An interesting coverage in Stuff.
Does anybody know more information about the recommendation by the
Commission? I would be grateful to know.
New Zealand is on the brink of a territorial bonanza, with officials
expecting word from the United Nations in New York on New Zealand's
claim to 1.6 million square kilometres of continental shelf.
New Zealand is set to gain jurisdiction over an area of seabed six
times the size of its landmass, giving it control of potentially
enormous mineral resources that lie on or under the seabed beyond its
200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone.
It includes a large area in the Tasman called Lord Howe Rise, a block
extending north into the Pacific Ocean toward Tonga and Fiji, an area
skirting the Chatham Rise to the east and additional areas to the far
Foreign Affairs Ministry legal adviser Gerard van Bohemen said the UN
Law of the Sea commission was believed to have made its decision last
week and the ministry expected to hear any day.
The claim was lodged two years ago after a 10-year $44 million
research project to work out the limits of the shelf.
Even with a favourable ruling from the commission, agreements on New
Zealand shelf boundaries still have to be reached with Fiji and Tonga.
Undersea boundaries in the Tasman Sea and the southern oceans were
agreed with Australia four years ago.
GNS Science ocean exploration chief Ray Wood believed that securing
the shelf would be a huge benefit for New Zealand in the long run.
There could be large oil deposits on the Lord Howe and Chatham rises,
gold and other valuable mineral deposits on the Three Kings Ridge to
the north of New Zealand, and manganese nodules worth billions in the
southern parts of the shelf. "The real challenge for us now is to work
out what we have and how we use it in the future."
More research was needed to identify resources that could be important
to New Zealand.
Centre for Strategic Studies director Peter Cozens said securing the
continental shelf would be the biggest gain since 1978 when New
Zealand won the right to control its 200-mile exclusive economic zone.
It offered fantastic potential, but it again showed the urgent need
for New Zealand to develop an oceans policy detailing management and
protection of the sea and its resources.
LAW OF THE SEA
* What is New Zealand's continental shelf claim?
A claim under the law of the sea for 1.6 million square kilometres of
This is in addition to the four- million-square-kilometre exclusive
economic zone around the coast of New Zealand and its outer islands.
* Why is it being claimed?
New Zealand argues the shelf is an extension of the New Zealand land mass.
* What is its value?
Uncertain but potentially huge oil and mineral reserves.
I Made Andi Arsana
Geodesy and Geomatics, Gadjah Mada University, INDONESIA
An Australian Leadership Award Scholar (PhD Candidate)
Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security (ANCORS)
University of Wollongong, AUSTRALIA
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