New Zealand hasn’t issued any Wildlife Act since 1953. The current legislation “Wildlife Act 1953” is very outdated as Boffa Miskell, a New Zealand environmental consultant company stated in 2019, “Wildlife Act was never intended to be a mechanism of wildlife management, beyond protection. The Wildlife Act was enacted in 1953, to provide absolute protection for wildlife from hunting and killing. The Act has had many revisions, amendments, and orders that have morphed it into something that attempts to be fit-for-purpose. However, the Act remains woefully out of date and unsuitable for modern wildlife management.” It is unclear how this outdated Wildlife Act has impacted the wildlife management system in NewZealand, but it is clear that this old Wildlife Act is now very incompatible with modern wildlife management and lag behind significantly with similar counterparts in the U.S, Canada and Australian

Compared to the U.S Endangered Species Act 1973; and the ‘Australian Environment Protection and Biodiversity Act 1999’, the Wildlife Act 1953 lacks dedicated threatened species legislation which can affect the recovery of the country’s threatened species. The company further suggested: “A revision of the Act may be required; or, perhaps more appropriately, a complete replacement of the Act with a modern wildlife management act that enables total protection, while ensuring best practice management can be legally authorized. ” 

New Zealand Green Party issued a statement on December 10th, 2021, “The Green Party supports Conservation Minister Kiritapu Allan’s announcements today that Government intends to review the Wildlife Act 1953 and progress work on reforming conservation law”.

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Eugenie Sage during a speech

Eugenie Sage, Green Party list MP and the Minister of Conservation and Land Information said on this matter: “Right now, the Wildlife Act is allowing bottom trawling by the fishing industry to destroy supposedly ‘protected’ species such as ancient black corals with impunity. It hasn’t allowed the department or Minister to regulate ‘disturbance’ of protected species, such as the kororā (the smallest species of penguin) at Pūtiki Bay on Waiheke Island, and the permitting process for scientists wanting to collect and research native species is cumbersome.”

“Government action to better protect indigenous wildlife and their habitats are welcome. The Green Party is recommending a new threatened species act to enable better recognition and protection of threatened plants.”

“There is an urgent need for a network of marine protected areas and sanctuaries through new legislation. This legislation must uphold rangatiratanga (absolute sovereignty) and kaitiakitanga (guardianship and protection), and be flexible, built-for-purpose, and recognize the diversity of marine life.

“Reform of the Marine Reserves Act and new marine protected areas legislation, which includes our Exclusive Economic Zone, is also a high priority for the Green Party,”

Bailike Ma

Bailike (Edward) is an environmental science graduate from U of T. He participated in many sustainability-related projects at the university and helped to organize a youth climate conference in China. He can speak 3 languages (Mandarin, English, German) and travelled a bit around the world by himself. He is passionate about nature, art, education and media.

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