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Motuekans like ferry idea, but have concerns

May 22nd, 2017
[by David Armstrong]

Motueka people are strongly in favour of the proposed ferry service with Whanganui, but are also concerned about the potential impacts on the port environment and local roading infrastructure.

The online survey run by Vision Motueka over the past four weeks has produced some clear results and plenty of food for thought for the project development team.

A total of 326 people filled in the survey, 60% of whom were identified as living in or near Motueka. In order to get greater clarity on the opinions of Motuekans, the responses of this group were also subject to further analysis.

Overall, 86% of all respondents believed a ferry service would improve Motueka's economy.

However, a question seeking an overall for-or-against attitude to the proposal showed a clear division, with 75% somewhat or strongly in favour and 17% somewhat or strongly against.

For Motueka people only, the result was 72% in favour and 22% against. Other questions sought further detail about what excited and what concerned people regarding the project.

Unsurprisingly, the main concerns related to possible damage to the port, inlet and sandbar, plus the extra traffic on local and feeder roads, with both these issues being of concern to around 40% of respondents overall.

The number of Motueka people expressing these concerns was a little larger, approaching 50%. This probably reflected the fact that some of the people doing the survey who lived elsewhere would be less aware of the importance of these issues locally.

A smaller but significant number were also concerned about extra noise at the port, although 25% - mainly Motueka people - said they would enjoy the spectacle of ferries coming and going.

When asked how concerned people were about these potential environmental impacts, a slightly greater number of Motueka people said that they were "confident the resource management process will minimise or remove such impacts" or had no concerns at all than those who said they were very or somewhat concerned, at around 33% each.

Asked what aspects of the ferry proposal excited them, the two highest scoring answers were "more jobs for Motueka people" and "I would personally use the ferry".

Other high-scoring reasons for excitement included a greater number of visitors to the town and shops, as well as the project providing an opportunity for further industrial and recreational development of the port area.

Almost 60% of people said they would definitely use the proposed ferry service, with another 25% saying such use was possible.

You may download and view the results of the survey here:

  • The first is the report created by Survey Monkey that includes all questions and all responses (except the added comments). Download all results »
  • The second report includes relevant figures extracted by Vision Motueka that came from people who said they lived in or near Motueka. Download Motueka results »


Comment by Laurence Pask:
[Posted 22 May 2017]

It's sounds a good idea. The only reservation I have is the persons promoting the development may end up putting the squeeze on TDC for funding and long term the Ratepayer ends up providing Corporate Welfare.



Comment by Sandra Boyd:
[Posted 26 May 2017]

Reading the results of the survey, I see that one of the factors that concern local people will be 'changes' to the sandbar and inlet.

I hope that the business people behind this proposal have provided the full details of their plan to the Motueka public.

The Christchurch Press recently published a lengthy interview with the business people behind this idea. I was very concerned to read that the inlet would need to be dredged deeply to allow a turning space for the vessels. Also, the Sandspit itself would be breached and dug out to allow ships' ingress and egress.

In the past, Motueka people have regularly celebrated the return of the godwits which, as we know, fly 11,000 miles to reach New Zealand from Alaska every year. What will happen to these birds when they reach [what was] their traditional nesting, resting and feeding site? Like salmon they return to the place where they hatched, to nest and breed the next generation. Noise, pollution and the actual disappearance of parts of the Sandspit will devastate their habitat, make no mistake.

Once again it seems that money is behind what could be the desecration of a species in this area. Is this what Motueka wants?

Unspecific promises of "more jobs" may not actually turn out to be such a big boost to Motueka's economy in the long run unless it's accompanied by serious education and training. "What Could Be" might turn out to be "Not Much". And if the project fails, as others have done before it, what about the godwits then?



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