30 Mar 2011

Doubt cast on protection of marine areas

6:46 pm on 30 March 2011

Statistics on the protection of New Zealand's marine environment appear to show that the Government has been fudging to meet international promises.

At a recent United Nations conference, New Zealand said it had already protected more than 8% of its marine area from exploitation and was on track to protect 10%.

But Department of Conservation figures released to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) show that only about a third of a per cent of the total marine area under New Zealand's control has any significant protection, as in marine reserves.

The amount of land under significant protection is about 19%.

The WWF says New Zealand's seas are home to about 80% of all biological life but have much less protection than the land does.