New Zealand has been criticized for abstaining from voting in favor of a moratorium on deep-sea mining in a global forum.
Greenpeace Aotearoa made the criticism after the vote at the World Congress of the International Union for Conservation of Nature last week.
The motion received support from most countries, but James Hita, a seabed mining activist with Greenpeace Aotearoa, said the New Zealand government continued to lag behind the rest of the world in the preservation of the oceans.
Delegates to this year’s congress also voted overwhelmingly to reform the International Seabed Authority, the UN-mandated body responsible for regulating this activity.
Hita said deep-sea mining is one of the biggest threats to the oceans, especially the Pacific.
“The relevance of supporting the moratorium is even more important after the decision by Nauru, a South Pacific nation, to trigger the ‘two-year rule’ just a few months ago,” he said.
Two-year rule requires ISA to allow nation to authorize mining within two years
under the regulations that were established at that time.
The other countries which abstained from voting were the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States of America, Australia and France.
“New Zealanders and our Pacific cousins need the New Zealand government to be on the right side of the story on deep sea mining. To abstain from voting is not,” he said. declared Hita.
“Greenpeace Aotearoa wants the government to take a leadership position on deep sea mining by supporting the moratorium, especially when we are a Pacific nation.”