The Green Party is calling on the Government to back a motion at the World Conservation Congress to preserve 30 percent of oceans as marine reserves.
Prime Minister, John Key has said it was “very unlikely” that New Zealand would support a motion to make 30 percent of national waters Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) by 2030.
Member states are voting on the motion at the World Conservation Congress being held in Hawaii this week.
"By not supporting this motion, John Key is saying the National Government will continue to allow the over-exploitation of New Zealand’s oceans, its fish stocks and marine habitats,” Green Party environment spokesperson, Eugenie Sage said
“The Prime Minister is effectively saying that apart from the Kermadecs, National wants to leave all of our EEZ open to exploitation by the fishing, oil exploration and seabed mining industries.
"New Zealanders expect the Government to protect our oceans for present and future generations. Instead, National is choosing to sidestep its role as a steward of the environment.
"The science is absolutely clear; we must preserve and protect at least 30 percent of our oceans in order to replenish our fish stocks, and sustain the long-term health of our oceans.
"The Kermadec/Rangitāhua Ocean Sanctuary will be a great start, but even with it in place, 85 percent of New Zealand's deep-sea oceans will still be unprotected.
“National’s proposed Marine Protected Areas legislation will only apply to our inshore waters out to the 12 mile limit. National needs to change the law to allow new MPAs to be established in our much bigger Exclusive Economic Zone,” said Ms Sage.
The motion requires that marine protected areas are consistent with the rights of indigenous peoples. Voting for the motion would help ensure that there is proper consultation with iwi on when, where and how MPAs are established.