New Zealand’s resource development framework has serious problems and needs urgent reform, says BusinessNZ.
The Environmental Protection Authority today declined consent for Chatham Rock Phosphate to mine offshore for rock phosphate. The company had invested $33 million in its bid to meet EPA requirements for the enterprise, and now suggests it may in fact be impossible to achieve such consents under the current framework.
BusinessNZ Chief Executive Phil O’Reilly says the EPA has no doubt carried out its mandate in good faith, but the framework itself is flawed.
“The laws governing resource permits and consents offshore and the law governing consents onshore are seriously standing in the way of economic growth.
“There is a critical need for improvement of these laws governing resource development. The whole issue of permitting and consenting needs reform.
“In the Chatham Rock case, as with the previous Trans-Tasman Resources case, one part of government has issued a mining consent, while another part of government has declined access to the resource. This is an absurd situation.
“The framework is effectively operating as a ban on new, innovative activities with uncertain impacts – yet all new activity has some element of uncertainty.
“What companies will now risk investing millions of dollars to create jobs and grow the economy given New Zealand’s apparent ban on offshore mineral resource development?”
1. Crown Minerals Act, Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf (Environment Effects) Act
2. Resource Management Act