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Is the New Zealand EEZ regulatory framework international best practice?

New Zealand is fortunate to have a very large and diverse marine area. It supports a wide array of marine life with high biodiversity in seabirds, marine mammals and invertebrates. It contains significant petroleum and mineral resources. It also supports a substantial fishing industry. Our seas include the territorial sea (virtually the same as the coastal marine area) out to the 12 nautical mile limit, the exclusive economic zone or EEZ, and the extended continental shelf that extends some distance beyond the 200 nautical mile limit of the EEZ in some places. How the EEZ and the other seas under New Zealand’s control are managed is of critical national and international importance. At the 2011 EDS Conference Raewyn Peart presented on “Oceans governance framework: An appraisal”. She concluded that New Zealand’s EEZ management was lagging behind international best practice because New Zealand had no mechanism for integration; no provision for marine spatial planning in the EEZ; no agency responsible for oceans management; no EEZ environmental assessment legislation; no EEZ marine protected areas legislation; and old and poorly performing marine mammal and wildlife (seabird) legislation. One of the authors of this paper also spoke at the 2011 EDS Conference, and identified a number of shortcomings in the law to regulate offshore petroleum activity, especially in regard to well integrity which is the ‘fence at the top of the cliff’. A lot has happened since 2011. This paper appraises the present state of our offshore environmental legislation, focussing on three issues that are at the fore: the lack of strategic or spatial planning, especially for marine protection purposes; the shortcomings in regulation of petroleum well integrity; and the challenges we face in achieving integrated management. The paper concludes that New Zealand has a lot of work to do by international standards, although it must also be acknowledged that other jurisdictions also struggle to address these issues. Although this paper focuses on the EEZ it also comments on the management of land and the territorial sea.
Conference Contribution
Type of thesis
de Wit, N., & Barton, B. (2014). Is the New Zealand EEZ regulatory framework international best practice? Presented at the EDS National Conference 2014: Navigating our Future: Addressing Risk and Building Resilience, Auckland, New Zealand.
© 2014 the authors