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Government announces proposed changes to EEZ Bill

Hon Amy Adams
Minister for the Environment

6 August, 2012 Media statement
Government announces proposed changes to EEZ Bill

Companies that do not comply with marine consent rules in the Exclusive Economic Zone could face fines of up to $10 million under proposed changes to a Bill that provides better protection for New Zealand’s marine environment, Environment Minister Amy Adams has announced.

In a speech to the Environmental Defence Society’s conference today, Ms Adams says the Government has listened to submitters and stakeholders and is suggesting further changes to the Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf (Environmental Effects) Bill.

The key changes the Government proposes to make are:

• Amend the purpose of the Bill to incorporate the concept of sustainable management to reflect the Resource Management Act
• Increase the maximum penalty for companies that breach marine consents from $600,000 to $10 million
• Clarify that a transitional period for planned petroleum activities will cover the 2013/14 drilling season; and
• Provide a maximum statutory timeframe of six months for a marine consent process.

Lifting the maximum fine would send a strong message that New Zealanders value their oceans.

“At this new level, I consider the penalty would be high enough to provide significant incentive to comply with the regime when operating in the EEZ,” Ms Adams says.

The purpose clause of the Bill would become one of sustainable management of our oceans for economic growth.

“The concept of sustainable management is well defined in domestic legislation through more than 20 years of Resource Management Act case law. The proposed new wording in the Bill’s purpose makes it clear that the policy intent is for a similar broad judgment to be applied in the EEZ context.”

Clarifying the transition period for planned petroleum activities would provide greater certainty for industry in planning for the 2013/14 drilling season, while still ensuring adequate environmental oversight.

“The changes the Government is proposing will create strong legislation, encourage compliance and provide greater certainty for industry and the public.”

The proposed changes to the Bill will be put forward in a supplementary order paper during the Bill’s Committee of the Whole House stage.

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