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Labour Says EEZ Bill Better But Not Good Enough

Labour MPs have made it clear they will not support the Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf (Environmental Effects) Bill despite changes proposed by the Government.

The House rose at 6pm today interrupting the committee stage of the EEZ bill which lays out a regulatory framework for the wider economic zone covering the deep water marine environment.

Recently Environment Minister Amy Adams said the Government would bring in an SOP which, amongst other things, would introduce the concept of sustainable development into the purpose of the bill and higher fines for breaches of the law.

Both Labour and the Greens opposed the bill at its second reading and Labour MP Grant Robertson said the changes proposed by the Government in the committee stage were wide ranging and should be referred back to the select committee.

He said the changes in relation to the Resources Management Act were good, but not good enough and did not adequately reflect New Zealand’s international obligations.

Adams said everyone on both sides of the argument over this bill acknowledged that it filled a legislative gap that should be addressed quickly. Labour was point scoring and wrong to seek to delay its passage despite the Environment Commissioner calling for it to be passed

The changes being proposed to the purposes clause provided a consistency and legal framework that would be clearly understood, Adam said.

Earlier the Appropriation (2012/13 Estimates) Bill completed its committee stage by 64 to 57 with National, Maori Party, ACT and United Future supporting. The bill was reported without amendment.

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