Regional Sector takes stronger enforcement position to protect the environment and communities


The fourth annual report on the activities of New Zealand’s environmental first responders and enforcement officers shows a trend toward stronger regulation by the Regional Sector and a larger, more-supported workforce operating in these critical roles.

Regional councils and unitary authorities manage over 280,000 active consents relating to the environment. These require regular monitoring to ensure that various conditions are being met.

64,122 inspections during 2020-21 found fewer than 5% of consent holders to be ‘significantly non-compliant’. Regional Councils received calls about almost 30,000 potential pollution incidents and responded to 99% of these.

The report also highlights a significant 71 prosecutions in progress, plus over 5000 abatement notices and 2150 infringement notices issued in the past year.

For the worst offenders, regional councils received decisions from the courts relating to 95 cases, and received a total of nearly $5.2 million in fines, which offset some of the costs of regulation activities.

The annual report is commissioned to assess the performance of the regional sector’s compliance, monitoring and enforcement workforce in relation to the Resource Management Act, and is used by the Regional Sector to inform positive change and ensure that positive environmental outcomes are being delivered.