Dependence on corporates puts endangered whales at risk

The decision to cancel surveys of endangered humpback whales in the Cook Strait this year shows National’s reliance on corporate sponsorship for conservation is failing our endangered species, the Green Party said today.

The Department of Conservation (DOC) acknowledged today that a survey of humpback whales will not take place this year, after oil and gas exploration company OMV New Zealand decided to pull funding for the project.

"Relying on corporate goodwill to protect our endangered and threatened species means they’re at risk when that funding is pulled,” said Green Party conservation spokesperson Kevin Hague.

“Corporate sponsorship is incredibly helpful, but it needs to be the icing on the conservation cake. The National Government needs to stump up with the core conservation funding that our precious wildlife need or more species will inch closer to extinction.

“Rebuilding the number of endangered humpback whales in our oceans is a long-game that needs consistent funding, year-on-year.

“This is the third high profile corporate funded project to stop when funding dried up. In 2015 BNZ ended its sponsorship for Kiwi conservation and Rio Tinto pulled funding from DOC’s Kakapo recovery programme.

“Under National, DOC’s spending in real terms has been $52 million less every year than it was under the Labour-led government in 2008-09.

“DOC should be guaranteed consistent, reliable funding from the Government to do its core conservation work, like the protection of endangered humpback whales,” said Mr Hague.

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