New Zealand Opens Dolphin Sanctuary to Oil and Gas Drilling

June 18, 2014 at 8:01 AM Leave a comment

Silly me.  I’ve always though of New Zealand as one of the saner countries:

Maui's dolphins via wikimedia commons

(Image via Wikimedia Commons)


The Government has opened up more than 3000 square kilometres of a marine mammal sanctuary for oil and gas drilling, home to the critically endangered Maui’s dolphin.

It comes less than a week after the International Whaling Commission urged our Government to do more to save the species.

The Maui’s dolphin is the world’s rarest. It is estimated there are only 55 left.

“I think primarily once you go from exploration right through to production, you’re not jeopardising the wildlife,” says Minister of Energy and Resources Mr Bridges.

In April, the Government signed off a block offer – the biggest area ever of sea and land for oil and gas exploration.

Now official documents obtained by the Green Party reveal the Department of Conservation pointed out that this is the home of the Maui’s dolphin, known as the West Coast North Island Marine Mammal Sanctuary.

The area the Government has opened up for potential drilling overlaps 3000 square kilometres into the sanctuary, including large areas off the Taranaki coast.

“There has been petroleum exploration in that area for a long period of time,” says Mr Bridges. “I think it’s about achieving a balance.”

Last week the International Whaling Commission said it had “extreme concern” about the decline in Maui’s dolphins.


“Extreme concern?”  Ah, yeah.  Far as we know, there are only 55 adult Maui’s dolphins left on Earth.


Entry filed under: Animals (Other Than Us).

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