27 Nov 2012

Govt to tighten oil, gas and mining regulations

9:21 pm on 27 November 2012

The Royal Commission's report on the Pike River mining tragedy has prompted the Government to announce changes to health and safety rules in the oil, gas and mining industries.

Energy and Resources Minister Phil Heatley said on Tuesday the Crown Minerals Bill before Parliament will be strengthened so that health and safety requirements have to be met before exploration or mining permits are issued.

Regulations for the oil and gas industry are also to be tightened.

Acting Labour Minister Chris Finlayson says Royal Commission's report made it clear that regulatory standards in hazardous industries in New Zealand are not up to world standard.

Changes announced on Tuesday will bring the petroleum exploration and extraction sector in line with practice in Britain and Australia, he says.

In future, onshore and offshore operators will be required to prepare a safety plan before new ventures are approved.

They will also have to report so-called near-miss incidents that could have led to a major accident.

The regulations are expected to be in place by June 2013.