Prime minister John Key and his National Party emerged victorious in the election of 2008 against the incumbent Labour Party on promises to revive the struggling economy. In August 2009, his Energy Minister Gerard Brownlee hinted at changes to the Crown Minerals Act, which protected conservation lands from mining. His speech also included possible plans to allow mineral exploration in lands overseen by the Department of Conservation. Public interest in these proposed changes were low.
Greenpeace and Sea Shepherds force Japanese seafood company Nissui to sell stakes in whale hunting ships 2005-2006.
In 1985, the International Whaling Commission instituted a moratorium on commercial whaling, but in 1986, the Japanese government started a scientific whaling program to study whales. Many observers view the scientific whaling scheme as a way to continue commercial whaling because the whale meat is often sold after the whales are caught for study.