01 August 2012

EEZ legislation too weak – Environment Commissioner

Shortcomings in new legislation designed to protect New Zealand's oceans need to be fixed says the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Dr Jan Wright.

The legislation aims to protect New Zealand's exclusive economic zone by regulating economic activity such as deep sea drilling and seabed mining.

Dr Wright says the main issue is the proposed statement of purpose.

"Getting the purpose of the law right is hugely important if it is to effectively protect our ocean environment especially as there is other legislation that provides economic balance.

"In my submission on this legislation last year I flagged this issue but it has not been dealt with in a way which reflects my concern.

"There are activities in the EEZ that offer great economic potential but they can be environmentally hazardous which means it's vital to our environment and our ongoing economic security that we get this legislation right."

The Bill is currently before Parliament.

ENDS