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EEZ Story: WWF Perspective

EEZ Story: WWF Perspective

Commenting on the news that the Government is bringing in new environmental legislation governing off shore mineral exploration and extraction in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and Extended Continental Shelf (ECS), WWF-New Zealand marine advocate Bob Zuur said:

"The new EEZ Bill is an improvement on the current mishmash of laws, but falls far short of what's needed to safeguard New Zealand's oceans.

"Whilst it creates a framework which could be used to better manage our oceans, it fails to take a strategic view or put the protection of our unique marine environment at the heart of the new laws. The Bill proposes to tack on environmental conditions to development permits in the absence of any considered assessment of what areas should be protected or developed.

"To safeguard our seas, we need to protect a third of our oceans in marine reserves. Some areas, such as the waters around the Kermadecs Islands to the north-east of Auckland, are so important for wildlife they should never be exploited. We need to protect globally significant areas, the Kermadecs are a good place to start."

He said that less than 1% of our oceans are currently protected in marine reserves and that a Colmar Brunton opinion poll recently commissioned by WWF found on average, New Zealanders believed about a third of the ocean should be protected fully in marine reserves.

"The new legislation is much weaker than the Resource Management Act which covers extractive activities for our oceans out to 12 nautical miles. It is a part response to the Government's Petroleum Action Plan to attract more oil and gas exploration in our oceans. Opening up more of our oceans to exploration for fossil fuels is the wrong direction for New Zealand, and the opposite of the action we should be taking to tackle climate change.

"New Zealand has the world's 5th largest EEZ, this fails to manage it adequately. The Government should create a Minister of Oceans and set up an Oceans Taskforce to conduct a proper review of oceans management."

WWF-New Zealand is part of WWF, the global conservation organization. WWF-New Zealand works to stop the degradation of the planet's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature. Through WWF's global reach, local presence and scientific rigour, it establishes innovative partnerships and seeks ambitious solutions for a living planet. For more information, visit wwf.org.nz

ENDS

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