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Protections for NZ's Exclusive Economic Zone

Hon Trevor Mallard
Minister for the Environment

18 December 2007 Media Statement

Protections for NZ's Exclusive Economic Zone

Work on protecting the ocean surrounding New Zealand has moved to the next step with the release today of a summary of submissions on the discussion paper, Improving Regulation of Environmental Effects in New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

"We need a more comprehensive framework to protect the environment, harness economic possibilities and reduce uncertainty for industries operating in the Exclusive Economic Zone,'' Trevor Mallard said.

"There is plenty of work still to do to, and we will be working with stakeholders to make sure any new legislation or legislative change achieves the sustainability outcomes we’re seeking. Our Exclusive Economic Zone is an important resource for our country – it's an area of ocean extending from 12 to 200 nautical miles offshore and is one of the largest in the world. It contains a wealth of natural biodiversity values, and has great potential for future economic opportunities.

"The Labour-led government is committed to ensuring this ocean, just like our land-based resources, are used in a sustainable way.

"Improving the regulatory regime for environmental impacts in the Exclusive Economic Zone is the first priority for action.

"Almost all submitters agreed that an improved regulatory system was necessary to protect the Exclusive Economic Zone environment. Submissions were made by the petroleum, mining and telecommunications industries, scientists, academics, environmental organisations, members of the public, and iwi.

"The environmental effects of some activities, such as fisheries and transport, are already covered by existing legislation, but there are gaps in the current regime, such as the effects of mining on the sea floor, or effects of seismic surveys on marine mammals."

The Ministry for the Environment will continue to develop the policy and is arranging workshops in January for key stakeholders to discuss the proposals in greater detail, with the aim of drafting legislation later in 2008.

The summary of submissions is at http://www.mfe.govt.nz/issues/oceans/current-work/index.html

ENDS

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