31 Aug 2016

PM admits govt could've consulted more on Kermadec Sanctuary

1:25 pm on 31 August 2016

Prime Minister John Key has conceded the government should have consulted more with fishing companies before going ahead with the Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary.

John Key at the announcement today.

Prime Minister John Key Photo: RNZ / Demelza Leslie

The plans would see the area around the Kermadec Islands permanently converted into a marine life sanctuary, covering more than 600,000 square kilometres north-east of the country.

After Mr Key's speech at a seafood industry conference today, Seafood New Zealand chair George Clement said next time the government made a decision as big as the Kermadec sanctuary, it would be proper to discuss it with them before it was made, not afterwards.

Mr Key agreed.

"Yeah, I think there's a fair point there. And I think we've made that point to [Te Ohu Kaimoana] and others who have raised those concerns," he said.

During his speech, Mr Key also told fishery companies they needed to think about both sustainability and expanding their market.

"The point I was really making around something like the Kermadecs is while there's potentially arguably some fishery stock there, I think it's very small, very unlikely it would be commercial.

"And anyway, the gains of being seen to be taking the sort of steps that we're seeing President Obama doing, there are some pay-offs and trade-offs the whole sector needs to think about," Mr Key said.

Earlier this month, United States President Barack Obama announced it would create the world's largest marine reserve by quadrupling Papahanaumokuakea Marine to cover more 1.5 million square kilometres of ocean to the northwest of Hawaii.

The Kermadec Islands are located about 1000km northeast of the North Island.

The Kermadec Islands are located about 1000km northeast of the North Island. Photo: Google Earth

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