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Oceans policy descends into paralysis by analysis

Oceans policy descends into paralysis by analysis

The endless delays in advancing an oceans policy is putting the environment at risk and is due to a complete lack of leadership by this Labour Government, says National’s Environment Spokesman Nick Smith.

“The oceans policy has become a farce and an embarrassment. There has been more than $3 million spent on 20 Government papers published over the past six years, but nothing has happened or looks like happening.

“The Minister will not even commit to a timeframe and given that legislation will be required, there is little hope the issue will be resolved during this Parliament.

“I am angry at this paralysis by analysis. Former Environment Minister Simon Upton and myself as Conservation Minister kicked this process off in 1999 because there were no regulations in place to protect the marine environment in our Exclusive Economic Zone.

“Our ocean area is 16-times our land area and it needs a proper set of environmental rules to ensure it is carefully managed.

“These delays in developing an oceans policy have also contributed to the delays in the Marine Reserves Bill that was introduced in June 2002, but has been marooned in a select committee for four years.

“Labour’s oceans policy programme as announced in 2000 had the oceans policy completed and implemented by the end of 2003. It’s a total disgrace.

“This latest policy failure over oceans follows similar debacles over climate change, energy efficiency, biodiversity and waste management. Labour’s environmental record is in such tatters that only a change of Government will see real progress made.”

ENDS

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