Annual Report 2016
Country Reports


Craig Stevens University of Auckland


The NZ Government has the goal of 90% renewable electricity supply by 2025. Beyond this, the Government’s overarching goal is to grow New Zealand’s economy and deliver greater prosperity, security and opportunities for all New Zealanders. The Government has set four key priorities in this regard, with the Government’s principal economic goal, and second key priority, being to build a more competitive and productive economy:

  • The 2011-2021 NZ Energy Strategy places priority on diverse resource development, with particular focus on adoption of new renewable energy technologies under which, inter alia, the Government has a role in encouraging the swift uptake of these technologies in New Zealand and supporting the deployment of home grown energy technologies domestically and overseas.
  • Commercialisation and deployment of marine energy will help meet the goal of 90% renewable electricity supply by 2025.
  • The Government’s Foreign Investment Policy encourages permitted Greenfields investment.
  • New Zealand Aid Programme Strategic Plan 2012-2015 focuses on sustainable economic development in the Pacific, and a more targeted approach in Asia with renewable energy as a key enabler.

The NZ Environmental Protection Authority handles applications for marine activity offshore of the 12 nm limit under the Resource Management Act. A recent landmark case for resource exploitation went against the applicants serving notice on the high levels of certainty required around impacts (e.g. Inshore of 12 nm exploitation applications are heard by regional authorities.

There are limited opportunities for funding specifically for marine renewable energies since the closure of the Marine Energy Deployment Fund in 2012. The energy portfolio in the Government R&D funding ministry MBIE (Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment) has in the past funded wave energy device development projects and tidal array resource and design projects. A recent project funded by the investigator-led Marsden Fund on large array scaling and design has now come to a close (P.I. Ross Vennell, Univ. Otago).

The 2015 National Statement on Science Investment ( laid the foundation for a number of implementing activities in 2016 including the launch of the “new” Endeavour Fund. This funding instrument would accept proposals regarding development of marine energy initiatives in a range of “mission-led” configurations. The vision for 2025 will be supported by two main pillars or areas of focus where Government will concentrate its activity. These are impact and excellence.

It is vital that all parts of the system continue to strive for greater excellence and impact in the science undertaken, with our science being of the highest quality possible and most public investment having a clear line of sight to eventual impact.

A focus on impact does not mean a focus solely on close-to-market or end-user-driven research. Scientific discovery challenges, as well as supports, existing industries and practices, and both roles must be developed in a balanced way.

The new Sustainable Seas National Science Challenge ( aims to enhance use of New Zealand’s vast marine resources, while ensuring that our marine environment is understood, cared for, and used wisely for the benefit of all, now and in the future. This requires a new way of managing the many uses of our marine resources that combines the aspirations and experience of Māori, communities, and industry with the evidence of scientific research to transform New Zealand into a world leader in sustainable marine economic development. In 2016, the Challenge launched two calls for proposals with a partial focus on Blue Economy.