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National refuses meeting with Maui’s advocates

24 July 2014

National refuses meeting with Maui’s advocates

National has refused a briefing from a group of Maui’s dolphins experts, whose research shows 80 per cent of New Zealanders want greater protection for the critically endangered dolphin, the Green Party said today.

Dolphin campaigner Gemma McGrath and marine scientist Professor Elizabeth Slooten travelled to Wellington this week to present the findings of a new report - “Assessing New Zealanders’ willingness-to-pay to protect the endangered New Zealand dolphin” - to political parties.

They met with Labour, the Greens, NZ First, the Māori Party and Internet Mana.

Despite approaches to Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy’s office, several emails to Conservation Minister Nick Smith, and a last ditch effort to engage the Prime Minister, on what Ms McGrath says is “an issue that’s very important to New Zealanders”, every Minister said they were too busy or had “other commitments”.

“This is another reminder that the National Government does not care about the survival of the Maui’s dolphin,” said the Green Party Oceans spokesperson Gareth Hughes.

“This is the world’s most endangered dolphin we are talking about here – there are only 55 left in the world. National should be engaging at every level to ensure they are protected.

“But instead it’s turning its back.

“Whether it is issuing oil exploration licenses in the Maui’s sanctuary, granting mineral mining permits in the protected area, or refusing to meet with those working to save the dolphin, National seems perfectly happy to watch these beautiful creatures become extinct.”

The findings of the report show 63 percent of New Zealanders would be willing to pay more for fish if dolphin protection measures meant higher prices.

“New Zealanders care a great deal about our native marine mammals, especially ones that are as under threat as the Maui’s,” said Mr Hughes.

“It’s time National showed some respect for the things that matter to New Zealanders.

“The Green Party has long campaigned on greater protection for the Maui’s.

“The new report out today shows this is exactly what Kiwis want.”

© Scoop Media

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