Greens welcome Government plan for law change to better protect nature

Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand

The Green Party supports Conservation Minister Kiritapu Allan’s announcements today that Government intends to review the Wildlife Act 1953 and progress work on reforming conservation law.

“Our indigenous wildlife, especially threatened species, need effective protection, and there are some major gaps in the current law,” said Green Party Conservation spokesperson Eugenie Sage.

“The Wildlife Act is more than 60 years old and does not reflect urgent priorities, including uphold Te Tiriti o Waitangi and addressing the climate crisis.

“The twin challenges of a climate crisis and biodiversity crisis mean we need to put Paptūānuku first. Our human wellbeing depends on it.

“Right now, the Wildlife Act is allowing bottom trawling by the fishing industry to destroy supposedly ‘protected’ species such as ancient black corals with impunity. It hasn’t allowed the department or Minister to regulate ‘disturbance’ of protected species, such as the kororā at Pūtiki Bay on Waiheke Island, and the permitting process for scientists wanting to collect and research native species is cumbersome.

“Government action to better protect indigenous wildlife and their habitats is welcome. The Green Party is recommending a new threatened species act to enable better recognition and protection of threatened plants.

“Reform of the Marine Reserves Act and new marine protected areas legislation, which includes our Exclusive Economic Zone, is also a high priority for the Green Party,” says Eugenie Sage

The proposed Global Oceans Treaty aims for a ‘30% by 2030’ target in the high seas, beyond state jurisdictions. The United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity also has proposed a goal of protecting at least 30% of global land and sea by 2030. The Green Party wants to protect 30% of our ocean space by 2030.

“There is an urgent need for a network of marine protected areas and sanctuaries through new legislation. This legislation must uphold rangatiratanga and kaitiakitanga, and be flexible, built-for purpose, and recognise the diversity of marine life.

“We need legislation that provides for protection for migratory corridors of commercial fish species such as tuna, and important seabird feeding and foraging areas. This legislation should have better mechanisms for protecting and managing customary take and recreational fisheries, and supporting taiāpure and mātaitai.

“Wider conservation law reform groundwork is flagged in the roadmap the Government has released. The Green Party is pleased this includes a strong commitment to implementation of Te Mana o te Taiao – Aotearoa New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy 2020, a core part of the Party’s Co-operation Agreement with the Labour Party,” says Eugenie Sage.

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