29 Feb 2012

Tribe bids to advise environmental agency

7:12 am on 29 February 2012

Ngai Tahu is calling to be part of the environmental agency that is due to police New Zealand waters up to 200 nautical miles out from the coastline.

The South Island iwi has made the request in a submission on a proposed new law to boost environmental controls over oil and gas exploration companies at sea.

The tribe says it wants a guaranteed place on the Maori Advisory Committee of the Environmental Protection Authority which is to be charged with safeguarding the marine environment, including regulating oil drilling operations.

But the proposed rules of the committee state members will not speak on behalf of all or any particular whanau, hapu or iwi.

However, Ngai Tahu says it should have a place on the advisory committee because roughly half of the exclusive economic zone and continental shelf is within, or next to its, takiwa (district).

The Tumuaki (chair) of the committee is entitled to attend all board meetings of the Environmental Protection Authority.

The proposed law change on environmental protection has attracted 129 submissions.

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