Policy and Regulatory Framework
The gas industry is subject to a range of Government policy measures, which are designed to ensure the development and delivery of gas in a safe, efficient, reliable and sustainable manner.
The New Zealand Energy Strategy 2011-2021 (NZES) details the Government’s overall policy aims for the energy sector, and confirms the development of New Zealand’s petroleum and minerals resources as a key element in wider economic growth objectives.
All aspects of the industry, from drilling exploratory wells, to its transportation and the installation of gas appliances in the home, are subject to a form of regulatory oversight. The governance regime involves a variety of regulatory bodies and continues to evolve. Identified issues are addressed through regulated and non-regulated solutions. Among the more significant recent developments for the industry was the introduction on 1 July 2013 of a new price-quality regime for gas transmission and distribution businesses, overseen by the economic regulator, the Commerce Commission.
The Gas Industry Company Limited (Gas Industry Co) was established in 2004 as the ‘industry body’ under Part 4A of the Gas Act 1992 (Gas Act). The Company’s role as the industry body and co-regulator is to:
- develop arrangements, including regulations where appropriate, which improve the operation of gas markets, access to infrastructure, and consumer outcomes;
- develop these arrangements with the principal objective to ensure that gas is delivered to existing and new customers in a safe, efficient, reliable, fair and environmentally sustainable manner; and
- oversee compliance with, and review such arrangements.
When recommending industry arrangements to the Minister of Energy and Resources, Gas Industry Co takes into account the objectives of the Gas Act and the 2008 Government Policy Statement on Gas Governance (GPS).
Gas safety requirements have been strengthened in recent years, through both generic and industry-specific health and safety regulation. This was primarily the responsibility of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) prior to the creation in 2013 of a new Crown Agency, WorkSafe New Zealand.