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28, Sep, 2008

Government fails to deliver on oceans management bill


Category: ECO Inc

The Government has failed, despite promises since 1999 to introduce legislation to control the environmental effects of activity in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). Now Parliament has risen for the election, there is no chance of the promises being honoured, says ECO.

ECO spokesperson, Barry Weeber, said successive Labour Ministers have promised Oceans policy and legislation and that the Minister for the Environment, Trevor Mallard, told the ECO Conference in June that the legislation would be introduced by the end of August.

Mr Weeber said the proposed legislation was the result of the Oceans Policy that was announced in 2001.

“Still there are no environmental controls or public procedures in place to control most activity in the sea beyond 12 nautical miles offshore.

“Large mining companies are staking out hundreds of thousands of square kilometres in the sea for minerals activity, including mining applications. Yet nothing is in place to consider whether mining is suitable or to control the environmental impacts.”

Mr Weeber said there were more controls in place to manage mining in the deep-sea bed on the high seas than New Zealand had for its own waters.

“The failure of the Government to introduce this legislation is a major disappointment given that New Zealand has just celebrated the UN Committee agreement to New Zealand’s application to extend its continental shelf.”

Mr Weeber says ECO considers there should be a moratorium on all mineral activity in the EEZ until legislation is passed.

For further information contact: Barry Weeber 021-738-807.

Note:

  1. ECO – the Environment and Conservation Organisations was established in 1972 and represents 62 groups with a concern for the environment.
  2. The ECO Conference was held on 27 to 29 June 2008 in Wellington.