Great Barrier Island Local Board Candidates Respond
This special edition of Environmental News focuses on responses received from
the ten Local Board candidates to questions regarding Great Barrier’s natural environment. 

IZZY FORDHAM
 
What are your environmental aspirations for Great Barrier Island?

To protect and improve our natural surroundings, both terrestrial and marine, whilst developing a path forward that enables our community to have a balance between its human and environmental needs. I believe our economic future lies in the enhancement and protection of our natural environment and would love to see the reintroduction of some of our lost and threatened species.

What do you see as the conservation priorities for Great Barrier?

Creating an environment that supports and nurtures our existing flora and fauna and fosters the introduction of other endangered species. I see marine protection as being equally important and see real economic benefits from the introduction of some form of marine reserve which would provide employment for our residents and educational opportunities for the region. I favour a commercial fishing exclusion zone around the island that still recognizes the rights of our local independent operators.

How do you see progress in biodiversity protection of the island?

I believe that retaining the Local Board’s Environmental and Strategy Planning Committee is the key. Through that committee there is the means to gauge the community’s aspirations on biodiversity and the mechanism to deliver on the recommendations and objectives presented.

Border control is also important. We are vulnerable to the incursion by unwanted pests so control, scrutiny and education at mainland departure points would be of immense value – proactive rather than reactive.

If elected to the Local Board what more than anything else will you hope to have achieved for the protection of the Barrier’s natural environment by the end of your three years on the Board?

An improvement in our natural environment that prevents further species loss and increases the population and food source for our existing fauna.

I would like to see an improvement in the quality of our waterways and our surrounding marine environment. If I could find the pathway forward that accommodates both the needs and desires of our community and the protection and enhancement of our natural environment then I would be very happy.

Are you in favour of the new Local Board continuing the Environmental Strategy Planning Committee initiative?

Yes

SUE DALY

What are your environmental aspirations for GBI?

Turn the tide on species decline, restore abundant marine life, and bring back the dawn chorus of birds.

What do you see as the conservations priorities for GBI?

Habitat restoration, increased pest management, immediate full protection of known severely threatened species eg black petrels.

How do you see progress in biodiversity protection of the island? 

Its a bit lame. There’s not much we can do to speed up the regeneration of the forested areas, but we can get on with improving our human impact ie sharing the place without contaminating it.

If elected to the Local Board what, more than anything else, will you hope to have achieved for the protection of the Barrier’s natural environment by the end of your three years on the board?

Much improved local recognition, appreciation, knowledge and ownership of the environment. It’s a priceless asset, and irreplaceable. It’s key to our economic and physical health.

Are you in favour of the new Local Board continuing the Environmental Strategy Planning Committee initiative?

Yes.

JUDE GILBERT

What are your environmental aspirations for Great Barrier Island?

Protection of the island’s environment is fundamental to its social, economic, and environmental wellbeing. My immediate aspiration is that the Local Board leads a series of robust community consultations on how best we protect the ecology of the island now and for our grandchildrenA. In the long term, a rat and feral cat free island would be awesome with people and native species thriving.

What do you see as the conservation priorities for Great Barrier?

Conservation priorities are:
1. Lifting the status of the DoC conservation land on Great Barrier so it can not be mined oAr exploited for oil
2. Protecting the biodiversity through island wide pest management or eradication
3. Putting in place some form of whole island marine protection while safeguarding the marine foodbasket for locals and visitors.

How do you see progress in biodiversity protection of the island?

Very slow. Of the 28,000 hectares that is Great Barrier only a tiny percentage has any form of native species protection in place – Windy Hill/Rosalie Bay, the Broken Islands, Motu Kaikoura, Motuhaku, and Glenfern sanctuary.
We have masses of extraordinary habitat in our forests and regenerating areas but unless we stop the nightly onslaught of rats and feral cats these areas will continue to loose species until our forests are still and silent.

If elected to the Local Board what more than anything else will you hope to have achieved for the protection of the Barrier’s natural environment by the end of your three years on the Board?

By then I would like to have supported a host of environmental projects and have a clear mandate from the community on how they would like to see the biodiversity of the island protected. Such a mandate would have been gained from a series of meetings, discussions, surveys, one to one chats, and so on. The protection wanted for the island can then be progressed by the Board with community groups, Council, DoC, and Government.

Are you in favour of the new Local Board continuing the Environmental Strategy Planning Committee initiative?

Yes.

NIKKI WATTS

What are your environmental aspirations for Great Barrier Island?

To live in a place where the bird call is loud and strong.
To have no/minimal use of poisons in the environment.
To help secure the re-release of the Kokako and see they spread over the Island again.
Plenty of fish and sealife in our waters.

What do you see as the conservation priorities for Great Barrier?

Decreased use of poisons especially near waterways.
Private land owners assisted with rabbit and rat control by trapping, consider a bounty on rabbit tails to make removal economically viable.
Continued reduction in the Minor bird population.
Control the spread of kauri die back disease, consider the closing of high infestation areas, ascertain the methods of spoor dispersion to ensure the control measures are targeting of the correct culprit.

How do you see progress in biodiversity protection of the island?

More bird release programs as pest numbers are lowered.

Chevron skink locations mapped and land owners encouraged to care for the areas. Presently land owners are too scared to admit sightings in fear of having their land ‘locked up’.

Research into wild life corridors around the island to allow the natural spreading of the introduced and existing wildlife. Spreading the population around the Island will help safeguard against life threatening disasters within isolated populations.

If elected to the Local Board what more than anything else will you hope to have achieved for the protection of the Barrier’s natural environment by the end of your three years on the Board?

Real and meaningful recycling that stops landowners from dumping rubbish on their land now that the rubbish collection has changed.

Coastline cleaned of rubbish annually and protection of our inshore fisheries from commercial netting and dredging, possible local fishing industry again (longline fishing and cray pots).

Are you in favour of the new Local Board continuing the Environmental Strategy Planning Committee initiative?

Unsure.

CHRISTINE SPENCE

What are your environmental aspirations for Great Barrier Island?

Preservation, protection and restoration of the natural environment on conservation estate. Protection and restoration of archeological, historical and cultural sites including buildings. Environmental aspirations for private property to be a decision made by the landowner with the SUPPORT and EDUCATION from the appropriate authorities. I would like to see special coastal areas created into mataitai or taiapure, controlled by locals with a no-take in spawning season in the Gulf. I would not support an island-wide poison drop.

What do you see as the conservation priorities for Great Barrier Island?

Conservation begins in your own backyard, private property owners to persevere with their aspirations. Dealing with Kauri Die Back, protection of Black petrel nesting sites. Leaving flourishing brown teal flocks to do what they are doing best without interference of monitoring with dogs. Dogs on leads on beaches to protect birdlife or provide free bird aversion training. Trapping opposed to poisoning, unopposed clearing of creeks to stop flooding of productive land and nesting sites. Ecosourcing and protection of Great Barriers endemic seeds.

How do you see progress in biodiversity of the island?

Biodiversity on DOC estate with trapping and poisons is slowly gaining control of pests. Private initiatives with huge governmental funding are also serving a purpose. I do question the longterm effects on the environment, ocean, streams and us humans through the use of poisons. There are some excellent developments in traps that requires little manpower to monitor. Progress with hunting permits and concessions controls wild pig populations.

If elected to the Local Board what more than anything else will you hope to have achieved for the protection of the Barrier’s natural environment by the end of your three years on the Board?

Listen to the community and advocate to the appropriate organisations and authorities.
Education and support for best practice in regards to individuals aspirations for their land.
Zero waste, better recycling, reduce, reuse.
Support new initiatives for example free ammunition as rewards for rabbit tails, cash back rewards for recycling .
Continue with Marine Protection initiatives already in progress by the current local board.
Progress and development that provides for our social, spiritual, economic and cultural wellbeing yet supports the integrity of our environment whilst doing so.

Are you in favour of the new Local Board continuing the Environmental Strategy Planning Committee initiative?

Yes.

Both of the following candidates chose not to answer our questions but to provide a campaign statement which we have printed below.

JEFFERY CLEAVE

We the community of Aotea (Great Barrier Island) have been blessed with the paradise we live on. Small, diverse and isolated as our community is we are all responsible for our island, both individually and collectively.

We all have the role of looking after and maintaining this island and the surrounding islands to at least the standard that they are now.

It should always be the goal to better oneself and one’s environment.

So, what can I do? Listen……I would then love the opportunity to speak to these issues with OUR community voice.

 

 

MARGARET DALY

I have a dedicated interest in all aspects of life and living on Great Barrier Island. Although it takes its own level of hardiness to live here, I also regard it as a great privilege to be able to make my home on Great Barrier and to enjoy both the spectacular environment and supportive community.

If I was elected as a member of the Local Board for the next three years I would expect to quickly become aware of the current status of all environmental issues and then work with both the other board members and the community to address any concerns.  I am wholeheartedly interested in the protective management of the environment believing that we all have a mandate to care for the fauna, flora and elements that comprise our planet.

I take seriously all matters relating to the protection of areas or species under any threat of damage or injury and would work for improved awareness within the community to identify solutions and implement them.
 

ANNE KERNOHAN

What are your environmental aspirations for Great Barrier Island?

I would like to see GBI moving towards being the Worlds largest pest-free Island with the resultant benefits, as seen on islands such as Tiritiri Matangi and in our own island sanctuaries . Such as a return of the dawn chorus and abundant birdlife and the not so visible effects on the microflora and fauna which would result from the land returning to a more healthy balanced ecosystem.

I would also like to see the establishment of a sizeable Marine Protected Area to help restore the health of our Oceans.


What do you see as the conservation priorities for Great Barrier?

The preservation of endangered species.
Strategies to deal with pollution
 – of inland waterways from leaking sewage systems and agricultural runoff.
– of the marine environment worldwide, plastics and fishing nets are a major problem, as well as oil spills.
– on land: from our powerplants, leaking diesel and oil, old batteries and our endless rubbish.
Rat and rabbit eradication.

How do I see progress in the biodiversity protection of the Island?

  I believe the establishment of the ESPC has raised awareness of Environmental issues in the community, as well as the ongoing work of the GBICT.
While I do not know of any data that accurately indicates that there has been an improvement in biodiversity, I believe this goal is widely supported on the Island and is therefore achievable.

If elected to the Local Board what more than anything else will you hope to have achieved for the protection of the Barrier’s natural environment by the end of your three years on the Board?

Humans has been responsible for the damage to our environment and it is the responsibility of us to put this right.

I would like to help put realistic systems and guidelines in place  to begin to repair this damage so
that we can pass on guardianship to future inhabitants of the Island.

Am I in favour of the new Local Board continuing the Environmental Strategy Planning Committee initiative?

Yes
 

NATHAN LAVEN

What are your environmental aspirations for Great Barrier Island?

1. Less dependence on fossil fuels ie less diesel/petrol generators and more alternative energy systems – solar, wind, & hydro.
2. Reduced carbon footprint by sourcing food locally, reducing carbon emissions, promoting alternative transport ie cycling, walking & public transport.
3. Improved waste management systems, with recycling initiatives to reduce land fill waste.
4. Movement away from use of poisons. Ie no 1080, rat traps without toxic bait, weeding by hand versus spray.
5. GE free, organic food crops.

What do you see as the conservation priorities for Great Barrier?

1. Supporting greater protection of our Conservation estate ie upgrading the status to Conservation Area or National Park.
2. Continued protection of native birds such as Pateke and re-introduced species ie North Island Robin, Kakariki, & Kokako.
3. Establishment of Marine Reserve in a format agreeable with residents.
4. Continued diligence on invasive weed eradication and native replantings.
5. Greater cooperation, stronger partnerships between DOC, ACC & local environmental groups/trusts.

How do you see progress in biodiversity protection of the island?

Although it could always be better I believe progress is very good.
1. Kauri Dieback is being addressed with cleaning stations and education.
2. Working format on Marine Reserve Proposal is being developed.
3. Rat eradication programs are gaining momentum.
4. Several organizations involved in bird protection and species reintroduction.
5. Excellent invasive weed eradication programs with DOC and Envirokiwi.

If elected to the Local Board what more than anything else will you hope to have achieved for the protection of the Barrier’s natural environment by the end of your three years on the Board?

More than anything else, I hope that by being part of the next Local Board team we leave Aoteas’ natural environment in a better state than how we found it.

Are you in favour of the new Local Board continuing the Environmental Strategy Planning Committee initiative?

YES, and I plan to attend the next ESPC meeting 25/9/2013.
 

EDWARD (TED) SCOTT

What are your environmental aspirations for Great Barrier Island?

Since I first visited in1967, then settled permanently in1984 I have noticed a decline in the bio diversity of the Island. Invasive species, including pines, wasps, and veroa mite have adversely changed the ecology to name but a few of the problems that the Island now face. In my opinion, the Barrier effectively cannot aspire to protect the remaining pockets of natural habitat without considerable professional human intervention. I will promote active intervention, as non-action, as I have seen with the passing of time, has resulted in degradation.

What do you see as the conservation priorities for Great Barrier Island?

I believe that innovative thinking and funding is required. It is possible to create a physical protection zone similar to Mount Bruce reserve on the Barrier where surviving species can be maintained in a non-chemical controlled environment. This could be built on DOC administered low eco value areas (ie existing pine forest) by utilising a private enterprise/DOC partnership as funding sources. This might involve developing a processed waste burial site initially within the confines of an enclosure as a pre-curser to the establishment of the protective “ark”. The first priority is “protect what we have, and to dispel the delusion that Mother Nature will “fix it” It is up to us to wake up.

How do you see progress in biodiversity of the island?

The Hon Nick Smith announced a grant of $190,000 to de-rat Rakitu/Arid Island (327Ha) is great, but to equate this spending level to Great Barrier Island to eradicate rats alone would amount to over $17 Million. To achieve anything like these numbers the Island community will need to initiate projects that could be self-funded through with the involvement of DOC and Auckland City and private enterprise. We can never expect bulk funding from the City or Central Government, as a result under funding has been a significant factor in bio diversity degradation.

If elected to the Local Board what more than anything else will you hope to have achieved for the protection of the Barrier’s natural environment by the end of your three years on the Board?

During my term I hope I can initiate an innovative scheme that is ongoing, which can have multiple benefits, financial, employment, and natural environmental. The days of thinking one electoral term are over as a concerned Island community we need to think of the next hundred years. All I can hope to achieve is to start a new line of action.

Are you in favour of the new Local Board continuing the Environmental Strategy Planning Committee initiative?

Yes.