The Kermadec island sanctuary was originally proposed by the previous National government, but NZ First’s connections to the fishing industry put the proposal on ice when they entered a coalition with the Labour government.
Now though, it looks as if there’s hope for the sanctuary.
Although, it’s unlikely to be a full sanctuary. If this deal does come to life, NZ First’s connections to the fishing industry will make sure that there isn’t a 100% ban on fishing.
Restricted fishing does seem possible, though.
There are a couple of wild cards in play, however.
One is iwi rights. When National announced the sanctuary, there was concern from local iwi about their fishing rights.
While the Greens are of course environmentalist, they also have a history of supporting iwi rights, and giving iwi special fishing rights would probably be seen by Winston Peters as separatism, something NZ First are very strongly opposed to.
The other wild card is that National’s Nick Smith currently has a members bill in the ballot to progress the completion of the sanctuary, in it’s current form, without special rights for either iwi or the fishing industry.
If the Greens support that bill, it will pass no matter what NZ First and Labour think – naturally causing a headache for the whole government – probably part of National’s intention when they put the bill in.
At this point, it’s really hard to say what will happen.
We’ll just have to wait and see.