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Environmental Protection Authority Bill introduced

Hon Dr Nick Smith

Minister for the Environment

16 November 2010
Media Statement
Environmental Protection Authority Bill introduced

New Zealand needs an effective Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) to provide efficient national level regulation of environmental issues, Environment Minister Nick Smith said today in introducing to Parliament a bill to create the new Crown Entity.

“The EPA is about providing stronger central government leadership on environmental issues,” Dr Smith said. “The existing framework is too devolved resulting in the same issues being relitigated across 78 local authorities. It is more efficient and effective for a small country of 4.3 million people to regulate some environmental issues nationally.

“The second objective of the new EPA is to give greater clarity to national environmental functions. The Government’s reforms are about the Ministry for the Environment being focused on policy, the EPA on administering regulations and the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment as the overall systems auditor. The EPA brings together under one roof regulatory functions currently administered by the Environment Ministry, the Ministry of Economic Development and the Environmental Risk Management Authority.

“The third rationale for the EPA is to ensure appropriate independence for regulatory functions from Ministers. New functions such as national consenting and the administration of the Emissions Trading Scheme are more appropriately done at arms-length from Government in an independent crown entity.”

The key regulatory features of the EPA will be:

• National consenting under the Resource Management Act (currently done by the EPA statutory office housed in MfE)
• Regulation of pesticides, fireworks, explosives and other hazardous substances (currently ERMA)
• Regulation of new and genetically modified organisms (currently ERMA)
• Administrative functions of the ETS, including register (currently MED)
• International obligations on hazardous waste (currently MED)
• Advice to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade regarding environmental assessments for Antarctica NZ (currently MfE)
• Advice and information on the development and implementation of National Environmental Standards (currently MfE)

“The introduction of this Bill to create a separate Environmental Protection Authority is consistent with National’s 2006 Bluegreen Vision for New Zealand and National’s 2008 Election Policy,” Dr Smith said. “It is an important step in strengthening the protection of our environment.”


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