In 2006, we surveyed people living in the Waikato to find out their awareness of, attitudes to and actions about environmental issues and what they valued about living in the Waikato region. Find out what the Waikato community think about the region's coasts.
We asked people what they thought were the most important environmental issues facing the region. The top three issues were water, waste and air pollution. A small percentage (just over 3 percent) mentioned coastal issues such as:
- mangroves filling in the harbours
- beach erosion and the loss of sand dunes
- impact of pollution on shellfish beds and fish
- sea water pollution
- sewage discharges into sea
- development pressures
- harbours silting up because of land erosion
- sea level rise.
This represents a small increase in awareness of coastal issues since the 1998, 2000 and 2003 surveys when less than two percent mentioned coastal issues such as:
- sea water pollution
- sea level rise
- general state of harbour areas
- littering of beaches
- erosion/foreshore protection
- shellfish protection
- over fishing
- pressure from holiday makers, marinas and other developments
- preservation of coasts
- Maori rights to the seabed.
Many people (66 percent) agreed that urban sprawls and subdivisions are threatening the natural environment. But almost two-thirds of the community (62 percent) considered that there is enough protection given to local significant natural sites.
Four out of five people said that they were concerned at the loss of the natural character of the region's beaches through development. This has increased since 2000 when two out of three people said that they were concerned.
Just over half of the people interviewed (54%) said that they were concerned about the construction of rock and concrete seawalls along our coast to protect property from long term coastal erosion.
What people are doing
People told us they are doing a range of activities to help protect the environment. Below are the activities people say they do that help protect our coastal areas:
- pick up litter, including on beaches and in coastal areas - 1.7 percent
- protect sand dunes and/or participate in Beachcare or Harbourcare - 0.1 percent
Fewer people reported actions that directly protect the coastal environment than in previous years, with no one mentioning not over-fishing or protecting marine life as they did in 2003.
People’s environmental attitudes
Our survey shows that Waikato people generally have strong positive attitudes towards the environment:
- There's strong community support for regulations and for protection of the environment over the economy.
- Most support the statements that 'government restrictions on the use of private property are necessary so that the environment will not be harmed' and that 'council should enforce its rules and laws to make sure that the environment is well looked after'.
- But half (53 percent) believe that landowners should be able to do what they want on their land.
Find out more about the views of Waikato people on the region’s:
For more results from this survey check out our indicators of communities and their views or contact us if you’d like more information about our survey.
Find out more about our coasts, their natural character, the plants and animals that live there, and the pressures that affect them.
Results presented are from: Environment Waikato and Gravitas Research and Strategy Ltd. 2007: Environmental awareness, attitudes and actions, 2006: a survey of residents of the Waikato Region. Prepared for Environment Waikato. Environment Waikato Technical Report 2007/06. Environment Waikato, Hamilton.