Subantarctic reserves created

Three huge marine reserves will be created in the subantarctic, the Government has announced today.

Conservation Minister Kate Wilkinson said the 435,000 hectares of reserve will surround Antipodes Island, the Bounty Islands and Campbell Island.

“The subantarctic islands are renowned globally and are a huge attraction for the burgeoning eco-tourism industry.

“Protecting the surrounding waters is sure to add to the prestige of this remote area.”

Ironically, the minister made her announcement at the National Party’s Bluegreens advisory group conference in Akaroa.

Last year, Wilkinson rejected a proposed marine reserve for Akaroa Harbour after two decades of debate, involving five different environment ministers.

Delegates of the conference will tomorrow cruise the harbour, near the proposed reserve area.

Wilkinson said today her rejection of the Akaroa proposal should not be taken as lack of commitment to marine conservation.

A judicial review of Wilkinson’s decision has been filed in the High Court.