Click here for our 2020 Election Priorities for Thriving Oceans


Everyone in Aotearoa New Zealand should be able to swim, fish, and collect kai moana in our waters, free from pollution. When we use the sea’s resources we should do so sustainably.

The sea should be protected from pollution, drilling and mining

  • The Coastal Policy Statement should be amended to address sewerage disposal, run-off in rivers, and sedimentation from on-land development.
  • The risk of oil and chemical spills should be reduced as much as possible.
  • There should be no new deep sea drilling or mining in our territorial waters, EEZ, continental shelf, the Ross Sea region, or significant marine habitats, like the Maui dolphin's habitat.
  • Companies that exploit marine resources should be liable for pollution-related costs.

Marine conservation areas should be expanded

  • More marine reserves and protection areas should be created.
  • A network of marine mammal sanctuaries should be established including the Auckland Islands and in the Maui and Hector’s dolphin habitat.
  • Aotearoa New Zealand should work international towards a legally binding ban on all whaling and broaden the International Whaling Commission’s mandate to include dolphins.

Hapu and iwi have kaitiakitanga rights and responsibilities

  • Māori should be involved in marine conservation decisions and management.
  • Marine reserves should protect ecosystems and customary rights.
  • The right to customary and commercial fishing and kaimoana gathering must be upheld.

Marine ecosystems should be managed sustainably

  • Regulation and publicly funded research should focus on the sustainability of whole ecosystems, not specific fisheries.
  • Species introduced into the Quota Management System should have precautionary quotas until research confirms sustainable quota levels.
  • By-catch should be minimised commercial fisheries closed by-catch limits are reached.

Sustainable commercial fishing should be supported

  • Government should ensure New Zealand control and utilisation of our fisheries.
  • Government policy should support small commercial fisheries and fishing communities, including investigating a quota to local fishers only.
  • Bottom trawling and long lining should be tightly restricted.
  • Foreign vessels chartered by New Zealand companies and New Zealand vessels should be required to abide by New Zealand law wherever they are operating.
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