Marine Protection Bill encouraging, but more work required

The Hauraki Gulf / Tīkapa Moana Marine Protection Bill is an encouraging example of what cross-party co-operation can achieve.

“Today was a positive step forward, but there is still a mountain to climb when it comes to protecting and preserving the health of our ocean,” says Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson.

“While we join the Environment select committee in supporting the recommendations for amendment, the Green Party would have liked to see the ecological integrity and mauri of Tīkapa Moana / Hauraki Gulf given the best possible chance of recovery and restoration. 

“That recovery and restoration is best achieved by prohibiting bottom trawling methods in the Gulf. Advice from officials is clear that stopping bottom trawling could have significant biodiversity and ecosystem benefits.

“If this Government is serious about protecting our oceans, it can meet this challenge by taking on board the advice of officials and bringing this archaic practice to an end. 

“We welcome the positive step of establishing more innovative and te Tiriti-centred legislative tools that uphold the rights of tangata whenua and mana moana by reaffirming customary fishing rights.

“However, we wish to emphasise that if Aotearoa is going to make a meaningful difference in turning the tide on marine life and biodiversity decline—not only in Tīkapa Moana but across the moana—New Zealand’s efforts will need to be at a much greater scale.

“The Green Party campaigned on protecting 30 percent of our oceans. We will continue to fight for our marine environment so it can be enjoyed across future generations,” says Marama Davidson. 

Local MP for Auckland Central and Green Party co-leader Chlöe Swarbrick added that “local iwi and community groups have been fighting for generations to see the ecosystem flourish in our big blue backyard.

“Passing this law is the bare minimum Parliament can do. But an end to bottom trawling and 30 percent protection would mean our so-called House of Representatives actually working in the interests of those we represent.”

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