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National Minister misleads Parliament over Maui's dolphins

National Minister misleads Parliament over Maui's

Conservation Minister Nick Smith misled Parliament with his statement that not a single Maui's dolphin has been sighted inside an area opened up by the Government for oil drilling, the Green Party said today.

"Conservation Minister Nick Smith is not telling the truth when he says that no Maui's dolphins have been observed in the area that the Government has opened up for oil and gas exploration," said Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman.

While the International Whaling Commission is calling for even greater protections for Maui’s dolphins, this National Government is putting these beautiful dolphins at greater risk of extinction, then misleading the public about it.

"Nick Smith's own department has documented evidence that he is wrong, and that there have been sightings of Maui's dolphins in the area that National is opening up for oil exploration.

"This gives us no confidence that this Government is taking the plight of the Maui's dolphin seriously."

Maui's sightings from the Department of Conservation's own database mapped onto the area open to the Government's competitive tender for petroleum exploration permits, known as Block Offer 2014, shows that ten Maui's sightings are within the Block Offer area.

"While the International Whaling Commission is calling for even greater protections for Maui's dolphins, this National Government is putting these beautiful dolphins at greater risk of extinction, then misleading the public about it," said Dr Norman.

Just last week the International Whaling Commission published a report that concludes that National's management of Maui's dolphins is not adequate to stop their extinction saying, "current management situation falls short of that required to reverse the Maui's decline."

"Maui's dolphins - the world's most endangered dolphin - are only found in New Zealand, and this National Government is driving them to extinction," said Dr Norman.

"The Green Party will not shut down the entire oil and gas industry. We are opposed to increasing the risk to Maui's dolphins by allowing new oil and gas exploration which involves harmful seismic surveying and risky exploratory drilling in a Maui's dolphin sanctuary."


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