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Govt papers prove EEZ was scratched from marine proposal

3 March 2016

Govt papers prove EEZ was scratched from marine proposal


Global conservation organisation WWF said today Marine Protected Areas Act briefing papers, released this week, prove that the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) was deliberately removed from the proposed legislation after 18 June 2015 – breaking earlier guarantees that the EEZ would be included.

Alex Smith, WWF-New Zealand’s Senior Campaigner, said “these new papers show that in June, or shortly after, the government chose to break its promise to include the EEZ in the proposed marine protection legislation”.

“The fact that the EEZ was included in the proposals until June last year shows the government’s argument that it is too difficult to include the EEZ is just not credible,” he said.

Newly-released online papers on the Marine Protected Areas Act show that the EEZ was included in earlier drafts of the proposal (refer to Cabinet EGI paper 18 June 2015).

However, the current proposed framework for MPAs (announced in January 2016) only covers the Territorial Sea, out to 12 nautical miles, and not the EEZ, out to 200 nautical miles. This means 95% of New Zealand’s oceans have been left out.

Alex Smith said there was broad support for legislation that covered New Zealand’s whole ocean environment and it was understood that only the oil and gas industry was blocking the way to sensible law making.

“We would welcome a statement from the oil and gas industry supporting inclusion of the EEZ in the legislation. If not, they need to explain to the New Zealand public why its interests should override a science-based process to create a network of MPAs in this country’s EEZ.”

Public submissions about the Marine Protected Areas Act are open until 11 March 2016.

ENDS

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