Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 

Striking The Environmental Balance

Compliance, monitoring and enforcement data just released by Waikato Regional Council for 2019/20 show that 21 environmental prosecutions were completed over 12 months, with 42 convictions against 23 polluters.

A total of $1.189 million in fines was imposed against those polluters by specialist judges who heard these cases around the Waikato region.

“Prosecutions for the really serious environmental incidents are important, but only form part of our overall compliance strategy,” said the council’s regional compliance manager Patrick Lynch.

“A large part of daily business for our council is to enable the community and businesses to utilise and interact with natural and physical resources – like using water from the Waikato River. But using those resources comes with obligations.

“There is a balance to be struck and we have to ensure people also operate within environmental limits,” Mr Lynch said.

“There are currently more than 11,400 resource consents across about 5000 sites in the Waikato, with 62 per cent of the monitored consents compliant last year. Non-compliance ranges in its seriousness, and for those found to be non-compliant a variety of actions will have been taken, including education. Sometimes, more than one action will be taken if initial directions are not heeded.”

Environmental compliance, enforcement and monitoring data for the last financial year also shows:

  • 134 abatement notices, 71 infringement notices, 6 enforcement orders and 305 formal warnings were issued
  • 820 of the region’s 4100-plus dairy farms were physically inspected
  • more than 1700 environmental incidents were reported by the public – all were assessed and responded to, with 570 physically attended by council staff.

“It is essential the community can rely on us to respond and take responsibility as the environmental and maritime safety regulator, and to encourage positive behaviour change through various enforcement tools if needed.”

In addition, regional council maritime officers interacted with more than 2500 people on coastal and inland waterways over the 2019/20 reporting period, with 86 infringements, 34 formal warnings and 72 verbal warnings.

Kathy White, Taupō constituency councillor and Environmental Performance Committee chair, said she was heartened by the results but concerned about the seemingly slow rate of behaviour change in some sectors.

“Council staff are working really hard and, as their governors, we continue to support them in their compliance, monitoring and enforcement work. We have a fantastic region, and we need to enjoy it sustainably and safely. But clearly there is still a way to go for some in our community to realise this,” Cr White said.

Read the latest compliance, monitoring and enforcement report card here: waikatoregion.govt.nz/investigation-and-enforcement.

Call the 24-hour freephone 0800 800 402 to report air, water or land pollution incidents, or maritime safety incidents, in the Waikato.

Background

The regional compliance section has recently been brought together to ensure Waikato Regional Council is in a strong position to meet the anticipated growth in regulatory commitments being introduced by central government. Central government is addressing national environmental issues through the introduction of national regulations, such as plantation forestry and, more recently, freshwater management.

The section comprises:

  • five investigators to formally look into very serious incidents
  • a 24-hour incident response service able to respond to environmental events
  • a team dedicated to monitoring farmers’ environmental activities
  • a regional harbourmaster and maritime officers working to ensure compliance with the region’s navigation safety bylaw to keep coastal and inland waterways safe for users.

This section works closely with other staff in the council’s regulatory team that monitor compliance with the many thousands of resource consents that are operative across the region.

“Though we have more regulatory obligations, we do not necessarily have more regional resources, so we have to be as efficient with our current resources as possible. Ensuring our compliance teams work closely together assists with that,” Mr Lynch said.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Mayor of Auckland: Alert Level Change Welcome News

Mayor Phil Goff says the government’s decision to move Auckland to Level 2 from 6am on Sunday will be welcome news for all Aucklanders.
“Moving strongly and quickly to contain this outbreak has once again proved effective in stopping the spread of community transmission and I thank all the Aucklanders who have followed the rules of Level 3 over the past week,” he says... More>>


 


Earthquakes: Tsunami Activity – Cancelled

The National Advisory issued at 2:48pm following this morning's earthquakes near the KERMADEC ISLANDS REGION is cancelled.
The advice from GNS Science, based on ocean observations, is that the Beach and Marine threat has now passed for all areas... More>>

Joint Press Release: Dirty PR Exposed In Whale Oil Defamation Trial

Three public health advocates are relieved that their long-standing Whale Oil defamation trial against Cameron Slater, Carrick Graham, Katherine Rich and the Food and Grocery Council has finally concluded and they are pleased that the truth has come out... More>>

ALSO:


Government: Next Stage Of COVID-19 Support For Business And Workers

The Government has confirmed details of COVID-19 support for business and workers following the increased alert levels due to a resurgence of the virus over the weekend... More>>

ALSO:


Government: Balanced Economic Approach Reflected In Crown Accounts

New Zealand’s economic recovery has again been reflected in the Government’s books, which are in better shape than expected.
The Crown accounts for the seven months to the end of January 2021 were better than forecast in the Half Year Economic and Fiscal Update (HYEFU)... More>>


Covid-19: Auckland Back To Alert Level Three After One New Community Case Revealed

Auckland will move to alert level three for a week at 6am tomorrow morning after two new Covid-19 community cases announced this evening could not be directly linked to earlier cases, the Prime Minister has confirmed.
The rest of the country will move to level two.... More>>

NZ Initiative: New Report Highlights How Our Housing Crisis Could Worsen If We Don’t Act Now

If New Zealand politicians thought the housing crisis in 2020 was bad, the worst is yet to come, warns a new report by The New Zealand Initiative. In The Need to Build: The demographic drivers of housing demand , Research Assistant Leonard Hong ... More>>

Parliament: Kiwi MPs Among The “Most Educated In The World”

New analysis of MP qualifications reveals New Zealand’s Parliament is one of the most educated and highest qualified in the world, and significantly more educated than Australia’s. The research, by Mark Blackham of BlacklandPR and Geoffrey Miller ... More>>

 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels