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Maui’s March to Key’s office one of the electorate’s biggest

14 July 2014

Maui’s March to John Key’s office one of the electorate’s biggest

About 300 marchers walked to John Key’s electorate office yesterday (Sunday 13 July) calling for better protection of Maui’s dolphins, in one of the biggest marches in the history of his electorate. Children, men and women of all ages and even replica dolphins were part of the march which stretched along both sides of Kumeu’s Main Road. Marchers carried cut out dolphins, heartfelt handmade signs, and one dolphin was in a coffin entangled in a net.

“Maui’s dolphins are the world’s smallest, rarest and loveliest dolphins” says march organiser Christine Rose, Chair of Maui’s & Hector’s Dolphins Education/Action. “They’re only found here on the North Island’s West Coast. They’re concentrated offshore of John Key’s Helensville electorate but unprotected in most of that area.

“Maui’s dolphins are protected only 2nm from shore but they range to at least 7nm or 100m deep. In the rest of the area gill netting remains. The Government admits 95% of Maui’s dolphins are killed by these nets, at a rate of about 3 per annum, and there are only about 55 adults left, so it’s not good for the dolphin” says Mrs Rose.

“What makes matters worse, is the recent reintroduction of gill nets into the dolphin’s Manukau Harbour habitat, and seismic testing for new oil and gas drilling.”

“The large and diverse turn-out shows the strength of feeling in John Key’s electorate, and in New Zealand, wanting these dolphins saved. There was also huge support from passers-by and toots and beeps from the road.

“The fact that John Key is playing ‘golf in Maui’ is not lost on those who want protection for ‘Maui’s dolphin’,” said Mrs Rose.

Maui’s dolphins are often seen in the shallow waters off Muriwai, Piha and other West Coast beaches in John Key’s Helensville electorate. “John Key’s own constituents want the Maui’s Marine Mammal Sanctuary to actually offer the dolphins sanctuary, not to be a death trap for the dolphins”.

Background
Maui’s dolphins are a small, slow breeding endemic dolphin found only on the West Coast of the North Island. Recent studies show a population as low as around 55 adults and only 20 breeding females, from about 1800 in the 1970s. As a small inshore dolphin they are vulnerable to a range of human threats, with 95% of deaths from set or gill nets. Seismic testing, pollution and boat strike are other risks.

The International Whaling Committee and the International Society of Marine Mammology as well as renowned scientist Jane Goodall are all calling on the Government to protect Maui’s dolphins from human threats if they are to survive.

Maui’s can’t sustain a human induced death for 10-23 years if they are to avoid extinction

Trawling is allowed in the dolphin habitat and the Government has opened up new parts of the Marine Mammal Sanctuary to seismic testing and oil and gas drilling as well as reintroducing ring netting into the Manukau Harbour.

This march follows large marches in other centres around New Zealand as part of a widespread movement for better Maui’s protection.

ENDS

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