Kia Ora and Welcome!
This is the virtual home of ECO. Since 1972 ECO has been the umbrella group for environment and conservation organisations in New Zealand. This website has information about ECO and its 50+ member groups as well as news of the environment and major conservation issues in Aotearoa New Zealand.
Please look around our website to learn more about our work and access resources and links of importance.
ECO Annual Conference: Friday 30 August - Sunday 1 September 2013
This year's conference will be held at Kauaeranga Valley Christian Camp, Kauaeranga Valley, Thames, Coromandel. The theme will be 'Which Way New Zealand?'
If you would like further details on the conference or would like to be involved, please email ECO
ECO SUMMER GATHERING - ARTHUR'S PASS 25-27 JANUARY 2013
Vigorous discussion, excellent analysis, information-sharing and a desire for action were the hallmarks of the full-to-capacity attendance at ECO's Arthur's Pass Summer Gathering over the weekend. With people drawn from Bay of Islands to Invercargill and a range of ECO Member organisations, like-minded organisations and many Friends of ECO, with a wide diversity of age and experience - there was much to contribute and talk about. Arthur's Pass looked breathtaking and the sunshine, rata show, walks and splendid meals all made for great ambiance. Participants endorsed the need for the people of New Zealand to take back the right to shape the direction of our country - and the vision and policies for the future of New Zealand to be the focus of ECO's forthcoming Annual Conference and AGM.
ECO Working Group updates - see here for more details
Read about individual policies and participate in the discussion on the forum.
The latest quarterly ECOLink for December 2012 has been sent to members and friends. The latest issue reviews the Crown Minerals Bill, and discusses the Ross Sea CCAMLR decision, Developments at Ghost Road, and the DOHA Climate Change negotiations. We also have updates from member groups Bay of Islands Coastal Watchdog and Sustainable Whanganui Trust.
Previous ECOLink issues can be downloaded here
Protecting Antarctica and the Southern Ocean
This year, 2013 will be a crucial year for Southern Ocean protection. In July there will be a special meeting in Bremerhave, Germany to discuss proposals to protect the Ross Sea and parts of East Antarctica. Then in October there will be the regular meeting of the Antarctic fisheries agreement CCAMLR.
The Southern Ocean and seas around Antarctica are among the most unmodified on the planet – and the last place on Earth still relatively untouched by human activity. This beautiful, icy ocean environment is home to nearly 10,000 highly adapted species, many of which can be found nowhere else on the planet. Adélie and emperor penguins, Antarctic petrels and minke whales, Ross Sea killer whales, colossal squid and Weddell seals all thrive in this inhospitable climate. Global ocean circulation is largely driven by the deep water formation around Antarctica’s coast, driving heat transfer and transporting essential nutrients to the rest of the world’s oceans.
The Ross Sea is especially important as the last of the oceans with the top predators still largely present. The risk is that continued toothfish fishing and other fishing will cause major upset to the ecosystem balance, as has happened elsewhere. ECO is joining with other groups in the Antarctic Oceans Alliance to protect this unique and special place and other important areas of the Southern Ocean. ECO Executive members were at last year's IUCN Conservation Congress supporting a resolution on Antarctic protection which was passed during the Congress.
The February 2012 issue of ECOLink provides more details and explores the values and issues at stake, part of the opening of the international campaign for the protection of the Ross Sea.
In 2012 a unique portrait of the Ross Sea was shown during the film festival. The Last Ocean, which took 6 years of effort by documentary maker Peter Young to complete. This is a must see for all those concerned about the future of the Ross Sea and the Southern Ocean. The film is now being shown at international film festivals.New Zealand and the US have agreed on a compromise proposal to protect the Ross Sea.
ECO is working with the Antarctic Ocean Alliance for protection of the Ross Sea and other important areas of the Southern Ocean.
Help support the proposals to protect the Southern Ocean on World Penguin Day 25 April 2013.
Oil Spills, Mining and Climate Change
EEZ and Continental Shelf Bill - Regulations and legislation
Parliament has passed a weak Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf (Environmental Effects) Bill after rejecting the proposals to strengthen the Bill by Labour and the Greens.
ECO is concerned that the new Act is weak and will need fixing if it is to be consistent with New Zealand's international obligations. A review of the reported back Bill is December ECOLink.
After consulting the mining industry, the Ministry for the Environment (MFE) released a discussion document on regulations to go with this Bill. MFE has had further meetings with the mining industry to the exclusion of environmental interests. ECO made a submission on the Bill and associated regulations - details can be found here
In the June 2012 ECOLink there is a review of some of the problems with the regulations. These are critically important provisions as they determine what is a permitted activity (allowed without further consultation), what is a discretionary activity and must be publicly consulted on, and what is a prohibited activity. The proposals include no prohibited activities and allow a range of highly impacting activities as permitted activities, including bulk sampling for minerals.
ECO is supporting the call by Greenpeace to make deep sea oil drilling a prohibited activity.
Government to outlaw marine protest against mining
Now the Government has forced the passing of the Crown Minerals Bill provisions which is focused on stopping marine protests which have had a long history in New Zealand. ECO joined the Greenpeace led statement against the Bill - see News. Greenpeace petition against the proposal can be found here http://www.greenpeace.org/new-zealand/en/take-action/Take-action-online/reject-the-Anadarko-Amendment/
This Bill was passed by 61 votes to 60 in Parliament with only National and ACT voting for the Bill.
Rena Disaster and response to marine disasters
The Rena disaster is now over a year old and has raised a range of problems with our current NZ Oil Spill and maritime disaster recovery. This includes the failure to ratify a range of important maritime international agreements which has been raised by ECO over several years. The Government has introduced legislation (Marine Legislation Bill) to ratify some of the important international agreements applying to shipping.
ECO consider there should be a full review of marine pollution response and capacity, and the priorities in ratifying international obligation. The current review announced by the Government is too limited.
The Rena Disaster shows that New Zealand could not cope with a moderate let alone a large oil spill. Like the proposal to open our best conservation land for coal mining, deep sea oil exploration is the wrong future for New Zealand. Then there is the impact on climate change including sea level rise and ocean acidification, from increasing greenhouse gas emission from fossil fuels.
The Greenpeace petition urges the Prime Minister John Key and the New Zealand Government:
“We call on you to permanently STOP ALL plans to open up NZ’s coastal waters to offshore oil drilling and STOP ANY expansion of coal mining in NZ. We demand a clean energy future.”
The petition with over 140,000 individual supporters was presented to Parliament on 24 July 2012.