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English backtracks on marine reserves commitment

23 March 2005 - Dunedin

English backtracks on marine reserves commitment

The Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society says that Bill English’s opposition to a marine reserve at the Nuggets flies in the face of the commitment he made in 2002.

The Society’s Southern Conservation Officer, Sue Maturin, said that three years ago Mr English announced that, if National became the Government, it would create 9 new marine reserve in it’s first term.

Only 3 new marine reserves have been created in the last 3 years. Current marine reserves cover just 0.12% of the territorial seas around New Zealand’s 3 main islands.

“By opposing the proposed marine reserve, Mr English seems to be pandering to a vocal group of recreational fishers and is ignoring the significant local support for a Nugget Point marine reserve”. Sue Maturin said.

“Local people from Kaka Point and Balclutha have contacted our office to express their support for a reserve, including a much larger reserve than is currently being considered.”

‘More than 70 people from Southland, Dunedin, Balclutha, Owaka and Kaka Point joined the Society’s recent field trip in support of the proposed marine reserve.”

“Sadly many local people feel too intimidated to speak out, however hundreds of people have made their support known to the Department of Conservation.” Sue Maturin said.

"We hope Mr English will fairly represent those who support the marine reserve, and not just listen to those who oppose it".

The Society is deeply disappointed that the Department of Conservation seems intent on creating another postage stamp reserve.

The Department has been bending over backwards to exclude the best and most productive reefs from the reserve, which will severely undermine the public, scientific and conservation values of a marine reserve at the Nuggets.

ENDS


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