New poll shows ‘overwhelming’ public support for Kermadec/Rangitāhua Ocean Sanctuary
“This polling shows the overwhelming majority of New Zealanders want to see the amazing and ecologically-important Kermadec region protected,” said Peter Hardstaff, Head of Campaigns for WWF-New Zealand.
This Colmar Brunton poll found that 93% of New Zealanders support the creation of the Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary, located north-east of New Zealand. The poll also found that 82% of Māori support the Sanctuary being created. The Colmar Brunton poll, commissioned by The Pew Charitable Trusts and WWF-New Zealand, was conducted in January 2017.
“This polling shows that the fishing industry’s attempts to block marine protection for this beautiful region are out of step with what New Zealanders want,” Mr Hardstaff said.
“It is great to see that so many people support looking after this amazing region,” he said. “The Kermadec/Rangitāhua Ocean Sanctuary offers an opportunity for New Zealand’s fishing industry to demonstrate a clear commitment to best practice ocean management.
“Now we would love for all our political parties to listen to the people of New Zealand and join together to help create the Kermadec/Rangitāhua Ocean Sanctuary – that would be a great achievement for our country and something that we could all be proud of.”
Mr Hardstaff said the Kermadec Islands and the surrounding oceans were one of the most special and pristine marine environments in the world.
“All the science reinforces the fact that it is an exceptional area – with globally-recognised biodiversity and geodiversity hotspots – and it should be protected for future generations now,” he said.
“Whales, dolphins, sharks, albatrosses, petrels, turtles, deep sea corals and unique vent creatures all have a home in this incredible place, and the science shows that many species are still to be discovered,” he said.
The creation of the Kermadec/Rangitāhua Ocean Sanctuary has been supported for many years by New Zealand NGOs, the Green Party, mana whenua, the Labour Party, artists, scientists, thousands of New Zealanders and now the New Zealand government.
“There have been genuine concerns raised around the process for the developing the Kermadec/Rangitāhua Ocean Sanctuary. As a country we need to learn from these and set up a framework for developing marine protection that involves iwi in decision making at every step.
The Kermadec region, comprising about 15% of New Zealand’s ocean environment, accounts for just 0.004% of the value of New Zealand’s fish catch. There is currently no Māori fishing in the region and commercially-viable species in the region are migratory and can all be caught outside the proposed sanctuary.
In September 2016, the government announced that it will progress the Kermadec/Rangitāhua Ocean Sanctuary in face of opposition from the fishing industry for protection of this ecologically-important area.