Nearly five months after Conservation Minister Nick Smith
announced he was creating a forum to discuss creating a marine
protected area off Otago's coast, it has not eventuated.
Dr Smith told a conference last October it was time the
region had some marine protection and a forum was to be
established by the end of 2013 to present its findings to the
Government by 2015.
A call went out soon after for nominations to the Otago
Marine Protection Planning Forum and 58 nominations were
received from throughout the South Island by its close in
Those who support the formation of the forum have heard
When the Otago Daily Times requested information from
Dr Smith's office on what the delay was, it was told: ''We
are nearing the end of [the] appointment process for the
Otago MPA forum.''
An announcement on the matter would be made in ''due
course'', a spokeswoman said.
Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust general manager Sue Murray said it
was disappointing the process was taking longer than the
trust had been led to believe.
''We had hoped it would be up and operating by this time.''
It would like to understand why the deadlines Dr Smith gave
at the conference had not been met, she said.
Associate Prof Abby Smith, head of the University of Otago's
marine science department and former Otago Conservation Board
chairwoman, said every day there was no progress on marine
protection was another day for Otago's biodiversity values to
Taiaroa Head operations manager Hoani Langsbury said given
the number of nominations and that it would be a long-term
process, it was not surprising it was taking longer than
''It's better to get it right up front and get the right
people, and make the appropriate appointments.''