1 August, 2012
Launch of the Code of Conduct for Seismic Operations
The launch of the Code of Conduct for Minimising Acoustic Disturbance to Marine Mammals is another of the many steps this Government is taking to ensure that we make the most of our promising petroleum potential in a manner that is well managed and consistent with the wider values we hold as a nation, and to the highest international standards.
In addition to this code, we are currently developing fit-for-purpose environmental legislation to manage activities in New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone and tightening health and safety requirements for oil drilling operations.
We are also taking another look at the minimum insurance requirements placed on petroleum operators, and a review of the Crown Minerals Act is well under way. Through this review I am proposing the introduction of an initial assessment of petroleum permit applicants’ environmental, and health and safety capability.
This package of initiatives reflects the high standards New Zealanders place on the environment and on the conduct of businesses in New Zealand. Meeting these requirements is the price of entry for companies wishing to operate in New Zealand waters.
I thank DoC for working closely with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, and carefully consulting with a very wide range of stakeholders and other interested parties during the development of the code.
Amongst the most important innovations are requirements for four independent observers on sonar ships and 24-hour Passive Acoustic Monitoring, along with submission of a Marine Mammal Impact Assessment for all surveys.
These are important steps to give people confidence in the robustness of the code.
For example, not too long ago I had the opportunity to talk to a couple of young people from Ngai Tahu, who had worked as observers on a seismic vessel off the coast of the South Island. Iwi around the country have been clear about their interest in the activities of the oil and gas industry and these folk were able to go back to their iwi and report on their opportunity to observe at first hand the high standards of oil and gas exploration off our shores.
Finally, I’d like to thank PEPANZ for their considerable involvement in developing the code. We welcome them as first signatory.
This Government is determined to raise living standards for New Zealanders, and realising the potential of our natural resources in a responsible manner and to a high standard is crucial to achieving this goal.
I look forward to us successfully implementing the code, and continuing the environmentally responsible exploration of oil and gas, and minerals, in New Zealand.