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MPA Analysis

Main Points from the Analysis of MPA Submissions

Trish Rea

27 May 2005



  1. The Department of Conservation (DOC) and the Ministry of Fisheries (MFish) jointly released the Marine Protected Areas (MPA) Policy Statement and Implementation Plan for consultation on the 8th November 2004. Submissions on the consultation document closed on 28th February 2005.
  2. DOC and MFish then commissioned Enfocus Consulting Ltd to prepare an independent summary of submissions.
  3. Full summary of submissions available here » » (PDF 150Kb)
  4. This document is a brief analysis of their summary of submissions.

Submissions received

  1. DOC and MFish received a total of 68 submissions.
  2. Submissions were received from the following groups/sectors:
    • Community groups – 4
    • Conservation Authority and Boards – 7
    • Environmental NGOs submitters – 7
    • Government (Central) – 3 submissions
    • Government (Local) – 8
    • Government (Australian) – 1
    • Individual – 9
    • Industry (seafood, aquaculture, energy, oil and gas) – 9
    • Recreational Fishing – 3
    • Recreational Diving NGO – 1
    • Science – 3
    • Tangata whenua – 13


  1. Tangata whenua and industry submitters seek greater clarity around what is being protected and why it is being protected. In their view a robust MPA policy needs to include a clear assessment of the threats or risks to biodiversity. Recreational fishing groups support this view.
  2. Just over half (53%) of submitters say they see merit biodiversity protection and express a desire for a more strategic approach to protecting marine biodiversity.
  3. Nearly half of submitters (48%) from across all sector groups say they have not been given sufficient opportunity to participate in the development of the draft policy and implementation plan thus far.
  4. 40% of submitters in total reject all or part of the proposed MPA implementation plan.


Oceans Policy

  1. More than a quarter of submitters (28%) specifically say MPA policy should not go ahead in the absence of an agreed Oceans Policy with more saying that they are frustrated that the Oceans Policy has not been completed.

Treaty Obligations

  1. Tangata whenua submitters are very concerned that the draft policy does not address the implications of the Treaty on both customary and commercial fishery rights or recognise their kaitaki role.


  1. There appears to be little confidence that the proposed process will overcome localised tensions and result in an effective MPA programme.

Consultation with Tangata Whenua

  1. TPK and all tangata whenua submitters strongly make the point that the special relationship between the Crown and Maori requires/necessitates on-going consultation with Maori on all aspects of MPA policy development and implementation.

Use of Expert Groups

  1. Environmental NGO, industry, other industry groups, tangata whenua and recreational fishing submitters strongly reject the use of expert groups, which they see as exclusive decision-making fora.

Other Agencies

  1. Submitters from central and local government, industry, and environmental NGOs say other agencies need to have a role in MPA policy and implementation – beyond just DOC and the MFish.
  2. Regional councils wish to be seen as a partner in the MPA process – not excluded from it.


  1. Separate implementation processes and especially separate consultation processes are seen as inefficient and not helpful by a large number of submitters (40%).
  2. Some environmental NGOs say they have no confidence that MFish is an appropriate agency to be overseeing the development and implementation of MPA policy.

Suggestions for Change

  1. Many submitters suggest changes to various parts of the process; however, two submitters suggest the entire process should be changed. These are Te Ohu Kai Moana and SeaFIC.

Risk Assessment

  1. Tangata whenua, industry and recreational fishing submitters believe that the draft policy needs to incorporate a risk-based approach to biodiversity protection.
  2. A number of submitters from across all the sector groups are concerned that land based impacts and other non-fishing threats are not addressed.

Consultation Document

  1. A number of submitters say that the consultation document is overly complicated and difficult to interpret. Some even suggest the document is deliberately confusing and misleading.

NZ Biodiversity Strategy

  1. Tangata whenua submitters say that the MPA policy cannot be seen as a bicultural approach to biodiversity management and therefore fails to meet the objectives of the NZBS.

Convention on Biological Diversity

  1. A number of submitters are concerned that reference to the CBD is not included in the draft MPA policy.

10% Protection Target

  1. Many submitters comment that the 10% is unclear, ambiguous and poorly defined.
  2. Submitters then split into three camps, those that:
    • Support a protection target of 10% (generally individual and community groups, and some conservation boards)
    • Seek a target greater than 10% (environmental NGOs)
    • Oppose the 10% target (tangata whenua, recreational fishers, and industry submitters).

Policy Scope

  1. All environmental NGOs express concern with the proposed definition and scope of the policy. They say the current scope is too narrow and they wish to see the definition and scope of the policy amended to reflect "international understanding of the key features of an MPA."
  2. Tangata whenua submitters strongly disagree with proposed definition and policy saying it appears geared towards the establishment of marine reserves and the exclusion of biodiversity maintenance and protection within a sustainable utilisation model. They call for a more balanced and holistic approach to managing marine biodiversity.

MPAs in the EEZ

  1. Environmental NGOs support the establishment of MPAs in the EEZ.
  2. ECO and Forest and Bird Central Office believe that the scope should further be expanded to the continental shelf.
  3. ECO also wants to see internal waters included.
  4. The Petroleum Association of New Zealand (PEANZ) provided Government with a legal opinion that suggests establishing MPAs in the EEZ may not be within New Zealand's domestic jurisdiction.

Land based Impacts

  1. A number of submitters are concerned that land based impacts and other non-fishing threats such as those caused by shipping/transport are not addressed.

Property Rights

  1. All industry groups want the MPA policy to include a clearer explanation of what constitutes a legal property right and why property rights need to be recognised.
  2. Tangata whenua submitters insist that commercial and customary property rights should not be undermined by the MPA policy.
  3. ECO says that "public rights should take priority over private rights".
  4. Recreational fishers ask for their rights (along with the rights of the public) to be clearly defined and recognised in the policy.

Displaced Fishing Effort

  1. The New Zealand Marine Sciences Society (NZMSS) notes that the policy does not address issues relating to displaced fishing effort resulting from the establishment of MPAs; and, some seafood industry submitters also raise this.

Protection Tools

  1. ECO points out that Fisheries Act closures are not permanent and should not therefore qualify as MPAs.
  2. Forest and Bird Central Office sees fishing as an "unreasonable activity" in a MPA, "just as mining has been accepted as an unreasonable activity".
  3. There appears to be little support for including cable protection zones as MPAs.

Stock Strategies

  1. There is considerable uncertainty as to how stock strategies will contribute to MPAs.

Classification System

  1. Submitters from across almost all the sector groups want the IUCN principles on marine protected areas to be taken into account in developing a classification framework and associated management units or regions.


  1. Many submitters note that the proposed timeline is unrealistic and unworkable.

Operational Plan

  1. Tangata whenua and industry submitters in particular have little faith in the operating plan and do not support it.


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