Greens urge Govt to back island memorial for “adventurer”

Deputy Prime Minister Michael Cullen and Auckland City Mayor John Banks seem to forget that Sir Peter Blake was an adventurer, Auckland Green MP Keith Locke said today.

“Dr Cullen has said that he does ‘not believe that all New Zealanders would easily find their way to an island in the Hauraki Gulf, compared with finding their way to the boat in the Viaduct area’,” Mr Locke said.

“Surely, if there is one lesson we should take from Sir Peter’s life, it is ‘get out there and do it’. Our intrepid round-the-world sailor wouldn’t have accepted Mr Banks’ argument that few Aucklanders would travel the distance to the island.

“Sir Peter would have said, be adventurous and we’ll make it happen,” Mr Locke said.

“The annual visitor numbers are not actually the main point. We are talking about creating a nature reserve through which future generations will remember the great sailor and conservationist.

“The Greens want Conservation Minister Chris Carter to endorse the $1 million being offered by the Nature Heritage Fund as a grant towards the purchase of Kaikoura Island.

“In addition, if the Government diverted the $2.5 million committed to the ‘glass mausoleum’ towards the island project (and Auckland City added its $2 million), the purchase would be almost in the bag,” Mr Locke said.

The other two Auckland Green MPs, Nandor Tanczos and Metiria Turei, are joining Mr Locke in pushing for Kaikoura Island as the most appropriate memorial to Sir Peter.

Dr Cullen made his comments, noted above, in reply to Parliamentary Question No. 11 from Mr Locke yesterday.