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Govt abuses urgency to extend Anadarko Amendment

17 May 2013

Govt abuses urgency to extend Anadarko Amendment

The Government is trying to pass legislation under urgency which would make the Anadarko Amendment – which limits protest at sea – apply to an additional 1.7 million square kilometres, the Green Party said today.

Just last month, the Government passed an amendment to the Crown Minerals Act, dubbed the Anadarko Amendment, that limited protest activity in New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and territorial sea but did not apply to the high seas. Today, under urgency, the Government will try to pass a bill that will extend the limits on protest activity to the high seas over New Zealand’s extended continental shelf, beyond the exclusive economic zone – up to 350 miles from New Zealand’s coastline.

“It is outrageous the Government is now using urgency to sneak through changes that would limit protest activity on New Zealand’s entire continental shelf, which is quite possibly a breach of international law,” said Green Party oceans spokesperson Gareth Hughes.

“The Government shouldn’t put the business agenda of large foreign oil companies ahead of the legal and human rights of New Zealanders.

“This law change is likely to protect the interests of the self-described “mega government owned company” China National Offshore Oil Corporation and Shell.”

These companies recently submitted a joint application for a petroleum prospecting permit which extends beyond the EEZ and into New Zealand’s extended continental shelf.

“It is staggering that, without public scrutiny, the Government is about to give itself jurisdiction over protesting on the high seas – a move that clearly has international ramifications,” said Mr Hughes.

“It is dubious that New Zealand even has the legal powers to do this and it opens New Zealand up to legal challenge.

“Our own Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade says New Zealand does not have special rights to the fisheries above the continental shelf beyond the EEZ or to control other activities such as shipping, yet the Government is proposing to make laws to establish exclusion zones around oil ships.

“Once again the Government is making law for their big business mates and offshore oil companies.”

References:
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade: “States do not have any special rights to the water column above the continental shelf; so New Zealand does not have special rights to the fisheries above the continental shelf beyond the EEZ or to control other activities such as shipping.” Source: http://www.mfat.govt.nz/Treaties-and-International-Law/04-Law-of-the-Sea-and-Fisheries/NZ-Continental-Shelf-and-Maritime-Boundaries.php

Ministry for the Environment: “In areas where the continental shelf extends beyond 200NM from the baselines, the water itself above the continental shelf is not within New Zealand’s jurisdiction and is part of the high seas.” Source: http://www.mfe.govt.nz/issues/oceans/jurisdictional.html

ENDS

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