New Zealand will have access to shipping services from larger vessels with the granting of resource consents to widen and deepen the Port of Tauranga, Conservation Minister Dr Nick Smith announced yesterday.
“I have granted these consents, on the recommendation of the Environment Court, because of the importance for New Zealand of efficient shipping services. The comprehensive conditions in place will ensure the environment is protected,” Dr Smith says.
“These consents will enable the Port of Tauranga to proceed with the dredging of the entrance and shipping lanes to accommodate `S’ class vessels. Conditions of the consent require restoration of the pipi beds, creation of an artificial reef and careful placement of the dredged sand in approved locations.
“I am disappointed that it has taken nearly four years for a final decision to be made on these consents. This is one of the last being dealt with under the old RMA. The Government’s 2009 reforms would mean future consents of this type would be determined by the Environmental Protection Authority, rather than the Minister, and within nine months.
“These consents will enable ships capable of carrying up to 8000 containers to service New Zealand – double the capacity of vessels currently heading here. The efficiency gains of these larger ships for our exporters and importers have been estimated at more than $300 million per year. These sorts of productivity gains are essential for New Zealand to achieve the Government’s Business Growth Agenda goal of increasing exports from 30 to 40 per cent of GDP.”
Press Release, March 6, 2013