EDS supports new Marine Protected Areas Act but bizarre omission needs fixing

EDS lodged its submissions on the new Marine Protected Areas Act with the Ministry for the Environment today. A full copy of the submission is available here.

“We strongly support the initiative to develop a new Marine Protected Areas Act,” said EDS Policy Director Raewyn Peart.

“However there are a number of matters which need to be fixed before a new Bill is drafted.

“The most glaring and frankly bizarre omission is the failure to extend the legislation to 95 per cent of New Zealand’s marine realm, the Exclusive Economic Zone.

 “Enabling the creation of MPAs within the EEZ has been achieved in many other countries such as Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom.

“Leaving the EEZ out of new legislation here would put New Zealand at the rear rather than at the forefront of good marine management practice.

“Without the inclusion of the EEZ in the new legislation, New Zealand will be unable to comply with its international obligations. This will affect our credibility and standing within the international community and could have negative spin-off effects on marine-related export industries.

“A failure to enable marine protection within the EEZ will also result in ad hoc management, uncertain outcomes for both the environment and the business community and high costs for potential applicants.

“Our discussions with politicians, policy-makers and key stakeholders indicate that this issue is capable of resolution, and we will be working towards an acceptable outcome prior to the legislation being introduced into the House later this year.

“We also contend that the policy would be strengthened by providing a mechanism for national guidance on marine protected areas. This would bring good science to the table.

“The National Party promised that new law would extend to the EEZ.

“We have been waiting a long time for this new legislation and we need to get it right,” concluded Ms Peart.

Last updated at 8:35AM on March 10, 2016