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New Zealand: concern expressed at plan to dredge Whangarei Harbour

News // March 20, 2017

Newshub.co.nz reports that the company running the Marsden Point Oil refinery says it understands concerns at its plans to dredge Whangarei Harbour. It wants a deeper, straighter channel to take bigger ships, moving 3.7 million cubic metres of sand.

However, Patuharakeke trustee Juliane Chetham says they're worried about the impact on shellfish and marine mammals. "The majority of tangata whenua think the harbour is already in a degraded state, and we are quite concerned of the cumulative effect of this proposal on top of the industrial projects that have already happened," she told Newshub.

"Given the state of the pipi and mussel beds, we're quite worried. We'd prefer the harbour was left alone."

Refining NZ chief executive Sjoerd Post saying they're willing to listen to local Māori and community groups.

"There are a large number of concerns - what is the impact on whales, what is the impact on orcas, what will happen to the sandbanks - and that's why we have spent a considerable amount of money getting consultants in to tell us well, if you dredge the harbour, these are all the consequences."

Refining NZ says dredging the Whangarei Harbour is vital to ensuring the refinery stays competitive. Currently ships can only enter the harbour under loaded, which isn't cost effective.

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