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Using different processes to protect marine environments

The Auditor-General’s report Using different processes to protect marine environments was presented to the House of Representatives today.

New Zealand’s marine environment covers over 4 million square kilometres of ocean and is home to more than 15,000 species. Proposals for establishing new marine reserves have been infrequent and many of New Zealand’s coastal regions have little or no marine protected areas. Only 0.4% of the mainland territorial sea has marine reserves.

This report looks at how two groups used two different processes that generated advice to Ministers for establishing marine protection, including marine reserves. The two groups were Te Korowai o Te Tai ō Marokura, the Kaikōura Coastal Marine Guardians (Te Korowai) and the South-East Marine Protection Forum – Te Roopu Manaaki ki te Toka (the South-East Forum). Te Korowai used a community-led process that, with support from government agencies, prepared a marine strategy for the Kaikōura coast. The South-East Forum was established to make recommendations for a network of marine protected areas consistent with the Marine Protected Areas Policy.

However, some aspects of the guidelines for implementing the Marine Protected Area policy are not supporting the effective achievement of New Zealand’s marine biodiversity objectives. We encourage the Department of Conservation and the Ministry for Primary Industries, as the stewards of the marine environment, to consider how any reform to marine biodiversity protection legislation, policy, or planning could support greater collaboration between parties, and protect New Zealand’s unique marine biodiversity in a more effective way.

This report is also available as an epub and a one-page summary.

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