Labour is calling on the Government to compromise over controversial legislation regulating deep sea oil drilling and mining to ensure a "durable" regime that will encourage investment to develop those resources.
The Government's Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf (Environmental Effects) Bill was reported back to the House last month.
The legislation will regulate oil, gas and mineral exploration and extraction along with other activities taking place in New Zealand's vast but currently unregulated Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), which lies between 12 and 200 nautical miles off the coast.
Parliament's local government and environment committee was unable to agree that the bill should be passed, with Labour, the Greens, and NZ First all saying it lacked sufficient environmental protections and was not consistent with New Zealand's international treaty obligations.
With Act's John Banks and United Future's Peter Dunne backing the legislation, the Government will be able to pass the bill anyway with a majority of one vote.
But while Environment Minister Amy Adams yesterday said the legislation "provides certainty for industry on the regulatory processes that may affect investments", Labour's deputy leader, Grant Robertson, said his party was almost certain to make significant changes to the law when it got back into Government.
"Labour has always said we're not saying no to any kind of activity in the EEZ but we believe it should only happen on terms that New Zealanders are comfortable with and I don't think the bill meets that at the moment."
Mr Robertson said that given the major financial commitment required both to develop deep sea resources and to monitor such activities for their environmental effects, a stable long-term regulatory regime was required.
Environmental and industry groups wanted legislation that would survive a change in Government.
"It can be expensive for everybody if it is not durable so I would have thought the Government would have wanted more than just slipping this through by one vote ... I would really hope that National would listen to some of the concerns."
Labour hoped those concerns would be addressed by individual amendments at the committee stage.
Ms Adams said she had indicated to the Opposition she was happy to meet them "to see if there are aspects of the bill where we can ... find agreement".
The Opposition says the EEZ bill:
* Doesn't protect the environment as required by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
* Should be consistent with the Resource Management Act but isn't.
* Makes it unduly difficult to challenge applications to drill or mine in deep water.
* Unfairly denies right to appeal against decisions in the Environment Court.