Conserving Our Ocean: A Constitutional Compromise? A Critical Evaluation of the Proposed Governing Body in the Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary Bill
35 Pages Posted: 12 Jul 2019
Date Written: July 4, 2019
Measures taken for environmental protection are imperative to ensure long-term global sustainability. The severity of anthropogenic threats to the natural world are becoming alarmingly more apparent. In seeking to conform to international obligations to support environmental conservation, the National Government introduced the Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary Bill. The Bill seeks to establish the largest marine protected area in New Zealand’s exclusive economic zone. The Sanctuary proposes the governing entity to be the Conservation Board model as contained in the Conservation Act 1987. This paper assesses the conformity of the Board to Māori expectations arising from the Treaty of Waitangi and current developments in resource management. Various lenses to the Crown’s commitments arising from the Treaty partnership are applied. The Board and Bill are then assessed against three different standards to determine whether the procedural implementation of the Sanctuary complies with the behaviour expected of the Crown as a partner to the Treaty. These measures are: the standards outlined in the ‘New Marine Protected Areas Act: Consultation Document’, the expectations the “Māori lens” to the Treaty generates, and the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi. Ultimately, the proposed governing body fails to facilitate the expected standard of Māori participation or align with innovations in power-sharing resource governance arrangements.
Keywords: Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary Bill, Conservation Board, Treaty of Waitangi, bi-cultural conservation jurisprudence, co-management resource governance
JEL Classification: K00
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation