The National Government is continuing to undermine the Department of Conservation’s (DOC) work protecting New Zealand’s natural spaces by shifting responsibility for new marine reserves legislation to the Ministry for the Environment (MFE), the Green Party said today.
“It means we’re likely to see weak legislation promoting Clayton’s marine reserves that allow fishing instead of effective no take marine reserves which properly protect marine life and seascapes for their own sake,” said Green Party conservation spokesperson Eugenie Sage.
“The Government has cut funding to DOC, made it increasingly reliant on community and volunteer organisations to do its work, and is now being made to pass over an important piece of legislation.
“We have already waited since 2002 for new marine reserves legislation to come to something, transferring it to MFE will only bury it further.
“The establishment of new marine protected areas and marine reserves under this legislation will suffer. MFE is not involved in the day-to-day environmental management as DOC is.
MFE’s focus is on sustainable management and use. It is not on the protection and preservation of New Zealand’s natural spaces and our native wildlife the way DOC’s is.
“There is also the suggestion that commercial fishers should be compensated when marine reserves and other marine protected areas are set up. This will only discourage Government from protecting marine areas to avoid a significant financial cost on the Crown,” said Ms Sage.