New Zealand Law Society - Passage of Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary Bill recommended

Passage of Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary Bill recommended

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Parliament's Local Government and Environment Committee has released a report on the Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary Bill, with a majority recommendation that it be passed with amendments.

The bill would amend a number of Acts. Its purpose is to establish a new 620,000 square kilometre fully-protected marine sanctuary located around the Kermadec Islands. This would cover around 15% of New Zealand's exclusive economic zone.

Among the proposed amendments is one to change the name of the sanctuary to the Kermadec/Rangitāhua Ocean Sanctuary, to recognise the indigenous name for Raoul Island (Rangitāhua) and the surrounding area.

Recommended new clauses would also prohibit the disturbance or removal of living natural material from the seabed or subsoil, and making it clear that all forms of seismic surveying would be considered a prohibited activity.

The Labour and Green Party members of the committee presented minority views.

The bill was referred to the committee on 15 March 2016 with submissions closing on 28 April 2016. The committee received 82 unique submissions and a form submission from 1,084 submitters.

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