Marine life off Kaikoura will have new protections under planned legislation, but environment groups say they won't work if oil drilling is allowed to continue.
Conservation Minister Nick Smith today announced the Kaikoura Marine Management Bill, which will create a new marine reserve, a whale and a fur seal sanctuary, five customary fishing areas and new recreational fishing regulations.
Dr Smith will introduce the bill to Parliament next week.
"These measures will benefit Kaikoura's whales, dolphins, seals, albatross, rock lobster, shellfish and finfish, as well as helping to sustain Kaikoura's $134 million a year tourism industry," he said.
Dr Smith said the package had been created collaboratively between iwi, recreational, commercial and charter fishers, boating and conservation groups.
Forest and Bird, which was involved in the bill's formation, welcomed the measures, saying they were the result of nine years of "very hard work".
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"Naturally we see this announcement as a positive step," Forest and Bird spokeswoman Karen Baird said.
World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) said it was "great" to see the Government focusing on environmental issues.
"This package will not only help protect wildlife but it will benefit people and the economy," WWF-New Zealand executive director Chris Howe said.
However, both groups say without a ban on deep-sea drilling, the measures don't go far enough.
"It is highly contradictory that the Government is positioning itself in this election year as the saviour of our marine environment, when it is effectively subsidising the dangerous, climate-changing deep sea oil drilling industry to the tune of tens of millions of dollars a year," Ms Baird said.
WWF said it would be a tragedy to see "all this good work" ruined by an oil spill.
source: newshub archive