If you have interests in New Zealand's Exclusive Economic Zone or are planning to in the future, you need to engage with Managing our Oceans - a government discussion document outlining proposals to regulate the EEZ.

The regulations will sit under the umbrella of the soon to be enacted Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf (Environmental Effects) Bill, Chapman Tripp's commentaries on which are available here and here.

You can have a say on which activities should be regulated, the criteria to determine activity status, and cost recovery options. Written submissions are due to the Ministry for the Environment by 5pm Wednesday 20 June.

Managing our oceans

The EEZ Bill provides for permitted activities (which do not require consent), regulated activities and prohibited activities. No activities have been identified for prohibition at this stage.

Proposed permitted activities, subject to standards, for oil and gas and seabed mining are:

  • shallow core sampling
  • spot sampling
  • seismic surveying
  • use of remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) or submersibles, and
  • rock dredges.

All other oil and gas and seabed mining activities would require a marine consent.

Other proposed permitted activities include submarine cabling and marine scientific research.

The discussion document is also seeking feedback on cost recovery and implementation.


The EEZ Bill establishes a regime for managing activities and their environment effects in the EEZ and on the continental shelf. But the Bill is something of an empty shell as all the detail relating to the status of activities, permitted activity standards and technical standards and methods will be prescribed by regulation.

Regulations can also close areas of the EEZ to all activities, although the discussion document does not make any specific proposals in this regard.

The information in this article is for informative purposes only and should not be relied on as legal advice. Please contact Chapman Tripp for advice tailored to your situation.