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$3.2 million for environmental management of oceans

Budget 2014: $3.2 million for environmental management of oceans

The Government is investing an additional $3.2 million in 2014/15 to support the implementation of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) legislation, Environment Minister Amy Adams says.

The funding, which includes $2 million of reprioritised funding, will help the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) to fully develop and carry out its new functions and responsibilities in the EEZ.

The $3.2 million is intended to be one-off funding while the EPA establishes its new functions in the EEZ. On-going operations under the EEZ legislation are funded on a cost recovery basis.

“The Government is committed to requiring operators in the EEZ to carry out their activities in an environmentally-friendly way,” Ms Adams says.

“The funding will help the EPA monitor the petroleum industry’s compliance with the conditions of their marine consents and any subsequent investigations and prosecutions for breaching those conditions.

“This will reinforce the Government’s expectation that operators carry out best practice in the EEZ and their activities are safely and sensibly managed.”

A range of options are available to the EPA if an operator breaches the conditions of its marine consent, including prosecution and fines up to $10 million.

The funding will also help the EPA to raise awareness of the EEZ Act’s requirements so industry participants, iwi, councils and local communities fully understand the new environmental regime.

The EEZ Act filled an important gap in New Zealand’s regulatory regime and set up a comprehensive environmental system to protect New Zealand’s oceans.

“There was previously no environmental regulatory regime for drilling in the EEZ, and the public had no say.
“Under this Government, the public will for the first time get a chance to have a say,” Ms Adams says.

Ends

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