Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search


Govt's legal advisors criticise rushed exploration ban

Govt's legal advisors criticise rushed exploration ban process

By Gavin Evans

Oct. 30 (BusinessDesk) - Consultation on legislation to implement the government’s planned ban on new offshore exploration should have been wider given its potential for “significant environmental, economic and societal impacts,” the country’s independent legislative advisor says.

Consultation on any bill usually includes a “pre-introduction” phase which includes subject matter experts, industry, consumers, interest groups and often the public. Post-introduction consultation usually follows through the select committee process.

“Both stages must combine to mean that consultation is robust, meaningful and effective,” external lawyers on the government’s Legislation Design and Advisory Committee said in a submission to Parliament’s environment select committee.

“It helps to ensure the legitimacy of the legislation in the eyes of the public and those affected. An effective consultation programme can increase public acceptance of the legislation, increase compliance with it and lower the administration costs of implementing and enforcing it.”

The select committee yesterday reported the legislation for the ban back to Parliament after receiving more than 2,300 submissions. The bill to effect the ban announced in April was introduced in late September, and open for submissions for two weeks. The government has claimed the urgency was needed to ensure new onshore exploration blocks can be offered next year, though the oil industry has rejected that as a reason for a hasty process.

In its report, the select committee acknowledged how split submitters were, with many wanting permits revoked and onshore exploration halted. Industry and others warned the ban would reduce security of gas supply for power generation, and potentially increase emissions by delaying the local shift away from coal use and by reducing production of methanol, which is increasingly used internationally as a low-emission fuel.

They also acknowledged the number of submitters, including many iwi groups, that had criticised the truncated consultation process.

The National Party minority on the committee said the ban is “retrograde step” for the country’s broader climate change objectives and will be reversed. The bill is due for its second reading on Thursday.

The Legislation Design and Advisory Committee reports to the Attorney-General. It was formed in 2015 to help improve the law-making processes across government departments and agencies and ensure they meet fundamental legal and constitutional principles.

It comprises senior legal and policy advisors from Crown Law, the Parliamentary Counsel Office and other major ministries. An external subcommittee, also appointed by the Attorney-General, comprises senior barristers and partners from many of the country’s major law firms and senior legal academics.

The external subcommittee’s submission was solely on the bill’s process, rather than the government’s underlying policy to ban new offshore exploration.

It said the adverse consequences from the significantly limited pre-introduction consultation - evidenced by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment not being able to consult with industry on the ban - probably can’t be remedied due to the limited timeframe of the subsequent consultation.

The committee said the bill “is not minor in its intended effect” and nor is it so urgent that an extra week or two could not have been added to the consultation process.

“The background documents provided publicly with the bill do not contain a sufficient explanation of why such time limitations and analytical constraints were imposed.

“The fact that a political decision has been made cannot be equated with meaning that pre-introduction consultation ought to be tightly circumscribed. Were that so, many bills would have little pre-introduction consultation.”

The committee had recommended public submission timeframes be extended to enable wider input and to ensure all relevant issues were identified.



© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Air New Zealand: Capital Raise Deferred

Air New Zealand has decided to defer its planned capital raise to later in 2021 allowing more time to assess the impacts of recent developments on the airline’s path to recovery. 'We’ve seen some clearing of COVID-19 clouds recently, with ... More>>

Commerce Commission: Cartel Conduct Now Punishable By Up To 7 Years’ Jail Time

Cartel conduct can now be punished with a term of imprisonment of up to 7 years, after the Commerce (Criminalisation of Cartels) Amendment Act 2019 came into effect today. Cartel conduct includes price fixing, market allocation and bid rigging (see ... More>>

Stats NZ: Auckland Population May Hit 2 Million In Early 2030s

Auckland’s population may rise from about 1.7 million currently to 2 million by early next decade, Stats NZ said today. “Auckland will likely have the highest average annual growth of New Zealand’s 16 regions over the next 30 years, from ... More>>

Air New Zealand: Business Travellers Return To The Skies In Record Numbers

After a year of talking to a computer, Kiwis are leaving the office to re-connect with their clients, suppliers, and staff. New figures released by Air New Zealand show domestic business and corporate travel has defied global trends by returning ... More>>

PwC: Outcome Of Review Into Air New Zealand Gas Turbines Business

Air New Zealand has received the report into its Gas Turbines business from independent external advisers PwC. Air New Zealand Chairman Dame Therese Walsh says the report identified a range of effective controls in the Gas Turbines revenue contracting ... More>>

LPG Association: Renewable LPG Achieves Emissions Budgets With No Need To Ban New LPG Connections

Renewable LPG can supply New Zealand’s LPG needs and achieve the emissions reductions proposed by the Climate Commission without the need to ban new connections, a new study shows. The investigation, by leading consultancy Worley, was prepared for the ... More>>

Commerce: House Values Continue To Climb As New Government Measures Announced

The Government’s new initiatives to quell the rocketing housing market were announced last week, just as house prices hit a new high for the end of March. The average value increased 7.8% nationally over the past three-month period, up from the 6.8% ... More>>