Compliance, Monitoring and Enforcement Metrics
Nelson City Council has adequate resources in place to meet Resource Management Act compliance requirements, according to a report into local government regional sector compliance monitoring and enforcement (CME).
The report, which was commissioned by the Compliance and Enforcement Special Interest Group of the Regional Sector Group (unitary and regional councils), represents a comprehensive review of CME activities under the Resource Management Act. Dr. Marie Brown from the Catalyst Group prepared the report.
The report provides a regional snapshot of each council and notes that Nelson City Council has adequate resources in place to meet compliance requirements. It does not mention the Council’s successful $90,000 prosecution in the Environment Court last year for stream contamination from sediment.
Group Manager Environmental Management Clare Barton says that Nelson City Council welcomes the report as it highlights the challenges facing councils working in the Compliance, Enforcement and Monitoring space.
“The compliance process is a continuum from working with people to effect change through ultimately to prosecution. It should be a stepped process," says Ms. Barton.
“Management of that process is critical and one that Nelson City Council takes seriously.”
Delegation sits with Ms. Barton for prosecutions and enforcement orders; fines and abatement notices are issued at officer level.
Ms. Barton says that one of the issues for Nelson City Council is that its current systems don’t capture monitoring and compliance data in sufficient detail. “We are looking at ways of developing systems to deal with this.”
Nelson City Council has a proactive programme around stormwater management and discharges and has a Compliance Strategy that includes an enforcement policy/approach.
The Council acknowledges the importance of monitoring and has recently invested in an additional staff resource to increase permitted activity monitoring.
The report highlights that unitary authorities tend to have competing demands between regional council and territorial authority functions. That argument also applies to wholly regional councils which still make decisions about priorities on a day-to-day basis.
“Decisions are made commensurate with the scale of the issue and the level of risk,” says Ms. Barton. “Council is actively engaging with the Compliance and Enforcement Special Interest Group to ensure our practices are in accordance with best practice.”