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Key pinches Labour’s Kermadec Sanctuary Policy

Written By: - Date published: 7:00 am, September 30th, 2015 - 88 comments
Categories: Conservation, Environment, food, john key, national, national/act government, same old national, slippery, spin, sustainability, the praiseworthy and the pitiful - Tags:

play it again John Key

Someone ring the police.  National has been stealing Labour’s policies again.

Last election Labour promised this:

Kermadec world sanctuary area

The Kermadec Islands are a part of New Zealand 1000 km to the northeast, and straddle tropical and temperate climates. The Kermadec marine region is one of the most diverse and stunning in the world. It contains underwater volcanoes and the second-deepest ocean trench on the planet (over 10 km deep in places). It has remarkable marine biodiversity, including giant squid, the deep diving sperm whale, and millions of seabirds.

There is already a marine reserve around the Kermadec Islands, with complementary world heritage status proposed for the Islands themselves. The marine reserve protects some of the marine habitats of the area (out to the territorial sea boundary). But a much higher level of protection in the EEZ around the Kermadecs is justified.

The Kermadecs provides the opportunity for a marine reserve of ecosystem-scale, which would be one of the few on the planet. New Zealand could become a world leader in creating such an EEZ marine reserve. While this is not yet possible under our marine reserve legislation, we could do it by a special Act of Parliament (as Labour did in 2005 to create eight marine reserves in Fiordland).

Labour will create a world sanctuary area in the EEZ around the Kermadec Islands by way of giving this area marine reserve status.

Then yesterday John Key announced this, on a visit to the UN so that he could no doubt get come green brownie points:

Prime Minister John Key has announced the creation of a 620,000 km2 Ocean Sanctuary in the Kermadec region, one of the most pristine and unique environments on Earth.

“The Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary will be one of the world’s largest and most significant fully-protected areas, preserving important habitats for seabirds, whales and dolphins, endangered marine turtles and thousands of species of fish and other marine life,” Mr Key says.

“It will cover 15 per cent of New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone, an area twice the size of our landmass, and 50 times the size of our largest national park in Fiordland.

“As well as being home to a wide range of marine species, the Kermadec region is one of the most geographically and geologically diverse areas in the world. It contains the world’s longest underwater volcanic arc and the second deepest ocean trench at 10 kilometres deep.”

Establishing the sanctuary will create a no-take, fully-protected zone preventing all fishing and mining in the area, adding to the protections already in place.

I have had a look but could not find the proposal anywhere amongst National’s election policies.

Of course the proposal allows National to say, when it is being attacked for allowing oil drilling in Maui’s dolphin’s habitat that it cares deeply about the fishies.  And the area has not been offered under recent oil drilling block offers although Petrobras had a chance to investigate close to the area not that long ago and decided not to drill.

Apparently National’s caucus is to be told today.  Was Key too afraid of Judith Collins to mention it beforehand?

From what I can tell Talley’s do not fish there and there is no oil there.  But, credit where credit is due, it is a good proposal.

88 comments on “Key pinches Labour’s Kermadec Sanctuary Policy ”

  1. tc 1

    Dunno about credit where it’s due mickey, cynical and opportunistic as always from the dealer in chief whose govt has an appalling environmental record.

    Opens him up on other labour policies he could be asked about adopting if the opposition can be bothered that is as the fire seems to have gone out lately.

    • Tracey 1.1

      He is consistent tho. He uses everyone for his own ends. It is just the UNs turn.

      • shorts 1.1.1

        this -tellingly there was no precursor to the announcement, just done while offshore chumming unto his bffs

        Labour should take this in the same spirit the Green do when the govt adopts one of their policies – as a victory for the nation, regardless of the party doing it and their motivations for doing so

        • tracey 1.1.1.1

          Yup, and saved the kermadecs also diverts from doing nothing about deportation of kiwis, who have been majority of their lives in Aussie, including one who killed himself.

          Nats been taking a hammering on the world stage climate change wise so this was something that they could do without hurting their mates chances for drilling and fishing. EG forget about maui Dolphins, look at the Kermadecs!

    • Magisterium 1.2

      After the Greens came to the rescue on the flag referendum, I wonder if there’s a bit of quid pro quo going on.

  2. Tracey 2

    No one wants to drill or fish there? THEN the environment. I assume the media pointed LP policy out and questioned KEY about it yesterday?

  3. Nck 3

    Media said it was a Green party bill from Gareth Hughes. Is this a Red Peak deal?

    • dukeofurl 3.1

      “Groups that have campaigned for the sanctuary include the Pew Charitable Trust, WWF New Zealand, the Royal NZ Forest and Bird Society, Greenpeace and Ngati Kuri.”

      “The Green Party said it was delighted with the announcement, which lifted marine reserves in New Zealand’s territorial sea and Exclusive Economic Zone from 0.4 per cent to 15 per cent.”

      http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11520435

      Apparently the Labour party is only known for opposing things, as many minds in the media all seemed miraculously to concur on last week !

      Kermadecs isnt specifically mentioned in Green party policy, but they have been asked if they like the idea, (and only them !) and they are of course “delighted”

      Audrey has been primed on this as she has the cabinet paper as well, and has credited the Greens ( without saying it was labours idea) in that way political journos do.

      A complete stitch up by National, Audrey with a bone thrown to the Greens to make sure the idea that labour is only the naysayer.
      No doubt Farrar will have a puff piece about it today as well.

      game , set , match ! people this is how its done

      • mickysavage 3.1.1

        Looks like it was Labour policy in 2011 as well …

        https://www.labour.org.nz/media/labour-will-extend-kermadec-islands-marine-reserve

        Maybe the Herald does not allow access to google?

        • Anne 3.1.1.1

          Has Labour issued any statements or held any interviews yet about:

          How delighted they are that National has seen fit to copy their 2011 and 2014 policy on the Kermadec Marine Reserve – and that they will pass on the evidence they collected when researching the policy for National’s edification. Because we want to make sure they do the job properly

          Or something to that effect?

        • dukeofurl 3.1.1.2

          Funny Audrey had a long list of those “campaigning” for the reserve:

          “Groups that have campaigned for the sanctuary include the Pew Charitable Trust, WWF New Zealand, the Royal NZ Forest and Bird Society, Greenpeace and Ngati Kuri.”

          She obviously hasnt even looked at Google, but taken as the gospel, the release from the PMs media people.

          • mac1 3.1.1.2.1

            Look at the weasel word in that press statement- “include”

            That word gives an out for omitting the fact of Labour policy.

            Lying by omission.

            “Lying by omission, otherwise known as exclusionary detailing, is lying by either omitting certain facts or by failing to correct a misconception.”

            http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Lying_by_omission

            Another example would be National’s lying about data on gangs and serious crime at the time of the election, and not acknowledging the ‘error’, as outlined by Jarrod Gilbert in another post on the Standard.

          • tracey 3.1.1.2.2

            It sucks for sure. As you know I have voted Green in recent times BUT have been appalled at the lack of scrutiny given by the media to the championing of a policy as though it was national’s.

            Those who think our press is left-wing need to explain these lapses to me

        • Bob 3.1.1.3

          “review the design of the New Zealand flag involving flag design experts and with full public consultation and involvement” was also a Labour policy at the last election, the seemed to forget about that pretty quickly after the election, so maybe the Kermadec Marine Reserve was the same.
          http://campaign.labour.org.nz/internal_affairs

          Maybe the Herald decided not to take anything Labour put forward prior to the last election as gospel after their quick backtrack on that one.

    • Tracey 3.2

      Interesting notion Nck? Except the Greens have a transparency policy with their membership, that is, to disclose any deals.

      • dukeofurl 3.2.1

        Well their version of a members bill went in the ballot Nov 14 – so she stole the idea from labours election policy

        https://home.greens.org.nz/bills/kermadec-ocean-sanctuary-establishment-bill

        Are you saying they havent done a deal with National over this bill, as they have a policy to tell the members about ANY deals?

        • tracey 3.2.1.1

          I am saying that my understanding is that they tell their members what they are doing. nck provided nothing to substantiate his/her assertion.

          The Green’s have had that Bill in the ballot since 2013.

          “Q2: Marine sustainability

          Government and industry have signalled increased effort in offshore petroleum exploration and seabed mining.
          What policies will you implement to help preserve the health of the oceans surrounding New Zealand, and how will you gauge the environmental impacts of exploiting mineral resources on New Zealand’s continental shelf?

          NATIONAL: No policy given.

          LABOUR: Labour is committed to strengthening the New Zealand economy and protecting our oceans and beaches. Labour aims to have 30% of our marine area in some form of protection by 2020 – both in the territorial sea and the EEZ. At least half of the 30% will be in an ecologically representative and effective network of marine reserves. We will create a marine reserve in the EEZ around the Kermadec Islands.

          In terms of minerals, Labour’s vision is for a low-carbon clean tech economy that provides world class living standards for Kiwis and protects our unique environment. We know it’s not going to happen overnight, and we acknowledge that oil and gas have a role in the transition to this new economy

          GREEN: New Zealand has one of the largest EEZs in the world, over 15 times the size of New Zealand’s landmass. The Green Party will ensure this is protected adopting a precautionary approach to marine activities; massively expanding the area covered by marine reserves, including creating marine reserves representing all ecosystem types; and consulting with all stakeholders to create a comprehensive marine protection strategy.
          As a part of our environmental priority this election we want to protect our beaches from oil spills, which means we will prohibit deep sea oil drilling. We also have a plan to save the endangered Maui’s dolphins, which includes prohibiting fishing methods lethal to Maui’s dolphins, new oil and gas exploration, and mineral mining throughout the Marine Mammal Sanctuary.
          We’ll also amend the EEZCS Act to ensure the environmental management framework for the sea beyond the 12-mile limit better implements New Zealand’s international responsibilities to preserve and protect the marine environment.

          NZ FIRST: Oil and mineral research must be subject to the rigorous regulation and oversight.

          UNITED FUTURE: We will continue to allow offshore oil exploration as long as the environmental risks associated with these activities can be managed effectively, by ensuring that operational best practices are implemented and enforced through regulation. We believe the current EPA process is the best process to make decisions as long as we ensure there are more stringent environmental protections for all offshore drilling. This should include building the capability of Maritime NZ, greater resourcing for inspections (health & safety and environmental) to ensure regulations are strictly adhered to and the appropriate strengthening of legislation.

          CONSERVATIVE: Our policy on Thriving Oceans (Fishing in New Zealand) provides changes as follows:
          End Gill netting
          Standard size for commercial and recreational
          End inshore trawling and make Hauraki Gulf commercial fishing free

          In respect of minerals we support development of untapped resources rather than the more risky extraction of deep sea reserves.

          INTERNET: The Internet Party will impose an immediate moratorium on environmentally risky mineral extraction including deep-sea exploration, undersea mining and deep-well injection until the recommendations of the Commissioner for the Environment about these industry processes are debated publicly and acted on by Parliament. The objective is to achieve a social mandate for processes that are safe, properly consented and monitored, and to ensure modern and environment-friendly methods – if they are available – are given greater priority as emphasis on fossil fuels is phased down.

          If or when moratoria are lifted on environmentally hazardous resource extraction methods, a partially refundable bond system will apply to companies seeking permits and consents to ensure government, ministry and local government organisations have sufficient resources in hand to remedy damage from accidents, without having to rely on the legal or moral obligations of the extractors. A part of the bond funds will pay for world-class equipment to be held in New Zealand for immediate deployment in worst-case scenarios.

          MAORI: The Maori Party is about protecting precious resources for the future: Whanau have a particular place in mobilising people to fulfil their responsibility as kaitiaki. This more personalised “on the ground” whanau approach will ensure: a legacy of environmental sustainability is created for the natural resources of Aotearoa; and the pataka kai of whanau are protected. We will:

          • Redirect Department of Conservation resources to enable whanau, hap? and iwi to assume kaitiakitanga responsibilities (whether in a post settlement phase or not).
          • Direct consideration of oil and mineral exploration permits only if there is evidence of recent, robust consultation with mana whenua and in keeping with mana whenua views.
          • Provide for tax breaks for renewable energy research institutions/businesses.
          • Advocate to keep the management of recreational fishing outside the QMS. All fisheries information collected by the Crown to be released into the public domain.
          • Find more sustainable ways to enhance biodiversity within the marine area in order to prevent the extinction of the Maui’s dolphin and other marine species.
          • Consider discussions that will involve a transition from set netting and trawling to more selective sustainable fishing methods.”

  4. Sirenia 4

    Won’t happen for a while though. It’s due to be put in place at the end of next year in time for second round of good news headlines as we go into election year.

  5. Puckish Rogue 5

    So now Labour knows what the Greens feel like when Labour steals a Green policy 🙂

    • Enough is Enough 5.1

      Exactly.

      Everything starts with the Greens as a ‘nutty policy’

      Then labour adopts it 3-5years later and it gets air time.

      Then National implement it to gazump Labour, and the get the credit for it.

      When will the Green party ever be given credit for being the only party with fresh ideas.

    • As a member of the Greens I am happy for any party to steal Green policies.

      I do object if they are corrupted or badly implemented though.

  6. Bill 6

    Hmm. My initial reaction was “why?”. And of course I noted that it was volcanic (probably no good for oil exploration) and vaguely distant (possibly not much fishing going on) and a wee publicity boost for National in the face of their non-green and non- clean track record. Terribly cynical of me, I know.

    So, this morning I find that it was another party’s policy. That bit is of passing interest to me.

    Okay. So putting my unwarranted cynicism aside I’d ask, if they can back a sanctuary there, then why not cover off the entire territory of NZ dolphins? I’d like them to answer that.

  7. Ad 7

    Very tough break for Labour.

    Mickey you would be a great Labour MP. Or at least City Councillor.

    But when they steal your ideas, you have to come up with even better ones. Personally I’m in favor of joining with Gareth Morgan to eradicate all pests from Stewart Island. Could be a kind of Green VSA for young people, helping DoC.

  8. Ad 9

    Puckish I think they’re proposing a short fully fenced area as a trial, around Half Moon Bay village.

    • Puckish Rogue 9.1

      It sounds like something I was reading on the fishnhunt site, it sounds expensive but I’d support it with a donation though I think, in principle, deer should be considered a resource and managed accordingly but everything else should be eradicated

      • The lost sheep 9.1.1

        Simply won’t happen if Deer are part of the discussion PR. But the Rat’s Cat’s and Possum’s will be history in 10 years.

        As it happens, I’ve had quite a bit to do with Nick Smith when working towards the Stewart Island and other conservation projects, and it does need to be said that whatever else commenters might say about him here, I can tell you he has a genuine passion for and commitment to our native environment, and has been influential in progressing many major initiatives.
        So it’s no surprise to see him involved in the Kermadec initiative, and it won’t be the last major conservation advance he gets through before the end of this governments term.

        No politician does enough, but Nick has done far more than any politician did in the previous Labour Govt. They were F**&king sad on conservation…

        • tracey 9.1.1.1

          So do you square off LP’s Kermadec policy being implemented (and so not written by Smith or his department) and the severe reluctance to act on the maui Dolphins area, to be a lack of voice/strength in caucus for Smith?

          • The lost sheep 9.1.1.1.1

            As I said Tracey, no politician does enough. And given the generally low priority put on Conservation by successive Govt’s, no single politician is going to be able to do enough.
            But that doesn’t take away from Nick’s genuine passion for conservation and what he has managed to get achieved.

            Maybe you could tell me what Labour politician achieved more than Nick in the last Labour Govt?

            • tracey 9.1.1.1.1.1

              It was a genuine question Lost Sheep. Do you think Smith suffers for not having a voice that is heard/listened to and this is why he can seem less than friendly to the environment?

              • The lost sheep

                I’m saying that in my contact with him he has demonstrated a genuine commitment to achieving what he can within the confines he is working in, and IMO has been able to do far more good for conservation than harm.
                In terms of the historical record of National/Labour Governments I’d call that conservation friendly.

                And as i said earlier, I’m predicting that you will find Nick pushes through a few more long targeted initiatives before he closes out what I suspect will be his last term.

                • tracey

                  Ok, so you don’t think he stands up against things like drilling int he maui protected area but if he did, it would probably get protected?

                  • The lost sheep

                    No and no.
                    I didn’t say I thought Nick was my ideal Earth Mother figure….just pretty good in terms of the mainstream politicians I’ve come into contact with over many years.

            • mickysavage 9.1.1.1.1.2

              Maybe you could tell me what Labour politician achieved more than Nick in the last Labour Govt?

              Chris Carter achieved a huge amount. He oversaw a huge amount of land being transferred into the DOC estate, created a number of marine sanctuaries and fought hard to end the whaling in the Southern Oceans.

              • The lost sheep

                I agree Chris was a good and genuinely passionate Conservation Minister.
                Pity he was surrounded by a Government with a distinctly underwhelming commitment to Conservation progress.

                • tracey

                  I agree Nick is a good and genuinely passionate Conservation Minister.
                  Pity he is surrounded by a Government with a distinctly underwhelming commitment to Conservation progress.

                  So the environment/conservation is fucked under national or Labour, right?

                  • The lost sheep

                    See below Tracy.

                    I think there is a bit more reason to be optimistic now than there was 10 years ago.

              • Ad

                If you rack up total square kilometers added to DoC estate by National and Labour Governments over the past seven decades (National Park by National Park), Labour is still pretty well ahead, until Mutt Lang’s huge QEII sequestration late last year. That kind of evened it out.

            • maui 9.1.1.1.1.3

              Maybe we could talk about how much more funding Doc had and how many more Maui dolphins there were under Labour.

              • The lost sheep

                Why not start the discussion with where the run down on DOC funding was started by the previous Labour Government?
                I well remember the shock among DOC people that Conservation should be under attack from Labour

                And if we had the time (which I don’t unfortunately), we could then go on to discuss the various cuts and restructurings and changes in direction that have occurred under the last 2 governments, and compare the effectiveness on Conservation outcomes?

                In my opinion, despite the obvious serious ongoing concern for much of our natural heritage, the general optimism levels in conservation circles is much brighter now than it was at the time of the demise of the last Labour Govt.

                Some little credit where it is due eh?

                • maui

                  maybe you should follow what NZs largest community conservation organization says about goverment policies in the last few years and its generally not one of encouragement. I have to wonder if you’re in a completely different conservation bubble than the rest.

                  • The lost sheep

                    Maybe that’s because i’m focused into projects and people that are getting things done and making significant conservation progress, and I also have a very long term involvement in conservation that informs me of a massive and continuing improvement in conservation effort over the years. Do you remember how dire conservation effort and optimisim was 20 – 30 years ago?

                    But I agree completely that Govt. could and needs to be doing much much more, and i have been advocating that at every opportunity with quite a few governments now.

                    Mostly I wish that there was far more voter pressure for conservation focus from Govt., but unfortunately, it does not seem to be a big vote earner.

                    • maui

                      Interesting, are there any conservation projects that you’re involved in that you would be prepared to post a link to here? i would genuinely be interested, i realise though you probably don’t want to be outed..

                    • Tracey

                      There is far more pressure than there was before

                      a. MMP; and
                      b. the Green Party won seats

      • maui 9.1.2

        The project is for a predator free island, so it looks like deer would be ok and they might use deer repellant baits http://www.3news.co.nz/nznews/pestfree-stewart-island-costly–report-2013051505#axzz3lfNa7kDm

        Deer are still a pest though as they change the forest composition by eating certain plant species.

        • Puckish Rogue 9.1.2.1

          I agree that deer are a pest but I believe they could be managed to keep their numbers low as opposed to attempting to get rid of all of them, even that were realistically possible

          • maui 9.1.2.1.1

            if they’re going to all the trouble of removing every other post european introduced mammal they may as well remove deer as well. There can’t be that many deer hunters on Stewart. They could easily have a paddock of deer for the hunters to get meat from and manage. It would be the end of wild hunting there, but I think this project is worth much more than that loss.

            • Puckish Rogue 9.1.2.1.1.1

              Well this is only my opinion but the thought of going to a paddock or field and shooting a deer has zero interest for me but i see your point

            • The lost sheep 9.1.2.1.1.2

              To tackle a job that big and that experimental you simply have to have every stakeholder rowing the same waka.
              Everyone agrees that Rats, Cats and Possums need to go, but many people (not just hunters) value the Deer and would not support the project if it targeted Deer.
              So deer are off the agenda, and instead of stalemate, we have progress.
              If it works on Stewart Island, lets just roll it out up the Mainland…..

              • Puckish Rogue

                I would party vote for the Greens if they spent more time campaigning on issues like this and i suspect there’d be quite a few blue voters that would as well

                • The lost sheep

                  I know many long term naturally Left voting Conservationists who voted National last time on the basis that National was a better option for Conservation outcomes than a Labour lead coalition with The Greens.
                  They all expressed shock and dis-belief that they would ever find themselves doing so.

                  Nick Smith’s ‘Battle for the Birds’ was not just a critical intervention at a time of major conservation crises, it was politically rewarding for National as well.

                  So come on Labour. There are a large number of ex-Left voters waiting for you to show some real commitment to major increases in conservation effort from Govt. That would buy my vote back.

                • maui

                  Rebrand as the blue-greens and see how that goes.. You may as well just be dissolved within National like that group currently is.

  9. Tracey 10

    tou-freaking-che Ad

  10. One would assume PM John Key is trying to ring fence against foreign mining corporations and the effects of the TPPA.

  11. infused 12

    Just Labour getting out played. As usual.

  12. yabby 13

    Sorry to disappoint but long before last election the government was involved in this. The Government Conservation Minister of the time Kate Wilkinson attended the Pew Foundation’s sponsored Kermadec ART exhibitions in January 2012 following on from an expedition up there on a navy ship with DOC staff and NZ artists a few months before.

    “On 10 May 2011, HMNZS Otago steamed out of Auckland harbour. On board was a unique group of ‘seariders’ (non-naval personnel)—nine artists, a New Zealand broadcaster, the Minister of Conservation, Department of Conservation (DOC) staff and volunteers, and a representative of the Pew Environment Group. They were bound for the Kermadecs—a vast, 620,000-square- kilometre expanse of ocean and one of the least-disturbed oceanic regions on the planet. Some—the volunteers and DOC workers—would get off at Raoul Island; the rest would depart Raoul after just two days and continue on to Tonga.

    http://www.studioj.co.nz/kermadec_exhibition/aclearview/

    • Tracey 13.1

      and what Bill did she present to Parliament upon her return? Did she vote for or against the greens supplmentary 102 in 2012 ?

  13. NZJester 14

    So what have National watered down in their version of this policy?
    Every time they pinch a Labour policy they normally take all the teeth out of it and water it down till it is near useless while appearing to do something.
    I wonder if a part of the sanctuary proposed under Labour is to be left out as there is is a secret plan to drill or vacuum mine that area in the future?
    Have we yet seen one stolen plan they have not yet watered down?

  14. Mike the Savage One 15

    John Key is an expert thief of policy, it seems. He takes up ideas, when they come from the opposition, and also gives heed to potential public support. It takes some time to get it right, but then he gets some of his advisors to stick their heads together, to work out a watered down version of what Labour, Greens or NZ First may otherwise come up with, and then present stolen policy.

    So here we go again, Key goes to the UN, and presents “their” sanctuary idea.

    Policy is not a nailed down, or on the other hand a trade-able commodity, so taking it and using it seems to not be illegal. No wonder Andrew Little and Labour do not tell us much about what Labour may plan in the way of policy.

    The mitts of Key et al would be all over them, trying to corrupt the public, and get a fourth term.

  15. Jay 16

    So National sets aside 15% of our economic zone, meaning no fishing or mining etc forever and ever, and most of you complain.

    If national did “steal” a labour policy, and if you truly believe in that policy, you should be happy right? Especially since the chances of labour being in power anytime soon aren’t great. Or do you simply want bragging rights?

    All this angst demonstrates that for you it’s not about change, and progress, and making a difference, and the implementation of good policy, it’s about getting into power, and “winning”. And it shows that no matter what national do, you’ll bitch about it.

    Well like it or not, national “stealing” this policy will mean life goes on for the twenty tonne of fish caught annually in this area by commercial boats, not to mention all the associated harm they now won’t be causing. And noone can ever mine here. Ever. How can this be anything but good?

    I’m with the Greens on this one, what fantastic news, and great publicity for nz, showing that for all our faults we are world leaders in conservation. Good on you national, and good on the greens for having the wisdom to welcome and applaud the announcement.

    • Ad 16.1

      I think most of that is fair enough.

    • Tracey 16.2

      I do like that they have done it. BUT that doesn’t mean I can’t question their motivation, their permission to drill in Maui Dolphin waters, or anything else.

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