Ocean Policy

New Zealand

New Zealand is a country belonging to the Commonwealth (Commonwealth of Nations), and one of the Commonwealth realm, with the British monarch acting as the King of New Zealand and Head of State*1. As shown below, in New Zealand, various ministries and government offices hold authority over different aspects of its ocean policies (See Table 1). While the division of ocean areas in domestic New Zealand law is in principle based on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (1982), some parts of ocean areas are categorized pursuant to its unique domestic law. According to the domestic law, the foreshore and sea floor, territorial waters and the skies above them are collectively referred to as the coastal area, following the regulations of the Resource Management Act (RMA).

Table 1 Jurisdiction of Ocean Policies among Government Bodies in NZ
Main Governing Bodies
Governing OfficeJurisdiction
Ministry for the EnvironmentMonitoring by the Environmental Protection Authority and EEZ-related regulations
Environmental Protection AuthorityApproval, monitoring and execution in accordance with EEZ Acts
Ministry for Primary IndustriesManagement of fisheries
Department of Conservation (DOC)Marine Reserve and endangered species
Ministry of TransportMaritime Transport Act 1994
Maritime New ZealandMaritime transport management and its influence
Regional CouncilManagement of territorial waters (up to 12 nautical miles from coastal area)
New Zealand CoastguardPatrolling NZ waters for civil affairs - customs clearance
Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE)Health and safety in ocean management
NZ Petroleum & MineralsManagement of approvals for oil, gas and minerals
Secondary Governing Bodies
Governing Office
Ministry for Culture and Heritage
New Zealand Defence Force
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Ministry of Health
Ministry of Justice
Land Information New Zealand
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
Ministry of Māori Development (Te Puni Kōkiri)

Note: Author created this data based on the NZ Ministry for the Environment Website.

Figure 1 Classification of Ocean Areas According to its Unique Domestic Law

The features of ocean policies in New Zealand from 2012 to 2013 mainly include the enactment of new laws regarding the development of the Exclusive Economic Zone and the continental shelf, and the administrative reform of the procedural system associated with them.

  1. *1The National Diet Library Research Navigation Website can be useful in searching for NZ judicial documents, etc. (last accessed on February 25, 2014).

Ocean Policies of Other Countries