Changes to the Resource Management Act which allow the EPA to provide greater support to local councils in RMA enforcement actions come into effect today.
The Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) is New Zealand’s main piece of legislation that sets out how we should manage our environment. Most decisions on resource management are made by local government (councils).
The Chief Executive of the Environmental Protection Authority, Dr Allan Freeth, says “The EPA now has the statutory power to assist in an enforcement action taken by a local council, and if necessary directly enforce the requirements of the RMA. It will always be our intention to work in partnership with local authorities.
“These changes allow the EPA to complement local authority compliance, monitoring and enforcement functions. For example, this could mean interviewing witnesses in relation to an incident; peer reviewing investigation files; or supporting councils in their enforcement decision making.
“These powers will enable the EPA to build stronger partnerships with local government, and support an increase in compliance, monitoring and enforcement activities under the RMA.”
Councils can request our support in investigating non-compliance with the RMA.
It is also possible for individuals to raise concerns with us, although they should contact their local council in the first instance.