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EPA Board members unlikely to protect the environment

EPA Establishment Board members unlikely to protect the environment

The former interests of members appointed to the Establishment Board for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) make them unsuitable candidates for the job, said the Green Party today.

"The Establishment Board will set the tone of the EPA and it is inappropriate for a former Chief Executive of Meridian Energy and the chair of the Environmental Risk Management Authority (ERMA) to be given this task," said Green Party spokesperson on the EPA, David Clendon.

Mr Clendon was responding to the announcement that the Establishment Board will consist of Dr Keith Turner, former Chief Executive of Meridian Energy, Richard Woods, Chair of the Environmental Risk Management Authority, Anake Goodall, retiring Chief Executive of Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu, and chairperson Kerry Prendergast, former Wellington mayor.

"Given the pro-development stance of this Government, the selection of development sceptics to the EPA is critical if the EPA is to have an actual environmental protection role. Unfortunately this seems unlikely," said Mr Clendon.

"Major power companies will no doubt have future applications heard by the EPA, which given a loyalty to the industry, could influence ex-Meridian CEO Dr Turner's choice of who might be suitable appointees."

Mr Clendon was also worried that the chair of ERMA would recommend the appointments of people who would seek to retain rather than change the ERMA culture of 'approve anything', regardless of scientific uncertainty, ethical issues, and economic risk.

"There is already doubt about how much independence the EPA will really have from the Minister, given its status as a crown entity," said Mr Clendon.

Minister for the Environment Nick Smith, has said the Establishment Board is tasked with beginning the recruitment process for the EPA's chief executive and to give consideration to appointments to and terms of reference for the Maori Advisory Committee and Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Committee.

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