Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage has once again failed to do her job to improve environmental protections, today blocking an attempt to better protect endangered Great White Sharks, National’s Conservation spokesperson Sarah Dowie says.

“In Parliament today, the Conservation Minister prevented me from introducing my Members Bill, the Shark Cage Diving (Permitting and Safety) Bill, which will keep both Stewart Islanders and endangered Great White Sharks safe.

“My Bill would help keep people and sharks safe and separate and it’s needed. There are real concerns in Stewart Island that commercial cage diving is making their beaches less safe. We need to do more to reduce the risk of shark attacks and ensure these endangered sharks are left alone.

“Unfortunately for our marine species, a lack of action from the Conservation Minister is becoming a pattern. She is refusing to put in place practical measures to better protect them.

“Ministry for Primary Industries figures show that since 2013, a dozen whales, two orca, six hectors dolphins,  thousands of seals and more than 10,000 seabirds have been caught by commercial fishing vessels in New Zealand waters.

“National had a plan to turn this around by introducing cameras and electronic monitoring on commercial fishing boats. But the Government has delayed this rollout and the result will mean our marine life is less well protected.

“Minister Sage has completely failed in her advocacy and clearly has no voice with her coalition colleagues who are unable, or unwilling, to overcome so-called ‘technical difficulties’ that are delaying a measure that will better protect our marine species.

“It’s not good enough that the very person charged with better protecting our environment is instead doing the opposite. I challenge Minister Sage and the Greens to live up to their promises.”

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