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New Zealand to create vast ocean sanctuary

The prime minister of New Zealand, John Key, has announced that the country is to expand the marine protected area around the Kermadec Islands

The protected area is located in the Kermadec region, about 1000km to the northeast of New Zealand, and the increased area of some 620,000 square kilometres (240,000 square miles) is twice the size of New Zealand itself.

‘This is an area twice the size of our land mass and 50 times the size of our largest national park,’ said John Key said at a United Nations summit in New York. ‘It is truly a special place and we want to keep it that way.’

The area is an important breeding and feeding ground for many seabirds, dolphins, whales and turtles as well as numerous fish-life. In addition it contains the 10km deep Kermadec trench, one of the deepest ocean trenches in the world, as well as a chain of submerged volcanoes.

‘It's an extraordinary achievement for all New Zealanders and for the people of the Pacific Islands,’ Pew Environment Group’s campaign director Bronwen Golder told the BBC.

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