[Sitting date: 10 May 2012. Volume:679;Page:2173. Text is incorporated into the Bound Volume.]
GARETH HUGHES (Green) to the
Minister of Conservation: What are the benefits of the marine reserve proposed for Akaroa Harbour?
Hon TONY RYALL (Minister of Health) on behalf of the
Minister of Conservation: I can inform the member that the benefits of a marine reserve include protection to sea life, as they are no-take areas. This means that nobody, including iwi and local fishermen, is able to collect fish or seafood from a marine reserve. In terms of the specific benefits of a reserve in Akaroa Harbour, the member’s question is one that the court has determined will need close consideration before a final decision is made on the proposal, and I think it would therefore not be in the public interest for me to comment further on that specific proposal at this time.
Gareth Hughes: Given that the Director-General of Conservation has argued for the Akaroa Harbour marine reserve and that it would be expected to increase visitor numbers and would likely contribute to the local economy, would the reserve not be good for the environment and the economy?
Hon TONY RYALL: As with all such marine reserves, there are arguments both for and against. There have been considerable arguments over a number of reserves, such that this Government, certainly, in its period of time has managed to see nine new reserves established in 3 years.
Gareth Hughes: Is it correct that New Zealand has only 0.3 percent of our waters in marine reserve, failing our 10 percent by 2010 target?
Hon TONY RYALL: It would be correct to say that it is around 0.3 percent if you took into account our 200-kilometre economic zone. But if you take into account the 12 nautical mile territorial sea, which I understand is the more internationally used measure, our marine reserves are at 12 percent marine protected areas. I think that is a very positive position to be in.
Gareth Hughes: Does the Minister still stand by her statement in 2010 that Akaroa Harbour is in a degraded ecological state, which makes it highly desirable for a conservation zone to be established in the harbour, and will she now approve the marine reserve application?
Hon TONY RYALL: As acting Minister I am not able to confirm what the Minister said, as quoted by that member. What I am able to say is that certainly as a Minister in the National Government this Minister has been part of the team that has overseen the creation of nine new reserves in 3 years, which seems to be a pretty good record against 17 reserves in 9 years under the Labour-Green Governments.