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Source: New Zealand Parliament – Hansard

ORAL QUESTIONS

QUESTIONS TO MINISTERS

Question No. 1—Oceans and Fisheries

1. Hon JAMES SHAW (Co-Leader—Green) to the Minister for Oceans and Fisheries: Will the Government take action to protect 30 percent of Aotearoa New Zealand’s oceans by 2030, given that more than 50 other countries have committed to doing so, including, recently, the United States?

Hon DAVID PARKER (Minister for Oceans and Fisheries): The Government’s first priority regarding marine protection is to reform the marine protected areas Act. One of the most glaring issues to fix is that we don’t yet have marine protection legislation covering the exclusive economic zone. It is Government policy to seek protection of 30 percent of marine areas over time. A range of protection arrangements different to those in the Marine Reserves Act may be necessary. I also note for the member that the High Ambition Coalition (HAC) group of countries have not yet made a binding commitment to protect 30 percent of either the global oceans or their own space; rather, it’s a group of countries that are seeking to promote such an outcome from negotiations later this year.

Hon James Shaw: What advice, if any, has he requested from officials following his statement late last year that “We need to do better in respect of bottom trawling.”?

Hon DAVID PARKER: One of the areas of advice that I have sought is better information as to whether there are new areas being bottom trawled or it’s repetition of trawling over previously trawled areas.

Hon James Shaw: Why did the New Zealand delegation oppose measures at the recent South Pacific regional fisheries management meeting to strengthen the protection of deep-sea corals and other vulnerable marine ecosystems?

Hon DAVID PARKER: The—well, point of order, Mr Speaker. I don’t see how that’s relevant to the question that’s been asked—the primary question.

SPEAKER: Well, I—no. No, I—[Interruption] I want to hear the response from James Shaw. I mean, I would have thought that corals could have been affected by bottom trawling, but I’m not an expert.

Hon James Shaw: Well, the primary question was about taking action to protect 30 percent of our oceans, and the HAC coalition that the Minister referred to—it talks about the oceans in their fulsomeness, not just fisheries, and, as you say, the coral reefs and so on are part of the ocean ecosystem.

SPEAKER: I’m—yeah, the Minister will answer the question.

Hon DAVID PARKER: I’m sure officials thought that they were properly reflecting Government policy. I don’t have the detailed information to hand to give the member a more fulsome answer.

Chlöe Swarbrick: Will the Minister instruct officials to recognise and support the rāhui that Ngāti Paoa has recently placed on the waters around Waiheke Island to protect ao Hauraki from overfishing?

Hon DAVID PARKER: I am aware of the rāhui and local concerns about overfishing of various mainly shellfish species and rock lobster. I have sought advice from officials as to what the Crown response should be as to whether there ought to be action from the Government of a similar nature. No decision has yet been made.

Debbie Ngarewa-Packer: Kia ora. Will the Government take action to protect Aotearoa oceans by legislating for a nationwide ban on seabed mining permits and revoke existing seabed mining permits that threaten the health of our moana?

Hon DAVID PARKER: That’s not currently Government policy, but it’s not to say that the issue will be—may or may not be revisited in the future.

Debbie Ngarewa-Packer: I’m not clear: is that a yes or a no?

SPEAKER: That—[Interruption] No, well, that’s all right. That’s a supplementary question.

Hon DAVID PARKER: It was—the answer was that that’s not currently Government policy to have a ban on all seabed mining, but it doesn’t mean to say that the issue won’t be revisited in the future.

Tim van de Molen: Will the Minister at least commit to creating the Kermadec ocean sanctuary during this parliamentary term; if not, why not?

Hon DAVID PARKER: I can commit to using my best endeavours, but it isn’t good to land something, or to claim to land something, before you’ve caught it, which is what the prior Government did.

Hon Dr Nick Smith: Point of order. I seek leave of the House for the Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary Bill in my name to be set down as the first order of the day on the next members’ day.

SPEAKER: Is there any objection to that course of action? Yes, there is.

MIL OSI