Legislation boosting environmental controls over oil and gas exploration companies off the coast of New Zealand has passed its third and final reading in Parliament.
The Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf (Environmental Effects) Bill establishes an environmental management regime for mining and drilling in an area of sea known as the Exclusive Economic Zone, which covers up to 200 nautical miles out from the coastline.
The Environmental Protection Authority will decide whether the public should be notified about an oil companies' plans to drill test wells in that zone.
It also introduces heavy penalties for companies that breach marine consent rules.
The legislation was passed by 82 votes to 37.