The Green Party backs the demands of Forest and Bird and calls on the Government to take urgent action to restore the health of the Hauraki Gulf/Tīkapa Moana/ Te Moananui ā Toi.
“The Hauraki Gulf is in poor health and the Government is not doing enough to help it heal and thrive,” says the Green Party’s spokesperson for oceans and fisheries, Eugenie Sage.
Eugenie Sage and Auckland Central MP Chlöe Swarbrick attended the launch today of Arohatia Tīkapa Moana Love the Gulf - a new Forest and Bird campaign to restore the health of the Hauraki Gulf.
“The need for action is urgent. For decades, successive governments have allowed overfishing, sediment pollution, and destructive fishing practices to degrade the health of the Gulf.
“Right now, only 0.3 percent of this precious ecosystem is properly protected - and less than one percent of Aotearoa New Zealand’s entire ocean is protected.
“Over the last five years, Labour has not added a single square kilometre of fishing free areas that uphold iwi rights to our already inadequate marine protection. The Government has also made no discernible progress to reform our outdated marine protected areas legislation.
“Aotearoa New Zealand is an international laggard when it comes to ocean protection, with more and more countries now committing to protect 30% of the ocean by 2030.
“Earlier this year, the Government released a set of unambitious proposals to better protect the Hauraki Gulf/Tīkapa Moana/ Te Moananui ā Toi.
“We are calling on the Government to act before it’s too late. We need a network of marine protected areas where marine life will be safe from destructive fishing.
“Dredging and destructive bottom contact fishing that have degraded the Hauraki Gulf for decades could also be ended, as could commercial fishing.
“If the Greens have more MPs after the next election and more influence on the Government, we would amend the Fisheries Act to implement these protections and implement the customary management sought by manawhenua.
“Everyone has a part to play to restore the health of the Hauraki Gulf. We’d like to see a major reduction in recreational fishing pressure, including asking fishers to commit to a five year moratorium on fishing over parts of the Gulf so fisheries can recover,” says Eugenie Sage.
Green Party Auckland Central MP Chlöe Swarbrick added:
“Communities and mana whenua have been leading the charge with rāhui, citizen science and collective action. Yet despite all of this leadership, the system fails our taiao. The Government must step up.
“Tīkapa Moana supports the livelihoods of more than 1.5 million people across Tāmaki Makaurau and beyond. It needs to be cared for so that our precious kaimoana, fish, dolphins, sea birds and other marine life is abundant, the water is clean and we can all enjoy this much valued area for generations to come.
“From Pūtiki Bay to Coromandel and beyond, the Greens will keep working alongside advocates and activists to protect our oceans and our shared environment,” says Chlöe Swarbrick.