Land and Oceans Compliance Senior Advisor Dan Baker

Our team is responsible for environmental monitoring and compliance across a range of activities occurring in New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf.

Photo of Land and Oceans Compliance Senior Advisor Dan BakerThis is a massive area of ocean wrapping around New Zealand, spanning 5.7 million square kilometres – about 20 times our land mass – and is one of the biggest zones of its kind in the world.

We oversee industrial and scientific activity which ranges from inspecting drilling rigs, wellhead platforms and dredge operations to monitoring rocket launches and scientific probe placements on the sea floor.

Our main focus is on discharges of harmful substances into the ocean and disturbances of the seabed that may occur in association with the activities we regulate.

Working as an environmental regulator in the off-shore marine space is fascinating and challenging. Most notably, it is a difficult place to access.

The facilities we inspect are (typically) oil and gas operations more than 30kms offshore. These facilities are complex, inherently dangerous, and operate 24 hours per day. We fly out to location by helicopter and often stay overnight in order to carry out an inspection.

What I most enjoy about working in this space is the opportunity to work across multiple disciplines. While most of our team have a tertiary education background in environmental or marine science, the industries we regulate demand our attention in instrumentation, mechanical and hydraulic engineering, hydrocarbons, and a wide variety of water contaminants and ecotoxic compounds.

Ultimately our job is to protect the environment by ensuring participants obey the rules. We contribute to the marine consent application process by providing feedback from inspection findings and reviewing consent conditions for enforceability. We monitor, inspect and hold parties to account to ensure the sustainable management of our ocean.