New regulations to protect oceans

  • Nick Smith

New Government regulations to manage the waste and pollution within New Zealand’s vast Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) come into effect today, Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith says. 

“These new regulations cover discharges of pollutants and waste from offshore installations like oil rigs and ships in the six million square kilometres of ocean in New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf. They provide clear rules that protect the ocean environment and are the final stage of implementing the Government’s new environmental law covering the ocean,” Dr Smith says. 

There was no law providing for environmental regulation in the oceans prior to the National-led Government’s EEZ legislation, which was passed in 2012. The new law provides a comprehensive approach to managing the environmental effects of activities in the oceans and has provided for regulations governing discharges, dumping of waste and burial at sea that are administered by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA). Oil spill planning and response will continue to be administered by Maritime New Zealand. These new regulations come into force today. 

“The new regulations are part of the Government’s plan for New Zealand to be a world leader in responsible use and management of our ocean environment. We have a world class fisheries management system with more of our fish stocks certified as sustainable than any other country. We have a robust law for regulating activities like oil, gas and seabed mining. We have a growing network of marine reserves and a massive new sanctuary proposed around the Kermadec Islands. The next step will be in updating our marine protected area laws,” Dr Smith says. 

“The Government’s ‘Bluegreen’ agenda is about enabling economic opportunities to be taken in our oceans but also ensuring high standards of environmental management.” 

The regulations are available from: