Making use of our greatest ally, Te Ao Tūroa, the long-standing natural world, through active kaitiakitanga practice and precautionary, adaptive, integrated stewardship is essential in caring for all coastal and aquatic ecosystems. Doing all we can to support a naturally-regenerating ocean is essential for its health, for all that it gives us, and for the fundamental role it has in enabling climate stability. The Green Party will promote Te Tiriti-based governance of the seas of Aotearoa New Zealand that works to measurably regenerate mauri, prevent damage from human activities, increase resilience to climate change, and enable thriving marine ecosystems that underpin a healthy, well-managed blue economy.
The life force and life-supporting capacity of the ocean are vibrant and vigorous. All human relationships with the marine realm are regenerative of nature and people.
Values and Principles
- Honouring Te Tiriti o Waitangi: Kaitiakitanga, led by tangata whenua, should guide our relationship with the sea, ensuring it is better cared for. Māori regard all life forms within Te Ao Tūroa as taonga and require appropriate consideration as ordained by kawa, and determined in tikanga.
- Ecological Wisdom: Regenerating ocean ecosystem health is paramount for humanity to thrive in generations to come. The mauri, mana, and tapu - the intrinsic vitality, potency, and sanctity of the ocean and all who dwell within and around it are fundamental to the enduring life-support system that is our planet Earth. Indeed, honongatanga - interconnections between species, whanaungatanga - connections within species and further indigenous frameworks hold critical perspectives that can ensure we not only have enough fish to fish, but also help us to address the climate and biodiversity crises.
- Social Responsibility: We should equitably provide for the sustainable livelihoods and recreational and spiritual opportunities valued by New Zealanders that healthy oceans and coasts offer.
- Appropriate Decision-Making: A range of different interests at both local and national levels must be involved in decisions made concerning coastal and marine management. Decisions must include consideration of the needs of future generations and the entire environment.
- Non-violence: Human activity in the marine environment should be restorative, not harmful, to the intrinsic mauri, mana, and tapu of those in the marine environment.
- Urgency: Given the biodiversity crisis, declining health of ocean ecosystems and climate change impacts such as acidification and increasing sea temperatures, significant increases in investment and pace of implementation are urgently needed to regenerate coastal and marine ecosystems.
- Interconnection: Ki uta ki tai - from the mountains to the sea. Marine management requires integrated management of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems including the vital role of Hine-Tu-I-Te-Repo, swamps, in our coastal wetland and estuarine zones. The health of people, land, and our oceans are inextricably linked.
The Green Party’s strategic goals include:
“All our waters will be in transition to becoming clean, and able to support healthy ecosystems.
All native species and their habitats will be thriving or on a path to recovery in terrestrial, freshwater and marine environments.
Our laws and practices will respect the biological integrity of all life while prioritising the health of indigenous species and ecosystems.
The customary and decision-making roles of whānau, hapū and iwi will be integral to decisions about resource use.
Decision-making about resource use will provide for community participation and environmental justice.”
Actions from this policy that work towards these goals include:
- Establish a well-resourced and politically independent Ocean Commission to develop and establish Te Tiriti-based ocean governance of our entire marine area, including the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and to advise Government on legislative, policy and institutional reform. (1.1)
- Reform fisheries and marine protection legislation and establish a national, comprehensive, and coherent system of no-take, marine protected areas. (2.1)
- Resource mātauranga Māori organisations and promote the use of marine cultural health indices to empower community action and well-being to inform policy, management, and operations. (2.4)
- Halt any further degradation of marine and estuarine habitats through the extraction of natural resources, destructive fishing practices or inappropriate construction of our built environments. (4.1)
- Phase out bottom trawling, prioritising seamounts and areas with high levels of sequestered carbon and biodiversity for protection. (5.1)
- Enable kaitiakitanga, including upholding and underpinning Māori fisheries rights in the transition of the QMS to an ecosystem-based management. (5.4)
This policy is one of several Green Party policies that focus on Environmental Protection. The mauri of the oceans is also connected to human activity on land, notably Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Forestry, Housing and Sustainable Communities, Transport, and Waste and Hazardous Substances. Climate Change is also an important connection.