Environment Minister Amy Adams announced on 6 August that the Government intends to propose changes to the Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf (Environmental Effects) Bill, currently awaiting its third reading in the House.

In a speech to the Environmental Defence Society's conference, Ms Adams said that the Government proposes to amend the Bill to:

  • incorporate the concept of sustainable management into the purpose section of the legislation, to reflect the Resource Management Act 1991;
  • increase the maximum penalty for companies that breach marine consents from $600,000 to $10 million;
  • clarify that a transitional period for planned petroleum activities will cover the 2013/14 drilling season; and
  • provide a maximum statutory timeframe of six months for a marine consent process.

The proposed changes have been put forward in a supplementary order paper during the Bill's Committee of the Whole House stage, which was completed this week.