New research shows Kiwis want over a third of our oceans protected | WWF New Zealand

New research shows Kiwis want over a third of our oceans protected

Posted on
25 May 2011
New Colmar Brunton polling has revealed that New Zealanders want more than a third of our oceans protected in marine reserves – a 100 fold increase on current levels.

The research, commissioned and published by WWF-New Zealand today (news eds: Thursday 26 May) has found more than nine in ten New Zealanders (96%) think more of New Zealand’s oceans should be protected in ‘no take’  marine reserves - areas set aside as off limits for extractive activities such as fishing and mining.

On average New Zealanders stated they want about a third (36%) of our oceans protected in marine reserves, 100 times greater than the area currently protected.  

Commenting on the findings of the research, WWF-New Zealand Marine Programme Manager Rebecca Bird said: 

“New Zealand’s oceans are home to a globally significant diversity of wildlife and habitats, and WWF is campaigning for a national network of marine reserves to safeguard our unique marine biodiversity.

“The research shows that protection levels for our seas are a drop in the ocean compared to the scale of protection New Zealanders want.  Currently marine reserves cover a tiny percentage of our oceans.”

“For marine wildlife to be protected and thrive, the government needs to respond to New Zealanders’ views and create more reserves that will act as national parks for the sea,” said Ms Bird.

New Zealanders’ attitudes to marine protection have remained constant over the last few years – polling conducted in 2005 and repeated in 2011 found over nine in ten New Zealanders support more protection of their marine environment in reserves, and on average the proportion they feel is right to protect in marine reserves has remained consistent at 36%.  

The Colmar Brunton poll also asked respondents to estimate how much of New Zealand’s ocean they thought was already protected in marine reserves.  On average, New Zealanders estimated 31% of our oceans is protected in marine reserves, yet in reality the figure stands at just 0.3% .  By comparison, nearly 20% of New Zealand’s land mass is protected with equivalent protection, such as national parks.  

WWF-New Zealand is calling on the Government to reinstate the stalled Marine protected areas process  and bring about the marine protection New Zealanders want to see. Despite many years of promises by successive governments, very little progress has been made towards the government’s own target of protecting 10% of the marine environment in marine reserves.

 “The proportion of our oceans protected in marine reserves is wholly inadequate to safeguard our marine environment and wildlife.  New Zealand’s oceans are under pressure from commercial and recreational fishing, from pollution, and from new threats such as exploration for oil and gas. 

“The research reaffirms that as a nation, New Zealanders value our oceans, and we are conservation-minded people. With a general election looming, the government should seize the opportunity to respect the views of the vast majority of New Zealanders by taking action now to protect our seas.  ” said Ms Bird.



About WWF-New Zealand’s marine conservation programme

•    WWF-New Zealand’s marine programme works to safeguard life in New Zealand’s oceans, through scientific research, advocacy, and public campaigning. 
•    Along with advocating for sustainable fishing, and for the protection of marine species threatened with extinction due to human impacts such as Hector’s and Maui’s dolphins, a national network of marine reserves is critical to safeguarding life in our oceans. 
•    WWF advocates protecting around 30% of New Zealand’s marine environment in marine reserves, setting aside a proportion of each type of marine habitat from exploitation in a comprehensive network.
•    In 2009, WWF publication Future Seas found a national network of marine protected areas was important to ensuring industries that depend upon a healthy function marine ecosystem continue to thrive. 

Research method

•    This survey was conducted using Colmar Brunton’s telephone omnibus, with the methodological details as follows:
o    1,003 telephone interviews with New Zealander’s aged 15 and over
o    Please note interviews were not conducted in Christchurch this year due to the fieldwork’s proximity to the Christchurch earthquake
o    Interviewing conducted using random phone number generation
o    Interviewing was conducted in two waves of the omnibus, from 15 to 21 March and 29 March to 4 April, 2011
o    The data is post-weighted to reflect New Zealand population statistics in terms of gender, age, household size, and region.
o    All demographic differences between subgroups shown in bold are statistically significant at the 95% confidence level; those not in bold differ from the New Zealand average but not significantly so.

For more information please contact:
Rosa Argent, Communications Manager, WWF-New Zealand: 04 4714292 / 0212063561, OR
Jenny Riches, Marketing & Communications Manager, WWF-New Zealand: 04 4714288 / 0274477158


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