Driving on the sandspit

The sandspit at the mouth of the Waikanae River is precious, for people and for birds, and is recognised as such.  It is a Scientific Reserve and driving along the beach is banned.  In real life many people drive across and damage it, particularly in whitebaiting season.

The Kapiti Coast District Council (KCDC) gives permits to anyone asking for one, to drive along the beach expressedly for whitebaiting (but not in the Scientific Reserve!).  Whitebait of course come up the river, and these people ignore the limits of the permission to drive across the sandspit.

This is unacceptable.

I expressed my concerns (as a newcomer to a long list of concerned people over the years) in the Public Participation time, to the KCDC on Thursday 1 March and to an iwi committee (Te Whakaminenga o Kapiti) on Tuesday 6 March.

An open letter

This is an open letter to the Kapiti Coast District Council and the iwi representation committee, outlining my two presentations and inviting an answer to some key questions.  It is being provided to Kapiti Independent News, Waikanae Watch, some Department of Conservation contacts, the Guardians of the Kapiti Marine Reserve, and several others.

The responses

It was clear that both groups were well aware of the situation; I was saying nothing new.

The responses were very different.

  • KCDC members were supportive
  • The iwi committee gave little response.  There was no expression of concern, referring the matter to a sub-committee and stating some special, but unspecified 1840 rights.

Neither answered the questions I put.

  • The KCDC did not tell me where they think people are whitebaiting when it gives permits, or why they issue these strange permits (which have no value if the limits are observed).  There was but no indication of action.
  • The iwi committee did not tell me if they wished to protect this treasured environment, or if they might tell iwi members to stop driving over the sandspit.

I try again here

I would like to put those questions again to the two groups.  Let’s put it right, first of all with a bit of clarity and honesty.  Just what is going on?

Dr John Robinson