New Zealand’s government has tabled a legislative change to give effect to its controversial decision earlier this year to end the issuing of new offshore exploration permits.

It is understood the legislative change will protect the Labour-led government from potential legal challenges given the question marks raised around the legality of the government’s unexpected and abrupt decision in April.

There have been suggestions the government’s decision process at that time did not observe the Crown Minerals Act and did not emphasise the economic efficiency grounds as the basis for its decision.