The existing Marine Reserves Act came into effect in 1971. One of the priority actions for marine and coastal biodiversity in the New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy is to review the Act “…to better provide for the protection of marine biodiversity…”.
The Department of Conservation distributed a discussion document on the review in October 2000, and held 16 hui and 16 public meetings between November 2000 and February 2001. The discussion document attracted 256 submissions.
A draft new Marine Reserves Bill was introduced to Parliament on Friday 7 June 2002.