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‘Parliamentary Picnic’ serving up an ‘unpalatable truth’

Global animal welfare organisation World Animal Protection have invited MPs to a ‘Parliamentary Picnic’ from 12.30-1.30 on Parliament’s lawn next Tuesday 5 November - but know they’re unlikely to turn up.

That’s because the organisation is serving up an unpalatable truth.

While offering a creative take on the classic Kiwi fare of ‘fish and chips’, the truth is that it’s our eating of fish that’s causing Māui and Hector’s dolphins to become extinct, says World Animal Protection Campaign Advisor Christine Rose.

According to the Department of Conservation’s Māui and Hector’s dolphin Incident Database, where the cause of death can be established, around 90% of mortality is from set and trawl entanglement. “Who wants that on their plate?”.

Mrs Rose says that despite warnings about the Māui and Hector’s dolphin Threat Management Plan (TMP) process, MPs aren’t listening. “We can’t even get them along for a free lunch” said Christine Rose.

Indeed, only a few MPs have said they’ll attend the (dolphin) and chips Parliamentary Picnic, and none from the Labour Party – despite policy promises before the last election that they would protect Māui and Hector’s in water out to 100m deep.

A decision on the Māui and Hector’s dolphin Threat Management Plan is due in coming weeks. But Fisheries NZ has been secretive about its review of economic modelling informing the Plan’s protection options. “They refuse to answer emails or release publicly funded information” said Rose.

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The ‘takeaway’ message of the Parliamentary Picnic is to remind politicians that it is their responsibility to protect Māui and Hector’s, and they need to act now. “National and international interest is high in what the Government does next”. “Does this Government want to be known by future generations as the one that allowed the ‘kiwi of the sea’ to go extinct?”

Supporters of Māui and Hector’s dolphins are invited to bring a picnic and join the last stand for the dolphins, in a show of support to not let MPs “off the hook” for dolphin deaths, before the TMP decisions are released.

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