Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary uncertainty

The previous National Government proposed a massive ocean sanctuary in the Kermadec area to the north of New Zealand.

This hit problems largely due to a lack of decent consultation with Maori interests.

The Green Party was caught between it’s enthusiasm for the Kermadec sanctuary – they had been pushing for one – and proper process on Maori issues.

National’s Nick Smith has raised the Kermadec issue again from Opposition – Smith denies his Kermadec bill a coalition wedge:

The National party has put forward its own legislation to create the Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary, a move which could drive a wedge between parties in the coalition government.

Nelson MP Nick Smith has lodged a member’s bill to ban all mining and fishing over 620,000km/sq around the Kermadec Islands.

The Greens have previously proposed such a sanctuary, but New Zealand First opposes it and any plans have been put on hold until a solution can be found.

Dr Smith said he rejected suggestions he was stirring trouble.

“It’s gotta be bigger than simply party political gains.

“We gave it our best shot in government. To get there you need perseverance, you need to keep trying. This is National continuing to want to do the right thing for improving protection of New Zealand’s ocean area.”

A follow up from RNZ: Green Party ‘yet to consider’ Kermadec bill

The Green Party has cast doubt on suggestions it can be relied on to support National’s bill to create the Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary.

Dr Smith said he was confident the proposed law would have the support to pass, with National’s 56 votes and the Green Party’s eight.

“The Greens have indicated to me their support for any bill that would put the sanctuary in place,” he said.

But a Green Party spokesperson said its MPs had yet to consider how they would vote on Dr Smith’s bill.

The spokesperson said the party’s priority was for the government to progress the scheme, as noted in its confidence and supply deal with Labour.

That agreement included a commitment to “use best endeavours and work alongside Māori” to establish the Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary.

That could prove difficult though.

New Zealand First has previously objected to the plan, saying it curtailed Māori fishing rights.

And the government has put any legislation on hold until a resolution can be found that is satisfactory to all parties.

The chances of the Member’s Bill being drawn from the ballot are normally slim. There are usually three drawn out of around sixty bills.

But it could be different this term with National dominating Opposition. If they limit the number of bills submitted they will increase the odds of preferred bills being drawn.


  1. Alan Wilkinson

     /  December 4, 2017

    Maui’s fishhook hauls up the Greens.

  2. Blazer

     /  December 4, 2017

    Smitty just reeks of…insincerity.-backpfeifengesicht.

    • Gezza

       /  December 4, 2017

      Well, yes, it does, but The Greens totally screwed up last time, forgetting & ignoring that Maori hadn’t been properly consulted, so they now recognise this & are having a re-think. It’s going nowhere until they’ve done their penance & due diligence – sussing out the risks in the Maori vote area.

  3. George

     /  December 4, 2017

    Since no-one actually works those grounds why not make them a ‘fishing sanctuary’.
    Shuts the greens up and looks good on the resume

  4. Zedd

     /  December 4, 2017

    methinks Dr Smith is just trying to create mischief with this; to try & drive a wedge between NZF & Greens ?!

    Smith claims to be a ‘BLUE-green’, but if he is genuinely concerned about the environment, then why support oil drilling & intensive dairying etc. which are ‘pollution-plus’ strategies

    To many Greens, the whole idea of ‘Blue-greens’ is just anathema; you cant have people who support a ‘totally unrestricted’ free market then claim they genuinely also support environmental issues too.. it just ‘goes against the grain’ sez I

    • PDB

       /  December 4, 2017

      Labour supports oil drilling and most intensification of the dairy herd came under the Helen Clark govt, so your whole argument falls over at the first hurdle. Labour also shafted Maori (Tuhoe and Foreshore and Seabed) yet also wrongly get held up as being better for Maori.

      The only thing you have proved is the falsity that the left have a mortgage of being the only people that care about the environment. Your confusion (maybe deliberately) is in comparing the far-right (who maybe don’t give a shit about the environment) with a National party that sits only slightly to the right of centre – some critics would say the Helen Clark govt was no further left than the following National party one.

      The last National govt never “supported a ‘totally unrestricted’ free market” – so again you resort to a straw man argument.

  5. robertguyton

     /  December 4, 2017

    “Smith denies his Kermadec bill a coalition wedge”
    Same old bullsh*t.

    • PDB

       /  December 4, 2017

      Considering the were all for it whilst in govt why wouldn’t they want to progress it?

      Its not like they suddenly came up with the idea just to force the Greens to actually have some principles for a change.

  6. robertguyton

     /  December 4, 2017

    “Over the weekend Don Brash crawled out of his fetid crypt to remind us all that he was still a racist old arsehole. And the National party followed suit, by reintroducing their Kermadec ocean sanctuary Bill. As I’ve said before, a Kermadec Ocean sanctuary is a good idea. But it also pisses all over a Treaty of Waitangi settlement. National, the party of racists, naturally ignores this completely, and wants to unilaterally overturn the settlement. This calls the government’s good faith and the entire settlements process into doubt. And National is doing this not because it particularly cares about our oceans – they don’t, any more than they care about our national parks – but simply in an effort to stir trouble in the coalition government. Its a piss-poor reason to undermine a fundamental of our constitution. But isn’t it so very, very National?

    I want to see the Kermadecs protected. I also want the government to honour the Treaty and act in good faith towards its Treaty partners. These are not irreconcilable goals, and I’m confident that the current government is both interested in and capable of finding a solution. But National’s arrogant racism isn’t helping. If they really wanted an ocean sanctuary, they’d drop their bill, and focus on negotiations instead.”
    I/S at NoRightTurn gets it right.

    • PDB

       /  December 4, 2017

      “Don Brash crawled out of his fetid crypt to remind us all that he was still a racist old arsehole” “National, the party of racists” “National’s arrogant racism”

      Not that your constant nonsense needed further discrediting, let alone by yourself…no fan of Brash myself but you sound rather bitter & nasty – as well as ignoring the truth.

      The current govt isn’t interested in the Kermadec sanctuary because Winston is paid for by his fishing mates & Labour/Greens sold out to Winston in order to become govt. For a rabid lefty like yourself it’s far easier to blame National however than deal with the hard facts.

      • robertguyton

         /  December 4, 2017

        PDB – for goodness sake, man, I was quoting someone! It’s not the first time you’ve failed to notice the details of a comment. In actual factual, I once had breakfast with Dr. Brash and we chatted about this and that. I noticed his choice of breakfast food was poor, as if he had no idea about eating healthily. Your opinion on the Kermadec issue, btw, is seriously off.

        • PDB

           /  December 4, 2017

          It is directly quoting someone who’s opinions you agree with so what’s the difference?

          For instance I wouldn’t quote Cameron Slater or someone saying the Labour party was a bunch of racists and then say at the bottom of the post that I agree with him.

        • PDB

           /  December 4, 2017

          Robert: “Your opinion on the Kermadec issue, btw, is seriously off.”

          Facts Robert…facts

          Stuff: “NZ First, whose senior MPs are close to the fishing industry and whose campaign was partly bankrolled by players in the fishing industry, demanded Labour stop the sanctuary.”

          “fishing industry spokesman Charles Hufflett, a shareholder in family fishing company Solander, said the industry had lobbied NZ First to stop the sanctuary.”

          “And it is understood Jacinda Ardern agreed a Labour-NZ First government would not progress legislation to establish the sanctuary in this three-year Parliamentary term.”

  7. In my deeply conservative fiscal bubble there is not a single person I know who isn’t deeply environmentally conscious. It pisses me off that bearded hipsters, more often than not, avowed townies think they own the moral high ground when it comes to the environment. It beggars belief that every single thinking person in this country wouldn’t be behind this sanctuary, including all Iwi, hapu and urban Māori.

    • PDB

       /  December 4, 2017

      The real question should be why wont Maori sign off on the Kermadecs?

      Will it be a case of the govt being happy enough to sign away everybody else’s fishing rights in this country for the greater good but not Maori?

      The big joke of course is Winston using Maori treaty claims as the reason for his rejection of the idea (even though in truth he is simply paying back the fishing industry that helped finance his campaign) even though Winston has been for his whole career against Maori having separate rights for anything.

      • High Flying Duck

         /  December 4, 2017

        I would assume the reason is as simple as – the relevant tribe had rights in that area, which they are losing (whether used or not).
        When something is taken away from you by the Government, there is usually compensation.
        I don’t believe there has even been consultation as yet?

        Nick Smith handled it appallingly. And now Labour are going to be just as bad and drag it out to avoid upsetting NZ First…

        • Gezza

           /  December 4, 2017

          I think you have got that pretty well spot on, except that I think Nick did as he was told & the fact that it was appallingly handled was something that was just too bad. John wanted to Big Note at the UN, no time to work it thru properly.

          “Tuff luck Nick. just get out there, do a quick sham of a consultation, & when the shit flies, just take another one for the team! God knows you’ve had plenty of experience at that!” Sort of thing?

          • High Flying Duck

             /  December 4, 2017

            I get the feeling you’re giving NS far too much credit in thinking he’s not completely capable of utterly stuffing the whole thing up unaided.

            • Oh, quite possibly, but as he’d be equally capable of stuffing it up by accidentally doing it properly, I reckon he was given directions.

      • Once a populist, always one…

  8. It’s going to be interesting when ( over the next few years) people really catch on to just exactly who are the true champions of the environment. It’s looking very much like it’s not going to be Labour/Greens. National’s history of sanctuary conference speaks for itself.

    “National MP Nick Smith has lodged a Member’s Bill to establish the 620,000km2 ocean sanctuary around the Kermadec Islands in New Zealand’s most northern islands.

    This is the third Bill attempting to create the Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary. It follows a Bill from Green MP Gareth Hughes and builds on the work put into Dr Smith’s previous Government Bill. It was approved for introduction by the National Caucus on 7 November.

    Dr Smith says the proposed Kermadec Sanctuary will protect one of the most pristine and diverse areas of ocean anywhere in the world. It contains the world’s largest chain of underwater volcanoes and the second deepest ocean trench.

    “The Sanctuary would be home to six million sea birds, 35 species of fish and three of the world’s seven species of sea turtle. The protection of this area is a unique opportunity for New Zealand to make a global contribution towards better conservation of the world’s oceans.

    “I am confident we will be successful in establishing the Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary. With National’s 56 votes and the Green’s 8 votes, there is a clear Parliamentary majority.

    “The Sanctuary has strong public support with independent opinion polls showing 93 per cent of New Zealanders – including 82 per cent of Māori – indicating support for it.

    “All of the 17 marine protected areas I have been involved in creating have had some controversy and setbacks, but perseverance and advocacy have seen them achieved in time. At twice the size of New Zealand’s land area, the scale of the Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary was always going to make it a hotly debated initiative.

    “New Zealand this weekend is rightly celebrating the establishment of the Ross Sea Marine Protected Area in the international waters surrounding Antarctica – a joint initiative we took with the United States. It took eight years to secure the agreement of 25 member countries of the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources. The Kermadecs in the sub-tropics is the next logical step in establishing a network of protected areas.

    “I will continue to work to build support for this Sanctuary amongst Māori and acknowledge the consistent and strong support by tangata whenua, Ngāti Kuri. There has been no commercial fishing by Māori in these waters, and the right to establish Marine Protected Areas through the setup of the Quota Management system – as well as the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries settlement – has always been retained,” he says.

    Dr Smith says his Bill is about New Zealand making a global contribution to the challenge of ocean conservation.

    “New Zealand is an international leader in terrestrial conservation with 30 per cent of our land area conserved, but we lag on marine conservation with less than one per cent of our waters protected. This new Sanctuary would fully protect 15 per cent of our ocean area.”