A governance board made up of iwi and council representatives will "open up a huge can of worms" when it takes over management of Ninety Mile Beach, a district councillor says.
Councillor Mate Radich issued this warning at last week's Far North District Council meeting during a discussion of the new Te Oneroa-a-Tohe Governance Board. Other councillors backed the new board but worried that the government would not fund it properly, leaving ratepayers to pick up the tab.
The board will come into effect as soon as the government passes legislation settling Treaty grievances with four Te Hiku iwi. It will have eight members - one representative each for Te Rarawa, Ngati Kuri, Te Aupouri and Ngai Takoto, and two each for the Far North District and Northland Regional councils - and will be responsible for future management of the beach.
Currently, no single body manages Ninety Mile Beach. Various parts are controlled by the district council, regional council, DoC and iwi. Mr Radich said he was "totally against" the governance board.
"I can see huge repercussions. It will open up a huge can of worms and the rest of New Zealand will sit back and watch," he said.
Mr Radich conceded there was a problem with motorists on the southern end of the beach but said that could be solved by locals if they had police backing.
Councillor Willow-Jean Prime said she supported the governance board but worried the government was delegating responsibility to the council without providing the resources to do the job properly. That could leave ratepayers to shoulder the burden.
"I'd like to see us push the Crown to provide us with the budget to do it successfully," she said.
Council policy and planning manager Kathryn Ross said the board was part of settlement legislation for four of the five Te Hiku iwi. It was going through Parliament and would soon become law.
Far North-based Northland Regional councillors Dover Samuels and Monty Knight have been appointed as that council's representatives on the new Te Oneroa-a-Tohe Board. The board's first task will be to develop a management plan for the beach. The council's role on the board will be to articulate the concerns of residents and ratepayers.
Far North councillors voted to appoint Mayor John Carter and Councillor Dave Collard as the board's council representatives. Crs Radich and Colin Kitchen were opposed.
The Crown will give the NRC $150,000 for the board's initial operating costs and $250,000 for developing the management plan.
No funding has been provided for the Far North District Council's costs.
Te Rarawa leader Haami Piripi, who is expected to be the board's first chairman, earlier dismissed a TV report that the board could impose beach entrance fees. Limits on the number of heavy vehicles, such as tour buses, were a possibility.
* The Northland Regional Council has since appointed Dover Samuels and Monty Knight to be its representatives on the Te Oneroa-a-Tohe Governance Board.