29 Feb 2012

New law to protect NZ seas attracts many submissions

5:09 am on 29 February 2012

A proposed law change to boost environmental controls over oil and gas exploration companies has attracted 129 submissions.

The Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf Environmental Effects Bill will be reported to Parliament on Wednesday before it goes on to its second reading.

Some Maori leaders have criticised the government for not having proper guidelines for mineral extraction nor for the conditions mining companies should be working under.

The government has acknowledged there are loopholes in current laws covering New Zealand waters, and the new legislation will cover up to 200 nautical miles out from the coastline.

It says it has been consulting widely with Maori and environmental groups to produce better policy that iwi will be happy with.

Submissions have been made by various groups, including Maori, who are concerned about how the law should relate to the Treaty of Waitangi and how Maori should be properly consulted.