National | Environment

Group back to court over ‘toxic’ sludge dump off Coromandel

A group trying to prevent 2,000,000 cubic metres of dredging sludge from the Hauraki Gulf being dumped off Repanga/ Cuvier Island isheading to the High Court to challenge the way the Environment Court granted approval to the project.

Protect Aotea has battled Ports of Auckland plans to drop dredge waste in the area southeast of Aotea Great Barrier Island and northeast of the Coromandel for three years; the group says the waste is contaminated with heavy metals, waterborne disease and invasive species that will destroy the environment and fishing grounds that Mana Moana relies on for kai.

Spokesperson Kelly Klink says today’s appeal rests on the latest Ports of Auckland application being non-notified’, meaning tangata moana weren’t given the opportunity to properly oppose it, something she says violates the Treaty.

“We are of the view that the dredging disposal is in breach of the Crown’s treaty obligation to deal with Māori in the utmost good faith.  And the Environment Court has compounded that breach by refusing to consider the cultural and other effects of the dumping when considering the RMA dredging consent within its jurisdiction,” she said.

Klink says the group will ask the High Court if the Environment Court has jurisdiction over issues relating to tangata moana.