EPA turns 10 with an ambitious eye to the future
30 June 2021
New Zealand’s environmental regulator is marking a decade since its creation by looking far, far ahead in time.
The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) came into being on 1 July 2011. Its responsibilities cover hazardous substances and new organisms, activities in the waters around New Zealand, climate change, and resource management.
“There’s not much our work doesn’t touch; it extends from the ozone layer, to the seabed, and right across the land. What we do at the EPA has an impact on the everyday lives of all New Zealanders. Our role involves carefully balancing environmental, safety, economic, and cultural factors to protect our way of life now and in the future,” says the EPA’s Chief Executive, Dr Allan Freeth.
In the past decade, there have been more than 6,000 applications made to our hazardous substances and new organisms group. There have been 81 applications for activities in the Exclusive Economic Zone, and participants in the Emissions Trading Scheme have transferred 1.3 billion units on our watch.
More than 700 staff have contributed to the EPA’s success in the past decade, and the current staffing of about 200 includes some of the country’s sharpest scientific minds.
“These people have worked on topics as varied as 1080, genomic sequencing, and climate change. I am grateful to our staff for their mahi on some of the most complex challenges of our time.”
As well as looking back, the EPA is also looking ahead as a proactive regulator.
“We are building a strategy for the next 3, 30 and 300 years; thinking about the changes that we can make today to safeguard the environment for future generations,” says Dr Freeth.
“This vision is about maximising our mandate to protect the environment and New Zealand's ecological systems and treasures.
“We’re also placing greater emphasis on engaging all New Zealanders in the work of environmental stewardship. Our success increasingly relies on connecting with industry, iwi, community groups, and the general public, about how we can work together and the role we all have to play in protecting our environment.”