Non-notified marine consent applications

04 October 2019

Due to the high level of interest in marine consent applications, and non-notified applications in particular, we wish to address questions raised about these applications and when hearings are held.

We regulate certain activities in the ocean within New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone and continental shelf in terms of their environmental effects.

Under the Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf (Environmental Effects) Act 2012 (EEZ Act), anyone wishing to carry out certain activities involved in drilling for oil or gas must apply for a marine consent.

The Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf (Environmental Effects - Non-notified Activities) Regulations 2014 classify certain activities as being non-notified. This means we cannot open these applications up to public submissions.

When we receive a marine consent application for an activity in New Zealand’s offshore waters, we must take certain statutory criteria into account in determining whether or not to grant consent. We may delegate our powers and functions to decide a marine consent application under the EEZ Act for non-notified activities to a decision-making committee.

Whether a hearing is conducted is at the sole discretion of the decision-makers on the application. The only circumstance in which a hearing on a non-notified application must be conducted is if the applicant requests this.

For non-notified applications under the EEZ Act, only the applicant has the right to submit evidence in writing, or at a hearing; this does not change even if a hearing is held.

If the decision-makers do decide to conduct a hearing, the EEZ Act provides that they may choose to do so in public or private, and there are no express rights for persons other than the applicant to speak or call evidence.

The Decision-making Committee considering OMV GSB Ltd’s consent applications in relation to Petroleum Exploration Permit 50119 in the Great South Basin has not yet made a decision on whether a hearing will be held for the non-notified consent application currently before it.

For more information on OMV GSB's proposal, read our factsheet.

Factsheet: OMV proposal for offshore oil and gas exploration in the Great South Basin (pdf 221KB)

Read more about the role of the EPA and other agencies in relation to the EEZ

Read more about the process for marine consents