_________________Tena Koe 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.
Volunteer with ECO - click here for opportunitiesBecome a Friend of ECO - find out how
Vacancy - ECO Executive Officer
Based in our Wellington office, this is normally a full time position (25 hours) but could be job-shared even with someone based elsewhere. A broad range of duties support ECO’s executive committee and the 50+ member bodies of ECO. Applications close Wednesday 23 April 2013. More details here
ECO Conference December 2013
Last year's conference was held at Kauaeranga Valley Christian Camp, Kauaeranga Valley, Thames, Coromandel. The theme was 'Which Way New Zealand?'
Jim Salinger: Climate scientist and author
Lou Sanson: Director General of the Department of Conservation
Manu Caddie: Gisborne District Councillor and environmental activist
Arthur Hinds: Chair, Whenuakite Kiwi Care and conservation-minded farmer
Details of the speakers and presentations will be uploaded to the site shortly
________________ECO Working Groups - see here for more details
________________ECOLink News and Analysis
The latest quarterly ECOLink for November 2013 has been sent to members and friends. The latest issue reviews the 2013 ECO Conference, reviews Freshwater National Objectives, new international agreement on Mercury, and reviews the IPCC Climate Science Report. There are also articles on National Plan of Action on Sharks, Rights of Nature Laws. It also contains articles on ECO Member Nga Motu Marine Reserves Society and reviews the book Living in a Warmer World edited by Jim Salinger.
Previous ECOLink issues can be downloaded here
Protecting Antarctica and the Southern Ocean
This year, 2013 was a crucial year for Southern Ocean protection. In July there was a special meeting in Bremerhaven, Germany to discuss proposals to protect the Ross Sea and parts of East Antarctica. Then in October there was 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.
ECO is working for more progress in 2014 on the adoption of marine protected areas in the Southern Ocean, including the Ross Sea.
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 2012 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 outlaws marine protest against mining
The Government has passed 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.