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EPA Bill passes first reading unanimously

Hon Dr Nick Smith

Minister for the Environment

24 November 2010

Media Statement

EPA Bill passes first reading unanimously

Environment Minister Nick Smith today welcomed the unanimous support of Parliament for the first reading of the Environment Protection Authority Bill.

“New Zealand needs an effective Environment Protection Authority to strengthen and improve our environmental management,” Dr Smith said. “This reform is about providing stronger central Government direction on environmental regulation, better efficiency and cost effectiveness and improving the integrity of systems by delegating administration of regulatory functions to an independent Crown entity.

“The genesis of the EPA came from the Bluegreens in the 2006 discussion paper that received strong public support and was then included in National’s 2008 election policy. That no parties opposed the Bill at first reading is encouraging because broad support of Parliament will be needed for the new Authority to work in the long term.”

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)

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“This Bill builds on the work of the first phase of RMA reforms that created a notional EPA within the Ministry for the Environment for undertaking national consenting functions,” Dr Smith said. “This second phase reform follows detailed work on the broader role and functions of the new Authority.

“The Bill has been referred to the Local Government Select Committee for report back by 28 March 2011. While I acknowledge this timetable is tight, it is necessary to ensure a smooth transition to the new Authority on 1 July 2011.”


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