The EPA was established under the Environmental Protection Authority Act 2011.

In May 2011, the Environmental Protection Authority Act was passed by Parliament. As of 1 July 2011 the EPA became a standalone crown agent. The new authority streamlines and strengthens national environmental regulatory functions that were spread across Government.

Resource Management Act

EPA functions

Part 4A of the Act describes the EPA's functions under the Act. Part 6AA contains detail around what matters can be lodged with the EPA, powers for the EPA to request further information and commission reports and timeframes for the EPA to make its recommendation to the Minister.

Nationally significant factors and direction

Part 6AA also gives examples of the factors that the Minister may consider when determining the 'national significance' of a matter, and processes following the Minister's direction on whether to refer a matter to a board of inquiry or the Environment Court.

Appointing the board of inquiry

If the Minister directs a matter to a board of inquiry, sections 149J-149S of the RMA set out how a board is appointed, its power, functions and responsibilities in making a decision on the matter.

Environment Court

Sections 149T-149U govern the decision making process where a matter is referred to the Environment Court.


Section 149V sets out how the final decision of a board of inquiry or the Environment Court can be appealed.