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Marine Reserves Bill Needs New Approach

Media Release
10 February 2005

Marine Reserves Bill Needs New Approach

The Minister of Conservation must revise the present Marine Reserves Bill in order to increase public consultation on the formation of marine reserves says New Zealand First Conservation spokesman, Edwin Perry.

“The Department of Conservation’s current approach to the formation of marine reserves is to decide to create a marine reserve, request input from the public and then disregard any representations which run counter to its aims.

“Decisions are imposed from the top down with a minimum of consultation. The end result of this is public resentment, divided communities and in some cases, threatened legal action,” said Mr Perry.

“New Zealand First is advocating a process where creating a marine reserve begins with the local community and develops an integrated management of the total marine area.

“We need to ensure that affected parties such as commercial and recreational fishers, local environmental groups, charter and tourist operators, scientists and researchers, the local regional council and tangata whenua all have adequate representation. Fiordland is an example where gift and gains has resulted in the potential for long term prudent conservation without causing unnecessary division in the community.

“This could be achieved by setting up independent and objective final hearing groups to adjudicate upon DoC’s proposals and applications in order to bring a much needed sense of fairness and consensus to the process of setting up reserves,” said Mr Perry.

ENDS

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