Govt has rock solid proposals for EEZ

Govt has rock solid proposals for EEZ

Posted on 24 August 2011

Proposed environmental effects legislation for New Zealand's wider marine jurisdiction will provide much-needed certainty for the development of ocean resources, Straterra says.

Straterra CEO Chris Baker was commenting today on the Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf (Environmental Effects) Bill, introduced into Parliament today.

“It is logical to extend the best features of resource management law on land into the marine environment,” Mr Baker said.

“A consistent approach to assessing, case by case, the effects of proposals to develop New Zealand’s rich resources in the EEZ and ECS, and how these would be managed, and consenting on this basis is eminently sensible.”

“New Zealand’s resources in the oceans include ironsands, rock phosphate, and seabed massive sulphide deposits of precious and base metals, as well as the more familiar oil and gas.”

“Each type of resource is different in its characteristics, and in the methods of development and environmental management. An approach that considers each proposal on its merits is the logical way of proceeding, and that is what this Bill does.”    

The Environmental Protection Authority would be the consenting authority, and have responsibility for compliance. Underpinning regulations would enable targeted use of Environmental Impact Assessments in respect of each type of activity.    

“Industry believes that in the majority of cases the effects of development on the environment can be managed in a sustainable way,” Mr Baker said. “Properly encouraged and managed, New Zealand’s ocean resources could make a significant contribution to the national economy over time.”

“In the meantime the Continental Shelf Act and the Maritime Transport Act still apply, and this legislation applies strict conditions on any discharge to water from activities in the EEZ. As well, the Ministry for the Environment is introducing interim measures, and it is in everyone’s interest to ensure they achieve sustainable management, pending the passing of the new law.”   

The Bill is due to be enacted in July 2012. It has been referred to select committee, allowing for submissions and hearings. Draft regulations will be open for public consultation.

“Straterra looks forward to participating actively in the public policy process on this Bill,” Mr Baker said.