Greenpeace says today’s Ministerial announcements hold some fantastic news for the sea and everything that lives in it.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced that the Fisheries Ministry will get a name change to the Ministry for Oceans and Fisheries.
"The oceans have never had a dedicated portfolio and this change signals that the Government recognises the need to protect our big blue backyard, not simply use it as a resource to be extracted from", says Greenpeace campaigner Jessica Desmond.
"Not only has Labour put Oceans in the name of the ministry, it comes before the very industry that’s been threatening it, I take that as an encouraging sign."
Greenpeace says accelerating biodiversity loss is one of the biggest risks facing humanity. Here in New Zealand 80 percent of our native biodiversity lies below the low tide mark.
"The ocean is being pushed to the brink by multiple threats, from overfishing to pollution and climate change."
Greenpeace sees the appointment of political heavyweight David Parker as vital to meeting these threats.
"Labour’s promises to review the management of New Zealand fisheries were stymied by New Zealand First, but the so-called ‘handbrake’ is off. Now is the chance for transformative change."
Desmond says Minister Parker must get straight to work.
"David Parker showed his mettle on the freshwater reforms and the synthetic fertiliser cap last term.
We are hoping he’ll apply the same strength of purpose to ensure the long term health of the oceans."
Greenpeace is calling for an independent inquiry into fisheries management, the implementation of cameras across the full commercial fleet and an end to the use of destructive fishing techniques like bottom trawling.
"Jacinda Ardern pledged, on election night, to build back better. With her landslide election win, it’s clear that New Zealanders want a government that has the courage to make the big bold changes needed to tackle the biodiversity and climate crises."
"There has never been a greater mandate, more money on the table (thanks to the Covid recovery budget) - or a greater need for big bold transformation."