Randerson Report – Contaminated land


Author: Alex Booker – Contaminated Sites Knowledge Hub Leader

This article highlights features of the Randerson Report that relate to contaminated land.


Under the Resource Management Act 1991 the responsibility for dealing with contaminated land is shared by regional and territorial authorities.

The responsibility of identifying and monitoring contaminated land sits with regional authorities. Territorial authorities are responsible for management of land use to prevent or mitigate adverse effects.

The Ministry for the Environment created a National Environmental Standard and guidelines to assist in the management of contaminated land. Regional and territorial authorities must give effect to the National Environmental Standard for Assessing and Managing Contaminants in Soil to Protect Human Health (NES-CS) and ensure compliance with it.

Randerson Report

The Randerson Report (the Report) refers to the concern of some submitters about the uncertainty surrounding the dual roles and suggests a new planning framework could eliminate some of the ambiguity.

Three options are proposed, with the third option preferred:

Option 1 – Functions determined by combined plans

  • Plan-led allocation of functions
  • Primary responsibility for most functions would be assigned to regional council with further allocation to be determined through the Regional Policy Statement

Option 2 – Split functions between natural and built environments:

  • Regional councils to take primary responsibility for all elements of the natural environment
  • District councils to take primary responsibility for all elements of the urban environment
  • Infrastructure would be an exception. Both councils would need to have responsibilities to ensure integration with land use planning

Option 3 – Rationalisation of the roles (preferred option)

  • Focus on minimising duplication and overlapping functions and to provide greater clarity about division between policy setting and implementation responsibilities

The Report states that National Environmental Standards (NES) are to be retained. The Report comments that the current focus of NES-CS is on health and safety rather than environmental impacts.

It seems likely that the NES-CS will be reviewed and broadened to incorporate environmental impacts if the Report recommendations are accepted.