Protecting the environment and upholding the Treaty is possible

The Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand has condemned the Government’s handling of the proposed Kermadec/Rangitāhua Ocean Sanctuary.

“Because it was more interested in a publicity stunt than a proper outcome, National has achieved the impossible – disagreement about a sanctuary that virtually everyone wants,” said Green Co-leader Metiria Turei.

“The Green Party has campaigned for the Kermadec/Rangitāhua Sanctuary for a long time and remains committed to it.

“Everyone wants healthy oceans and abundant fish for current and future generations. Protecting parts of our oceans from fishing and mining helps ensure plenty of fish and healthy oceans, and the Kermadec/Rangitāhua Sanctuary is an important part of that.

“However, we all know that unless you acknowledge and respect people’s rights, you end up in a mess like this. Breaching the Treaty, either through bad process or removing rights, does not secure lasting protection for the environment. It simply means you end up in the courts and delaying what everyone wants.

“Quite clearly to achieve lasting protection for the environment, we need to respect the Treaty relationship. National knows this, but failed to do what was needed – all so John Key could show off on the international stage.

“The Green Party is proud of our principled history of standing up for Treaty rights, including on the Foreshore and Seabed legislation. We are absolutely committed to that.

“It is entirely possible to achieve environmental protection and uphold Treaty rights, and there are plenty of good examples where this has been achieved.

“In Government, the Green Party would introduce a new marine protection law for the EEZ which recognises the Treaty, ensures there is serious consultation in establishing new marine protected areas, and introduces more effective mechanisms for iwi management of new areas,” said Mrs Turei.

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