5 Jun 2012

Proposed mining legislation balanced, says industry

10:03 pm on 5 June 2012

Mining and minerals industry group Straterra says a proposed law to regulate deep-sea drilling seems to strike a good balance between environmental protection and economic benefits.

The Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf (Environmental Effects) Bill aims to establish an environmental management regime for mining and drilling for the first time beyond 12 nautical miles.

Mining and minerals industry group Straterra says too much red tape around deep-sea mining could strangle development.

Straterra chief executive Chris Baker told Radio New Zealand's Nine to Noon programme on Tuesday that, while bill is balanced the devil is often in the detail, and warns that overly restrictive legislation could deter much needed investment.

He says New Zealand faces strong international competition for investment.

Petroleum Exploration and Production Association chief executive David Robinson says all activity has an impact on the environment, but the important thing is to have appropriate safeguards in place.

Mr Robinson says the new legislation doesn't need to be as restrictive as the Resource Management Act, which was set up to deal with more complex environments near human habitation.

Environmental Defence Society chairman Gary Taylor says the bill aims to balance environmental protection with economic benefit, which suggests risky projects could get the go-ahead if the potential return is high enough.

He says the proposed legislation is much weaker than the Resource Management Act, which puts environmental protection first.

The bill passed its first reading in September 2011 and was reported back to the House by the Local Government and Environment Committee Select Committee on 15 May. Public submissions close on 20 June.