The Environmental Protection Authority’s (EPA) latest Annual Report shows the organisation is looking ahead to have a proactive role, with a focus on compliance and engagement.
Chief Executive Allan Freeth says over the past year the EPA has strengthened its capability in compliance, monitoring and enforcement, and shifted its structure to bring these functions into a single, highly skilled and focused group.
It has continued its work to engage with all New Zealanders, and developed its mātauranga framework, which seeks to weave Māori knowledge and perspectives into decision making.
Dr Freeth says the goal is to fulfil its stewardship role as New Zealand’s EPA, and it is seeking to define “what lines should not be crossed” in issues and activities related to the environment.
“Preserving what we have, and preventing damage to it, underlies our compliance and protection work. This goes beyond just watching the game. The EPA is an active participant, not a side-line bystander.
“Our success increasingly rests on engaging with customers, stakeholders, industry, citizens and critics about the need to recognise, protect, and enhance New Zealand’s unique environment.”
Dr Freeth says over the coming year the EPA will continue to develop its “proactive regulator” strategy and seek to involve more New Zealanders in its work.
“Of course we will continue to consider risk, scientific evidence, and mātauranga to help guide our decisions.
“But, if pushed, we have concluded that the best guidance may be a precautionary approach. It is better to be cautious, to pause and reflect rather than to allow activities that cannot be undone in the future.”
The Annual Report has leadership reports that give details about the EPA’s work in compliance, engagement, Māori policy, science and operations. It also has case studies that give a glimpse into the work of EPA staff.