Environmentalists are disgraced by the Government's refusal to support a marine protection motion at the World Conservation Congress in Hawaii.
The motion urges governments to aim for setting aside 30 percent of the marine environment in protected areas by 2030.
Executive director for environmental group WWF New Zealand Chris Howe says it's a disappointment.
"The Government's refusal to support it is out of stat with New Zealanders' public opinion, global public opinion and science.
"Just a few countries didn't vote for the motion. New Zealand is one of those."
Mr Howe says it shows New Zealand is not a true global leader in environmental protection.
"The motion is not binding, but it does send a really strong message to others that this is what our commitment is.
"It's a shame that New Zealand is not there alongside those countries that made that commitment."
Mr Howe says aside from New Zealand, a majority of the international members supported the motion.