Moratorium on deep sea mining a step closer

Following months of pressure from the Green Party and environmental NGO and the public, the Minister for Foreign Affairs today confirmed that she is taking advice on whether the Government should support a moratorium on deep sea mining in international waters. 

“It’s great that the Minister has asked for advice. What the advice should say is: that deep sea mining will destroy seabed habitats and ecosystems and put our oceans and deep sea marine life at risk. So, come on Labour, let’s just get on with this and confirm that New Zealand will support a moratorium on deep sea mining in international waters,” says the Green Party’s oceans and fisheries spokesperson, Eugenie Sage. 

In response to questions from the Green Party, the Minister for Foreign Affairs Nanaia Mahuta told Parliament today that she has asked for advice on Aotearoa New Zealand changing its position and supporting a moratorium on deep-sea mining under the high seas, alongside our Pacific neighbours such as Fiji and Palau.

“Today we are closer than ever to stopping the reckless pursuit of deep sea mining under the high seas. The Minister acknowledged today that anything less than a moratorium could be out of step with our Pacific neighbours.

“We have always said that we just need the political will to make changes that will transform our relationship with the oceans, from one of exploitation to one of respect and protection. 

“Thanks to months of pressure from the Green Party and ocean advocates and the public, today that political will has gotten a little stronger. 

“For months, Ministers have been saying that New Zealand will not support a moratorium on deep sea mining in international waters on the basis that it is involved in negotiations at the International Seabed Authority (ISA).

“The Government is still too wedded to these discussions, particularly when there is no evidence to suggest that deep sea mining can go ahead without destroying the seabed.

“The Green Party has no confidence that the ISA is up to the job of protecting the seabed. It is secretive, makes decisions behind closed doors around the future of our seabed with no public input and appears focuses on promoting and encouraging mining.

“The Government should accept the tide is turning and immediately announce its support for a moratorium. 

This is an opportunity for global leadership from New Zealand. We urge the government to seize the moment and draw a line in the sand against deep sea mining and recognise the need for international leadership in protecting the health of our oceans,” says Eugenie Sage. 

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