up with the best result.

Problem with the agency system is that they wont criticize each other.

The Sounds needs an Eco centre, nominate an area of the most importance like the Hector

Dolphin habitat, and ban all bottom dredging and set netting, but not recreational fishing or diving, this would be to stop habitat destruction and give the habitat a chance to recover, provide more feed and support more fish.

The rest of the Sounds should have in depth ecological quantative surveys done on a bay by bay basis, some of this has already been conducted by MDC .

This data needs to be assessed and a sustainable level of fish and kaimoana stocks needs to be worked out , the bays should be closed to all forms of fishing until that level is reached and then first opened to Customary take, then Recreational take ,but only to the People who hold fishing licenses for that bay. , on.that basis the whole Sound with the exception of the marine reserve areas should be still able to be fished with a sustainable rotationally grazed management plan.

Although some bays like Ship Cove, Resolution and Double Cove should be closed and made into Marine reserves No Take Areas.

When science finally comes clean about the adverse effects caused by salmon and mussel farms a responsible council should ban them from the Sounds, The Sounds Plan designated the Queen charlotte as a recreational area and there should be no aquaculture farms in this Sounds full stop. Each salmon farm deposits more waste on the sea bed every day than the amount of sewerage from a town of over 20,000 people, they are the biggest polluters of our Sounds and should be got rid of !

Who’s going to pay for all this research, we know that we cannot trust the bent science that you get as a result of ecological surveys done by reports that are paid for by developers so its imperative that any Baseline , quantities surveys and future work that will need to be carried out to achieve a sustainable intergrated management structure for the Sounds are conducted by science providers that are independent of industry and paid for by Council.

To provide this revenue stream council need to bring in Coastal Occupancy charges and all the aquaculture farms in the Marlborough Sounds need to be rated per sq metre.

How many recreational boats can the Sounds safely and realistically accommodate ?

At the moment we have at least 400 runabouts a day in the sounds during peak periods, I know because I’ve counted the empty trailers , that’s not counting the six hundred odd launches in marinas and moorings.

We know that the Port Company intends to double its marina size in Waikawa Bay , build dry stacks and there is talk of new marinas in Shakespeare bay.

What I know is that as soon as they build the facilities the boats will appear, we need to Page 5.

put the issue of profits and returns to council to one side and realistically ask ourselves when is enough enough ! Or is council prepared to create another Sanpan alley.

Would you like to see a commercial coal and log port built at the head of Milford Sound ?

Of caurse you wouldn’t and yet that is what has been created at the head of our Sound.

It was wrong to make the Sound into an industrial area, and for the purpose of long term planing we should plan to get rid of the industrial port of Shakespeare Bay .

Picton is a tourist town that is where our future lies, in a few short years the inshore fishing will be decimated the Picton fishing fleet is all but gone now.

I have been careful over the years never to support the Clifford Bay concept, but for a 400 year plan I do , Marlborough does need an export port , develop Clifford Bay and move the log exports out to there, the Interisland ferries could travel as fast as they like without wrecking our Sound , it would be a win win situation, and Picton will develop as a holiday destination.

Picton is Full where will it expand in the future, question answered, get rid of port Shakespeare and develop Shakespeare bay as a residential area, it is such a beautiful bay and deserves better.

The Picton Community has already sent you clear messages, we don’t want Picton turned into a dirty stinking coal dump like Lyttleton we wont sit back and be poisoned by industrial gasses from the Port, this is primarily a tourist town don’t ruin it by making it into an industrial zone !

On the subject of Forestry, the MDC negotiated with Rayonier to put in a barging site and they barge out all the logs destined for export, this has taken the majority of the logging trucks off the Port Underwood Rd which was never designed for heavy traffic,

But they still run the logs for the domestic mills by road, I fail to see why all the logs cannot come out by barge and keep all logging trucks off Port Underwood Road.

The mussel industry have huge barges now so they should have to ship their mussels by barge around to Picton also to keep the huge truck and trailers off the road, these are even more dangerous and damaging than the logging trucks.

Why should Marlborough rate payers have to constantly repair the road when the damage is mainly caused by two industries.

Air quality,

The recent debacle over the use of Methyl bromide highlighted the fact that MDC don’t have an up to date effective air plan . This was an example of spray drift, an issue that MDC need to come to grips with, Marlborough probably uses more chemicals herbicides and pesticides than any other region in NZ.

It is wrong that any company can put profits ahead of the health and safety of workers and community , any chemicals used should be monitored ,the company should have a resource consent with conditions that require a Safety Case, with a risk analysis to identify all the perceived risks and look at ways and means to eliminate or minimise risk.

Vineyards should put up signage and personally contact any neighbours in the vicinity. All workers using chemical sprays should have to wear coveralls gloves and gas masks that are rated for the chemicals being used and the only workers allowed to carry out spraying need to be certified and trained in their use, so that they are fully understanding of all the ramifications. They should Never be used whenever other workers are in the area, and Never used when there is a wind that is able to blow the toxins over and onto neighbouring properties.

Wherever possible industry should be encouraged to use alternatives to poisonous chemical.

All chemicals used need to be stored in a building that has a resource consent for use as such with conditions of use.

Any poisonous gases used for fumigations should be required to be filtered and if possible recaptured.

Any workers using isocyanides need to be using the right safety equipment and clothing, so many of my old co workers have suffered from health problems due to paints and fibreglass resins.

Water quality,

Water quality testing needs to be carried out for levels of nitrogen , and if found to be excessive like around fish farms for instance then the problems need to be addressed.

Many of the bays in the Sounds have up to a dozen batches, if more than 4 should be made to put in a proper sewerage treatment system ..

Drinking water,

With the amount of houses on the shoreline around to Karaka Pt and around to Whatamango bay these houses should all be on town water supply.

If the Graham aquifer is tapped it would be hugely beneficial if the supply was pumped around the Port Underwood Rd so that these properties can tap into it.

Last couple of yrs many of these properties have had to truck in water.

Forestry ;

The resource consent process needs to ensure that the most environmentally sensitive techniques for forest harvest are used. Historically there have often been cases of forestry owners / managers / log buyers applying for a resource consent that specifies the use of a correct, environmentally sensitive cable harvesting technique. Upon issuance of the consent, the consent holder has then taken a cheaper, more destructive route to harvest. The Council’s lack of enforcement in ensuring that the original consent conditions are fulfilled makes a mockery of the whole system.

The Marlborough Sounds is considered to be one of the most sensitive environments in New Zealand for commercial forest extraction. Unfortunately, this is matched by one of the country’s poorest displays of sensitive forest management. Many regions in New

Zealand require Best Management Practices and Environmental Management Systems to be in place, and to be closely used. There is a distinct lack of such systems in Marlborough. The forestry industry needs to be encouraged to adopt such systems, and to force out those contractors and companies who are not willing to comply.

Forest Owners need to be provided with some financial and planning assistance to allow a transition from exotic forest back to native forest. Council must lobby central Government to allow such a transition to occur within the bounds of the current climate change policies that are being developed. The potential for landowners to benefit from carbon sequestration policies must be examined.

As mentioned earlier the RPS needs to address several grey areas in forestry management, Companies who we have chastised for their bad harvesting practises admit they are wrong to use these practises, but until council deems them unlawful, and until council employs staff to monitor and enforce compliance issues they have to use these practises to enable them to stay in business.

What they want is a level playing field, for example if a management company gives a qoute to harvest a block using environmental good practise techniques, that forestry companies like Rayonier have as part of the codes of practise, they would get no work because there are contractors who will put in cheaper qoutes using short cut techniques that are quicker, and require less men and much less equipment but have disastrous effects on the natural environment.

In a coastal zone like the Sounds , where the streams, peoples water supplies, wetland areas , native flora and fauna, kaimoana beds, beaches , peoples batches and back yards that are vulnerable to slips and siltation it is imperative that strict guidelines are put in place and enforced.

Ground based logging is to blame for most of these issues, this is where they cut a track for a bull dozer or skidder, fell all the trees below for 50 metres or more then use their winch to haul the logs up to the track, they then cut subsequent tracks all the way down the hill side .

This is the cheapest and most profitable way to harvest, but it is an environmental disaster and should never be used in the Sounds because when the spring rains come we end up with hundreds of tons of clay and silt in the bays.

We have tried to get council to impose water quality testing to determine the amount of siltation and they have refused to impose this as a condition of the resource consents.

If this system was in place and the creeks and bays were subject to unacceptable levels of siltation the harvest would have to stop and issues addressed.

In the Sounds companies should be made to use skyline haulers to one ridgeline track, and to where ever possible avoid cutting tracks across hillsides, and skid sites need to be regularly monitored to ensure that they are adequately benched and the swarf does not cause potential landslides.

The other system that should be encouraged is the flying fox concept where they fly the logs down onto a moored barge. This is the best system but is slower than conventional method and will not be used unless council make its use mandatory for all harvesting in catchments in coastal margins.

Other provisos should be the use of debri dams, and efficient silt traps that are regularly cleaned out, no felling of logs into creeks and streams and no trees or trimmings to be dropped into the sea or left on queens chain.

These measures would mean that marginal forests would become uneconomic, after they are harvested for the last time their needs to be a regulation that makes it mandatory for them to helicoptor spray to kill off wilding pine regrowth and to reseed with manuka, kanuka, or tawhini , a nursery crop to facillitate the regrowth of native bush.

We need another condition that states that all logs being brought out of PortUnderwood and the Sounds need to be barged not brought out by truck, both Export and Domestic logs.

Obviously these provisions are not able to be applied under current rules because they where not conditions of the original resource consents . We need new rules, and we need personal experienced in harvesting techniques to carry out monitoring and compliance.

You need to create a Level Playing Field ..

If these export logs are to be fumigated this operation needs to have a resource consent that complies with the new Air Plan and should only be allowed with the proviso that the fumigations are air tight and that the gases are recaptured and destroyed.

Council need also to designate Wilding pines as pests in their Pest control strategy we have enquired about this many times and been told that you can’t because they are a commercial species.

Surely all you have to do is create a strategy that differentiates between commercial forestry plantations and wilding pines !

At the very least council should give every support to groups like the Marlborough Sounds Restoration trust who are trying to raise funds for Wilding pine eradication programs.

Council should also be encouraging the replanting and establishment of native forest plantations in the Sounds, it is very encouraging to see council working with DOC and the community on Mainland Island Projects.

I apologize for sending you such a long submission, that is not in your formate, hope that you can make sense of it all, and keep up the good work, this long term planning is absolutely essential. And I would like to have further involvement.

Noho Ora Mai,

Pete & Takutai Beech .

Guardians Of The Sounds.