30 Nov 2017

Iwi leaders unanimously oppose seismic testing

8:16 pm on 30 November 2017

Iwi leaders who make up the Iwi Chairs Forum have unanimously opposed the continuation of seismic testing and oil exploration in New Zealand's waters.

The Iwi Leaders Forum.

The Iwi Leaders Forum being held at Te Papa in Wellington. Photo: Supplied

At a national hui in Wellington today they discussed the effects seismic surveying is having on the environment.

The gathering has come nearly a week after the Amazon Warrior, the world's largest seismic exploration ship, arrived on the Taranaki Coast.

A petition demanding the new government halt seismic testing in Taranaki Moana gathered over 10,000 signatures in a week.

Taranaki kaumātua and chairman of Te Kāhui o Rauru, Te Pahunga Davis, said the opposition to seismic testing in waters outside of the region was encouraging.

He said the Iwi Chairs Forum also wanted the new government to amend the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and Continental Shelf Act which govern disturbances to marine mammals by seismic surveying.

"They have supported amendments to be made on the EEZ Act to change the definition that this act only relates to marine mammals," Mr Davis said.

"They want that scope widened to include zooplankton which is one of the building blocks in the food chain for marine mammals."

Mr Davis said an amendment was also being sought on consultation with iwi.

He said the support in opposition to seismic testing had been overwhelming.

"We've had tremendous support with this kaupapa from all of the community of Taranaki, not just Māoridom."