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ERMA review

ERMA review

A former chief executive of Environment Waikato and Hutt Valley Health Ltd Graeme Nahkies has been appointed to review some of the Environmental Risk Management Authority's operations, Environment Minister Marian Hobbs announced today.

Mr Nahkies, a director of BoardWorks International which specialises in governance effectiveness, will be supported by Emeritus Professor Margaret Loutit of Dunedin and Professor Sissel Rogne of Norway. Professor Loutit is a renowned microbiologist and Professor Rogne heads the Norwegian Biotechnology Council.

The review of certain aspects of ERMA's operations was agreed as part of the co-operation agreement between the government and the Green Party. The review will concentrate on ERMA's work with new organisms rather than hazardous substances.

"ERMA plays a vital role in promoting and protecting the health and safety of New Zealanders," Marian Hobbs said. "In the wake of the Royal Commission on Genetic Modification and the the government's decisions in response, it is important that we ensure ERMA has the capacity and capability to meet the demands placed on it by the HSNO Act, particularly for new organisms."

The review is to be completed by mid-March 2003.

The Terms of Reference are attached.

ERMA REVIEW Terms Of Reference

The review will focus on the quality and appropriateness of the operating and management systems and the capacity and capability of the Environmental Risk Management Authority (including ERMA New Zealand) to carry out the purpose and tasks prescribed for it in the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act, in particular for new organisms. The purpose is dealt with in Part II of the Act. The tasks include assessment and approvals of new organisms, monitoring, inspection, compliance and enforcement provisions of the Act and promotion of public awareness of issues related to the HSNO Act.

In particular the reviewers will consider:

The suitability of the qualifications and experience of the staff of ERMA NZ to provide guidance and advice to the Authority in connection with new organisms; The suitability of the qualifications and experience of the members of the Authority to make the decisions required of it with regard to new organisms; The appropriateness of the organisational and management structure of ERMA NZ; The methodology used by the Authority and ERMA NZ to undertake its tasks including how it implements key concepts in the HSNO Act, how it approaches risk management issues and how it weighs up information of different types and from different sources; The effectiveness of relationships with other relevant government departments agencies and key stakeholders.

The reviewers may also look into other aspects of the operations of ERMA as is deemed necessary to meet these terms of reference.

Personnel

A panel of independent reviewers, one of which will be the chief reviewer, appointed by the Minister for the Environment after consultation with the Green Party, will undertake the review. The reviewers will have an understanding of organisational and risk management and the scientific and technical aspects of the management of new organisms. The reviewers may consult whomever they think fit to fulfil the terms of reference above, including the contracting of expert scientific or technical advice.

The Ministry for the Environment will provide logistical and organisational support to the reviewers.

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