Rejection of a proposal for a new industry is disappointing, says BusinessNZ.
The Environmental Protection Authority has turned down an application by Trans-Tasman Resources Ltd to start a new industry in the Exclusive Economic Zone off the coast of Taranaki.
The proposed enterprise would have established an under-sea iron sand mining industry, diversifying New Zealand’s extraction sector and creating new income streams and jobs in the Taranaki region.
Trans-Tasman Resources Ltd spent seven years and $60 million to research and develop the application.
The EPA turned the application down because of uncertainty around environmental effects.
BusinessNZ Chief Executive Phil O’Reilly says the decision is a blow for prospects for new industries and growth in the Exclusive Economic Zone.
“Any new industry is bound to have some uncertainties. Millions can be invested in researching and estimating the likely effects of a new industry without realistically being able to achieve absolute certainty about all outcomes.”
Mr O’Reilly said the decision made it clear ‘that there was uncertainty and that in these circumstance the Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf (Environmental Effects) Act 2012 requires the EPA to favour caution’.
“Business wants to be responsible and supports regulations to protect the environment, but will be wondering how much certainty is realistic,” Mr O’Reilly said.
“No doubt the EPA has carried out its mandate in good faith, but business will be wondering about the effect of the decision on other new and emerging industries.
“The rejection of an application to establish a new industry on the grounds of uncertainty – when 100% certainty for a completely new industry is impossible – may raise the question of whether our regulatory settings themselves may be preventing new industry from being established.
“It would be unfortunate if this was the message being heard by potential investors in New Zealand.”