Greenpeace is slamming the decision to give the important Oceans and Fisheries portfolio to New Zealand First after Shane “ the apostle for industry” Jones landed the Oceans and Fisheries Minister appointment today – and says Christopher Luxon has made a grave error putting the Act Party’s “dinosaur of delay” Andrew Hoggard even partially in charge of the Agriculture and Environment portfolios. The organisation also has a word of warning for the new Energy Minister, Simeon Brown.

On Oceans and Fisheries:

Greenpeace campaigner Ellie Hooper says, “New Zealand First has proven time and time again that it cannot be trusted to act with integrity on fisheries issues.

“The party has previously received tens of thousands of dollars in donations from commercial fishing companies, and Shane Jones has previously called himself an “apostle of industry.

Last time NZ First was in Government, it was revealed that the party received tens of thousands of dollars in donations from fishing company Talley’s – and then acted in ways that supported fishing industry interests over ocean health.

This included delaying the rollout of cameras on boats, which would hold the fishing industry accountable when coral or endangered animals such as dolphins, sea lions and turtles get hauled up or killed in nets. They also pushed to get a Talley’s boat that had trawled illegally in protected areas taken off an international blacklist of disreputable fishing vessels.

This election cycle, NZ First received a donation of $50,000 from P J Vela, founding member of the commercial fishing company Vela Fishing.

“The decision to leave this vital portfolio in the untrustworthy hands of New Zealand First is the height of irresponsibility. We are experiencing an ocean crisis – due in no small part to destructive industries like commercial fishing,” says Hooper.

“Now, the new Luxon-led government has shown they have absolutely zero intention to turn that around and will let NZ First be the mouthpiece for commercial fishing and resist ocean protection at every turn.

“This is the opposite of what the vast majority of New Zealanders want – which is the ocean protected from the ravages of bottom trawling, better transparency, and more areas set off limits for conservation. From the high seas to our blue backyard, the movement to protect the ocean is strong and isn’t going anywhere. 

“Almost 100,000 New Zealanders have called for an end to bottom trawling on vulnerable habitats like seamounts – and together with those people, we won’t stop calling for the ocean to be protected from destructive fishing.”

On Agriculture:

Greenpeace campaigner Amanda Larsson says, “Christopher Luxon has made a grave error naming the dinosaur of delay Andrew Hoggard Associate Minister of Agriculture and of the Environment.”

“With Andrew Hoggard most recently in charge, Federated Farmers has long been the attack dog in the Dairy Industry’s predatory delay of climate action and water protection. They’re one of the main reasons New Zealand has such badly polluted rivers, such dangerous levels of nitrate contamination in rural drinking water and such high levels of climate pollution.

“The question on everyone’s minds will be: is Andrew Hoggard capable of acting in everyone’s interest as the Government is supposed to do, or will he continue shilling for big polluters?

For the last three years, Greenpeace has been offering a community and mail-in water testing service for rural bore users to test the nitrate levels of their drinking water. 

Scientists warn that 800,000 New Zealanders are at risk of exposure to hazardous levels of nitrate. Up to 100 cases of bowel cancer and 40 deaths every year could be attributable to nitrate contamination of drinking water. Emerging evidence shows that nitrate contamination at levels well below the current New Zealand drinking standard presents a risk of reproductive impacts on babies in utero and of bowel cancer.

“Everyone has a right to clean drinking water but, in handing Hoggard the reins on this important portfolio, Luxon has shown he’s willing to stand by while rural communities’ drinking water continues to be poisoned by nitrates from unregulated fertiliser and dairying.

“Greenpeace will continue to expose the impact of intensive dairying and fertiliser on rural people’s health. We will keep advocating for healthy drinking water for all.”

On Oil Exploration:

Greenpeace campaigner Amanda Larsson says “The commitment from all parties in the new Government to bring back offshore oil and gas exploration in Aotearoa is at odds with science and public opinion, and threatens the very future of life on earth.”

“We all want to pass on a safe and stable future to our kids, but instead, we’re seeing a climate crisis unfolding all around us. The new Minister for Energy, Simeon Brown, must maintain the oil and gas ban to safeguard the climate we all depend on.”

“New Zealanders faced a National Government hellbent on oil and gas exploration before and we succeeded in fighting off each oil major one by one.  Brown should have learnt his lesson from the last time National were in Government – we will resist again.”

Greenpeace has recently launched an open letter warning the oil industry to stay away that has been signed by over 13,000 people.

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