Hon. Dr Nick Smith’s statement that ‘New Zealand’s ambition is to be a leader in oceans management’ is to be congratulated. This, combined with the creation of the Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary on 29 September, puts
New Zealand on a trajectory to make real progress at a local, national and global level – however there is still a great deal of work to do. What framework, in particular what institutions, instruments and information, will enable efficient and effective outcomes for oceans management going forward? No doubt there are more than a few policy analysts thinking about this.
In March 2015, the McGuinness Institute published the One Ocean report to bring together the policy history on ocean management. This has led to a small group of New Zealanders coming together to explore the creation of a Pacific and Southern oceans institute. We were looking for a game-changer to ensure ocean policy is developed in an informed, considered and comprehensive manner.
Proposal for the creation of a Pacific and Southern oceans institute
The proposal is to establish an independent policy institute for the pacific and southern oceans, possibly based in Wellington, New Zealand. The primary function of this institute would be to (i) bring together information on our oceans, (ii) connect stakeholder perspectives for constructive discussions and (iii) advocate for the delivery of evidence-based policy advice on oceans to government and the general public. Ultimately, the oceans institute would exist for the public good, and as such must act for the benefit of all New Zealanders.
How you can get involved
We are currently inviting comments on the Draft Discussion Paper 2015/01: Proposal for the Creation of an Oceans Institute. On Thursday 15 October, the McGuinness Institute is hosting a round table meeting to discuss feedback. If you are interested in attending this meeting, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Based on the feedback, we will then work hard to produce a useful final paper for MPs and other parties in early November.
Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith is currently in Valparaiso, Chile representing New Zealand at the Our Oceans Conference (5-6 October 2015). The aim of the conference is to improve the management of the world’s oceans.
Information about the One Ocean report
On 26 March 2015 the Institute launched Report 10: One Ocean: Principles for the stewardship of a healthy and productive ocean, the major piece of work of Project One Ocean. This report explores the seascape of New Zealand, in the past, the present and the future. It identifies the need for change in the way New Zealand governs its ocean space and the upcoming opportunities and challenges for doing so. The report is published online and available for purchase through our online store.
Information about the Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary
The Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary is 620,000 km² covering 15 percent of New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone. The sanctuary expands the existing marine reserve established in 1990 and is home to a diverse range of marine life. Below are some facts the Ministry for the Environment provide in their Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary brochure. The area is a fully-protected zone where all fishing and mining is prohibited with the aim to safeguard species critical in maintaining healthy ocean ecosystems.
To learn more about our work and upcoming events, see the Project One Ocean website.