The Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf (Environmental Effects) Bill passed its second reading in Parliament last night.
Proposed regulations under the bill would see exploration, production and decommissioning for oil and gas and seabed minerals requiring a marine consent from the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA).
Environment minister Amy Adams said the bill was not about pitting the economy against the environment.
about balance, and responsible management of our oceans, which was one
of the key issues New Zealand was successful in gaining support for at
the recent Rio+20 conference on sustainable development in Brazil.”
She said New Zealand has one of the biggest exclusive economic zones (EEZ) in the world.
"Together with our continental shelf, it is an area of ocean that is 20 times the size of our land mass, and up until now, there has been a lack of environmental protection for it.
“Environmental organisations and industries are agreed on the need for legislation to protect the EEZ. Without this legislation, the risk of harm to the environment remains, along with a reputational risk for New Zealand internationally, and a lack of certainty for industry regarding the regulations that will affect their investments.
“New Zealand’s EEZ and continental shelf hold significant economic potential and the government wants to unlock this potential in an environmentally responsible way."