Chapter 1: Purpose of this consultation

Why we are consulting?

Aotearoa New Zealand has considerable renewable energy potential within the territorial sea (up to 12 nautical miles) and exclusive economic zone (between 12 and 200 nautical miles).

What is offshore renewable energy?

Offshore renewable energy refers to any type of infrastructure placed in or on the sea, and that generates energy from wind, ocean currents, light or heat from the sun, rain, and geothermal heat. These sources are abundant, natural, and clean. 

The technologies used to harness these sources of energy are at different stages of development.

offshore renewable energy technologies

Source: European Commission

Offshore renewable energy can involve large-scale, multi-year infrastructure projects. Offshore wind, for example, combines the scale of large hydro and the complexity of offshore petroleum
extraction, making it different from onshore renewables. Developing an offshore renewable energy industry in a new market such as Aotearoa New Zealand therefore requires a careful approach that considers economic, cultural, environmental, and social criteria.

The Government’s first Emissions Reduction Plan committed to developing regulatory settings by 2024 to enable investment in offshore renewable energy and innovation.

Chapter 11 Energy and Industry of Aotearoa New Zealand’s first emissions reduction plan(external link) — Ministry for the Environment

The scope of this discussion document 

Regulatory proposals are focused on the initial feasibility stage of development

There are generally 4 broad stages to offshore renewable energy infrastructure developments: feasibility, construction, operation and maintenance, and decommissioning.

The proposals in this document concern the early stage of exploring the feasibility of offshore renewable energy projects. The purpose of the feasibility stage for a developer is to determine the appropriate scale and location of infrastructure. Data gathered during this stage would inform the development of appropriate consents and any other permission to construct and operate.

While the proposals in this discussion document apply to all offshore renewable energy generation, we specifically use the example of offshore wind, since this technology is the most
advanced, and because experienced developers have expressed interest in establishing offshore wind energy in Aotearoa New Zealand’s waters.

Our engagement with Te Tiriti o Waitangi partners

To inform this discussion document, the Government has conducted preliminary engagement with iwi from the regions that offshore wind energy developers are currently exploring, namely
Waikato, Taranaki and Southland. Chapter 5 reflects insights from these initial conversations.

This engagement will continue through the public consultation of this discussion document and will remain ongoing.

Have your say

You have an opportunity to tell us what you think of the proposals by providing feedback on the matters raised in this discussion document. You are welcome to make submissions on some or
all of the discussion questions set out in this document, and/or to raise any other relevant points.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) invites written comments on the proposals in this document. Please provide relevant facts, figures, data, examples and
documents where possible to support your views. Please also include your name and (if applicable) the name of your organisation in your submission.

You can make a submission by:

  • emailing your submission to
  • mailing your submission to:
    • Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment
      15 Stout Street
      PO Box 1473, Wellington 6140
      Attention: Offshore Renewable Energy Submissions

A submission template has been provided to respond to the questions in this discussion document. You can find this template at: 

Have your say: Enabling investment in offshore renewable energy

Submissions are due on or before 14 April 2023.

Use of information

The information provided in submissions will be used to inform MBIE’s policy development process, and will inform advice to Ministers.

We may contact submitters directly if we require clarification of any matters in submissions.

MBIE will publish a summary of submissions

After submissions close, MBIE will publish a summary of submissions on our website at We will not be making any individual submissions public. Should any part of
your submission be included in the summary of submissions, MBIE will seek your permission to publish your information, and ensure it does not refer to any names of individuals.

When businesses or organisations make a submission, MBIE will consider that you have consented to the content being included in the summary of submissions unless you clearly state otherwise. 

If your submission contains any information that is confidential or you otherwise wish us not to publish, please:

  • indicate this on the front of the submission, with any confidential information clearly marked within the text
  • provide a separate version excluding the relevant information for publication on our website.

Submissions may be the subject of requests for information under the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA). Please set out clearly if you object to the release of any information in the submission, and in particular, which part (or parts) you consider should be withheld (with reference to the relevant section of the OIA). MBIE will take your views into account when responding to requests under the OIA. Any decision to withhold information requested under the OIA can be reviewed by the Ombudsman. 

Privacy Act 2020 applies to all submissions and survey responses

The Privacy Act 2020 applies to submissions and survey responses. Any personal information you supply to MBIE in the course of making a submission will only be used for the purpose of assisting in the development of policy advice in relation to this review. 

Please clearly indicate in the cover letter or e-mail accompanying your submission if you do not wish your name, or any other personal information, to be included in any summary of submissions that MBIE may publish.

What happens next

MBIE will analyse all submissions received and then report back to the Minister of Energy and Resources on the feedback, with recommendations for her consideration. Your submission will
help inform policy decisions to develop a responsible offshore renewable energy industry in Aotearoa New Zealand.

A second discussion document in 2023 is expected to canvas further elements of required regulatory settings such as how best to manage the construction, operation, and decommissioning phases of offshore renewable infrastructure. 

Any regulatory changes would require either regulations made under an existing Act of Parliament, or a new Act. The Government remains committed to establishing fit for purpose
regulatory settings by 2024. Where it is feasible and desirable to do so, the Government will implement these settings sooner.

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