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NZ Government needs to back protection for world’s oceans

NZ Government needs to listen to science and back protection for world’s oceans

This week, the New Zealand government has an excellent opportunity to vote yes at the IUCN World Conservation Congress (in Hawaii) by listening to marine science, meeting its international commitments and supporting the 96 per cent of Kiwis who want more of New Zealand’s oceans protected.

Representing the NZ government, the Department of Conservation can back a motion urging countries to preserve 30 per cent of oceans as marine reserves by 2030.

WWF-New Zealand says this decision would help send an important signal about the need to safeguard natural resources, biodiversity and the future health of the oceans.

“The New Zealand government needs to support international moves to look after the world’s oceans, and listen to the science rather than the fishing industry that is continuing to push a hard line anti-marine protection agenda,” said Chris Howe, Executive Director for WWF-New Zealand, who is attending the Congress.

Mr Howe said New Zealand needed an MPA framework that enabled the full range of species and habitats and ecosystems to be protected, and included iwi and other stakeholders in decision making processes.

“The government should back global efforts at the IUCN Congress and follow that commitment with the inclusion of the EEZ in its new proposed marine protection legislation” he said.

“The NZ government also needs to listen to wishes of New Zealanders,” Mr Howe said. “Colmar Brunton polling found 96 per cent of Kiwis think more of New Zealand’s oceans should be protected in ‘no take’ marine reserves – areas set aside as off limits for extractive activities such as fishing and mining.”

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