by Gareth Hughes
Submissions for the Government’s new bill regulating the Exclusive Economic Zone close this Friday and we need as many as possible to help improve this law.
The Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf (Environmental Effects) Bill proposes to set up an environmental management regime for certain activities in New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone − the area of sea, seabed and subsoil from 12 to 200 nautical miles offshore − and the continental shelf beyond that. The activities covered by the Bill include seabed mining, some aspects of petroleum activities, and energy generation carbon capture and storage. The Green Party welcomes greater regulation of activities in this zone, however we have serious concerns with the Bill at present and will work constructively with the Government to try and improve the legislation.
It’s vitally important the public has a say on this bill, which I fear sets up a framework to allow controversial deep-sea oil drilling in New Zealand waters, which risks a disaster similar to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. You can make an online submission to help people send in a submission advocating for protection of our ocean.
The Government has sold New Zealand cheaply to oil drillers with a $25.4 million seismic survey subsidy, the forth lowest royalty rates in the world, and now legislation with no environmental bottom lines. Oil drillers will benefit from this legislation while the public and environment faces all the risks from a catastrophic oil spill.