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ERMA Board Appointments

The Mayor of Palmerston North, Jill White, has been appointed the new chair of the Environmental Risk Management Authority (ERMA), the Minister for the Environment, Marian Hobbs, announced today.

Ms White will take up the position from November 1, and will be joined by two new authority members  Tony Haggerty, the Hazardous Substances Adviser to the New Zealand Fire Service, and Ms Prudence Kapua, a partner with Walters and Williams law firm.

They replace the current Chair, Bill Falconer and Professor Barry Scott and Dr Terry Lomax whose terms expired on July 31.

"These three members have been working in a very challenging environment and we are very grateful for their contribution," Marian Hobbs said.

Ms Hobbs says the expiring terms of three members was a good opportunity to re-evaluate the balance of experience and knowledge on the authority, and to set it up well for its future work.
"ERMA’s work will change in early 2001 with the commencement of the hazardous substances part of the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996," she said. "As a result, the authority needs people with experience in that area of expertise."

ERMA will have less work related to genetic modification because of the voluntary moratorium in place until the Royal Commission on Genetic Modification completes its work.

The make-up of the new authority is crucial to its success, the Minister said. The new members include people with knowledge of Maori and community issues, in addition to knowledge of environmental law, and 'on the ground' expertise in dealing with hazardous substances.

"The mix of experience on the authority is encouraging," Marian Hobbs added. "We now have members from a wide range of fields and experience  from human health and environment, to industry and business, to community, to the sciences. I am confident that collectively they will make the right decisions about introducing hazardous substances and new organisms."

ERMA is an expert body established under the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act. Its primary purpose is to protect people from the risks of hazardous substances and new organisms by assessing, approving or declining applications to import or manufacture new organisms and hazardous substances.

In approving a hazardous substance, ERMA can set comprehensive controls on the use, handling, transport, storage and disposal of the substance  controls that everyone must abide by. The hazardous substances part of the Act is likely to commence early in the new year.

Biographies of the new members.

Ms. Jill White is currently the Mayor of Palmerston North City Council, having previously been a Member of Parliament for Manawatu and a Labour Party list MP. She has been the Labour spokesperson for Research, Science and Technology, Environment and Biosecurity and Crown Research Institutes. During her time in Parliament, she was a member of the select committee that considered the original HSNO Bill. Her early background and qualifications are in teaching and nursing and she holds qualifications in each of these areas as well as Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts degrees.

Mr. Tony Haggerty has been the Hazardous Substances Adviser to the NZ Fire Service on operational, training and fire safety matters for the past 21 years. He is currently a member of the Toxic Substances Board (which will be replaced by the HSNO Act) and chair of the Auckland Region Hazardous Substances Technical Liaison Committee. He has also chaired a number of committees relating to hazardous substances, including an industry-working group on the review of the HSNO Act hazardous substances regulations, and the New Zealand Standards Committees on Transport of Hazardous substances and Healthcare waste.

Ms. Prudence Kapua is a partner at Walters and Williams Barristers and Solicitors with a strong focus on environmental law. She was previously employed as a senior legal adviser at the Race Relations Office and as an executive legal assistant to Rt Hon Geoffrey Palmer providing advice about resource management and Treaty issues. She has been a member of two Government review task groups and is a member of a number of community and professional organisations and committees. Her Iwi affiliation is Te Arawa.

The new make-up of the Authority is as follows:


Skill area

Ms Jill White
Political representation
Local Government and community
Science and human health
Ms Prudence Kapua Environmental law
Maori and Treaty issues
Mr Tony Haggerty Hazardous substances
Emergency response
HSNO regulations knowledge
Dr Oliver Sutherland Zoology
Dr Lindie Nelson Economics
Resource management
Policy analysis
Mr John Maasland Management
Chemical Industry
Chair Civil Aviation Authority
Mrs Helen Hughes Plant ecology
Environmental issues
Professor Colin Mantell Medicine
Maori health

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