Greenpeace is today calling for an immediate independent investigation into the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI), following extremely serious allegations that the government department covered up the death of a Māui dolphin.

An investigation by German conservation organisation, NABU, has concluded that MPI covered up the death in a gill net of a critically endangered Māui dolphin in the 2012/13 fishing season.

Greenpeace New Zealand Executive Director, Russel Norman, says he’s shocked by the allegations.

“There are fewer than 50 Māui dolphins left in the world, and New Zealand is responsible for ensuring their survival,” he says.

“It is incredibly serious if, as NABU allege, the government agency responsible for enforcing the regulations protecting Māui is actually complicit in covering up one of their deaths. This loss would equate to 2% of the remaining Māui dolphin global population.

“It certainly raises questions as to the integrity of New Zealand’s system of regulating the fishing industry. It can only be dealt with by an independent investigation into the Ministry.

“The fact that this death is also reported to have happened outside the Māui’s current marine protected area is another reason to extend these protections.”