The Environmental Defence Society, Forest & Bird, WWF-New Zealand and Ecologic have released an open letter to the Hon Amy Adams, Minister for the Environment, expressing “profound concerns” with the Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf (Environmental Effects) Bill.
“The open letter from some of New Zealand’s leading environmental groups expresses our continuing alarm at the wording of the purpose and principle clauses in the Bill,” said EDS Chairman Gary Taylor.
“We have proposed new wording to the Minister in an effort to fit within her Cabinet mandate but which would still protect the marine environment from adverse effects of oil, gas and mining in our oceans.
Although we understand that the Bill will proceed to a second reading this week – possibly today – the Minister has not confirmed that the new wording, or something like it, is acceptable.
“In these circumstances EDS, Forest & Bird, WWF-New Zealand and Ecologic have decided to notify the wider public and all Parliamentarians of our concern that the Bill as drafted will not protect our precious oceans environment and amounts to little more than greenwash,” Mr Taylor said.
Forest & Bird Conservation Advocate Claire Browning confirmed that the groups are not opposed to resource exploitation in the EEZ.
“We are not opposed to economic development in our EEZ provided we have in place environmental legislation that will properly manage the environmental effects and risks associated with those activities, especially in our deep oceans.
“Unfortunately, the Bill as worded won’t achieve that outcome and if changes to the Bill are not made we will oppose it in its entirety. There is too much at stake,” Claire Browning concluded.