Cooks Government Aiming To Advance Marine Park Plan

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Stalled progress based on impact on fishing licenses

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, March 26, 2015) – The Cook Islands prime minister, Henry Puna, says government ministries, such as Marine Resources are not undermining plans for the huge marine reserve, the Marae Moana.

Mr Puna and the heads of ministries have been meeting to try and push the project forward.

It is more than three years since the plans for the Marae Moana were first announced but Cook Islands News says, apart from wide public consultation, there has been no substantial move to get it off the ground.

A task force was set up last month to come up with an 'overarching' policy framework needed to implement the proposed park.

Mr Puna denies Marine Resources had stalled progress because of the impact it would have on purse seine fishing licences.

But he says the marine park legislation will have to be open to amendments or reviews as fishing negotiations progress.

Mr Puna says a balanced approach to the 1.1 million square kilometre park is needed.

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