The government's bill to establish a massive sanctuary around the Kermadec Islands has passed its first reading unanimously.
Environment Minister Nick Smith told Parliament the Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary would be a significant global commitment to protecting the ocean environment.
Dr Smith said it would be twice the size of New Zealand's land area.
He said it contained 6 million birds, 35 species of whale and dolphins, three species of turtle and 150 species of fish.
The government's aim was to have the new sanctuary in place by November.
The government's Land Transfer Bill, which seeks to modernise the 64-year-old Land Transfer Act, also passed its first reading.