Environmental protection laws for oceans introduced

Issue 33 – November 2011

The Government recently introduced legislation to manage the environmental effects of activities in New Zealand's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and Extended Continental Shelf (ECS) and announced interim measures to manage the environmental effects of activities before the new law is passed.

'This legislation puts in place a robust system of environmental controls for the huge ocean and seabed area 20 times that of New Zealand's landmass that is currently unregulated,' says Environment Minister Nick Smith. 'This is about ensuring that New Zealand is environmentally responsible in taking up the significant economic opportunities in our EEZ and ECS.'

The Bill makes the new Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) responsible for consenting, monitoring, and enforcement of activities that impact on the environment like petroleum exploration, seabed mining, deepwater aquaculture, and marine energy development. It requires public consultation on regulations and consents and enables activities to be classified as permitted, discretionary, or prohibited.The new law is intended to come into effect on 1 July 2012.

Read the full media release (www.beehive.govt.nz/release/environmental-protection-laws-oceans-introduced).

Summarised from a New Zealand Government media release 24 August 2011.

Published in environment.