WWF-New Zealand this week placed a series of five advertisements on a digital billboard on Aotea Quay in Wellington.
The billboard highlighted the key finding of a Business Economic Research Limited (BERL) report that WWF commissioned, released earlier this month. The BERL report estimated that removing set-netting and conventional trawling from the whole Māui dolphin habitat while supporting fishing communities to switch to dolphin-safe fishing methods would cost government between $26 and $40 million.
WWF-New Zealand campaigner David Tong said "We took out a billboard, and an advertisement in the Dominion Post before that, because we want to make sure that all members of Parliament - and especially key ministers, like Minister of Primary Industries Nathan Guy - can't ignore its conclusions.
"The BERL report shows our government could remove the biggest threat to Māui dolphins for as little as $26 million - which is less than three years of the ministerial travel budget. It's one-thirtieth of one per cent of the government's annual budget. Nathan Guy cannot reasonably claim that acting to save Māui dolphins is too expensive.
"Māui dolphins are priceless. They are a unique national treasure but right now, less than 45% of these precious dolphins' habitat have any kind of protection from fishing. The Minister, Nathan Guy, claims that this is enough despite two major fishing companies - Moana New Zealand and Sanford Limited - committing to phasing out dolphin-unsafe fishing and the International Whaling Commission's Scientific Committee calling for more action.
"And, since the BERL report's release, 1000 ordinary New Zealanders have emailed the Prime Minister calling for action. Recent polling shows that 75% of New Zealanders want government to support fishing communities to make the switch to save Māui dolphins."
The billboard on Aotea Quay will run from Monday 17 April until Sunday 29 April 2017. Both the billboard and newspaper advertisement were made possible by generous discounts provided by our suppliers.