Auckland, 28 August 2012 - The Government’s new Exclusive Economic Zone legislation favours the country’s biggest polluters at the cost of ordinary New Zealanders, says Greenpeace.
The new law fails to meet New Zealand’s international obligations to protect and preserve its oceans – the area that the Government is looking to exploit for dangerous deep water oil drilling. It also reduces public consultation and the right to appeal decisions in the Environment Court.
“This is another example of a Government hell-bent on writing legislation for some of our biggest polluters at the cost of ordinary New Zealanders,” says Greenpeace Chief Political Advisor Nathan Argent.
“The Government is short-circuiting the democratic process and slamming the door on the concerns of the public. It’s declaring an open season for deep water drilling along our coastlines.
“However, no amount of legislation will prevent an oil spill with far reaching economic and environmental impacts as was shown by the Gulf of Mexico disaster.”
Argent says aligning the EEZ with the Resource Management Act could also signal the Government's intention to gut existing laws which were once considered world class. The weakening of New Zealand’s environmental safeguards was recommended by a recent Government review. (1)
“This means the get-rich quick attitude to resource exploitation by big polluters will trump the long-term interests of New Zealanders,” says Argent.
“Everybody wants a strong economy, but the Government’s on-going dependence on 19th Century fossil fuel industries is out of touch with the fresh new thinking on a cleaner, smarter way of doing business.
“We need an energy strategy for the 21st Century that takes advantage of our greatest natural resource which is our ability to innovate and lead the world in safe technologies that do not pollute our land, water and air. That way we can create thousands of jobs and kick start strong economic growth for New Zealand.”