Tuesday, September 29, 2015

A victory for the environment

A couple of years ago National was trying to dig up our national parks. Now they're palnning to declare a massive marine sanctuary over the entire Kermadec Islands EEZ:

A vast stretch of New Zealand's exclusive economic zone is being turned into an ocean sanctuary in a landmark deal to preserve one of the most pristine and unique environments on earth.

Prime Minister John Key announced the deal in New York Tuesday NZT, and said it would encompass 620,000 km2 in the seas north-east of New Zealand in the Kermadec region.

"The Kermadec Ocean sanctuary will be one of the world's largest and most significant fully-protected areas, preserving important habitats for seabirds, whales and dolphins, endangered marine turtles and thousands of species of fish and other marine life," Key said.

The sanctuary will cover 15 per cent of New Zealand's exclusive economic zone, an area twice the size of our landmass and 50 times the size of our largest national park in Fiordland.

Of course, it still requires legislation, and a lot will depend on the exact form of that legislation (not to mention them actually getting around to passing it). But its still a sign of how much National has been forced to shift on the environment. They know the public values our natural heritage, so they have to at least pretend to care about it; the 2010-era Brownlee attitude of bulldozing it all simply isn't tenable in New Zealand.