Eugenie Sage, in Committee, to move the following amendments:
Replace clause 10(1) (line 31 on page 19 to line 10 on page 20) with:
New clause 11A
After clause 11 (after line 33 on page 20), insert:
11A Matters to be recognised and provided to achieve purpose
In achieving the purpose of this Act, all persons exercising functions, duties, and powers under this Act must recognise and provide for the following matters:
(c) the maintenance of the integrity of marine ecosystems (including ecosystem complexity, structure, function, productivity, dynamism, natural viability, and boundaries):
(f) the protection and preservation of unique, rare, or fragile populations, communities, habitats, ecosystems and geomorphological features from adverse environmental effects:
After clause 33(2) (after line 26 on page 37), insert:
In clause 33(3), delete paragraphs (d) and (e) (lines 9 to 13 on page 38).
After clause 59(1) (after line 15 on page 50), insert:
In clause 59(3), delete paragraphs (d) and (e) (lines 3 to 7 on page 51).
This Supplementary Order Paper amends the purpose clause and provides a set of environmental principles to guide decisions makers as to how the Bill’s purpose is to be achieved in decisions on regulations and marine consent applications. The purpose clause is fundamental because the entire Bill is interpreted in the light of its purpose. Under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, New Zealand’s right to develop and exploit resources in the EEZ is subject to a general overriding obligation to “preserve and protect the marine environment”. The proposed amendment to the purpose clause recognises that irrespective of any economic benefits that may be derived from exploiting the marine environment, the health and viability of natural ecosystems must be sustained for future generations. This is a well-established principle of environmental sustainability. It seeks to ensure that the Bill’s decision makers (the Minister and the Environmental Protection Authority) apply the purpose and associated environmental principles to their decisions on regulations and marine consent applications.
Under the proposed amendments to clauses 33 and 59, decision makers would be required to prioritise matters to be “recognised and provided for” above matters to be “taken into account” under clauses 33(3) and 59(3). This would assist the Bill’s implementation by reducing uncertainty as to how conflicts between different matters should be resolved. The principles complement the information principles in clauses 33A and 60A.
These are consequential amendments which ensure that the Minister in making regulations, and the EPA in making decisions on marine consent applications recognise and provide for section 11A matters.