A New Direction for Environmental Issues

Monday August 17, 2015

The Minister for the Environment, Nick Smith announced last week a new direction for environmental issues and revealed new National Policy Statements (NPS), National Environmental Standards (NES) and regulations. 

The ‘new direction’ from the government includes the release of the new guide on implementing the NPS for Freshwater Management 2014.  Although the guide has no official status, it will help communities and councils apply the NPS, and make consistent and comprehensive decisions about freshwater resources. 

Nick Smith also announced that NPSs are being considered for urban development, aquaculture, biodiversity and natural hazards.  When referring to the NPS for natural hazards, Nick Smith stated that “New Zealand is a young, rugged nation with more than our fair share of risks from earthquakes, floods, volcanoes…we want to strengthen New Zealand’s system for managing those risks.”  These NPSs are still in their early stages but will help to improve and streamline the RMA policy framework.  

Currently, the government is also preparing and consulting on NESs for telecommunication facilities, plantation forestry, pest control, air quality and contaminated soils. 

This ‘new direction’ is part of the National Party’s ‘Bluegreen Approach’ to marry good economic and environmental policy and to reconcile the environmental and industry sectors.  We won’t see the completion of some of these NESs and NPSs until 2016, but we now have a clear direction as to where environmental and RMA policy is heading. 

For more information on the proposed NPSs, NESs and the government’s RMA policy plans click the link below to the National Party’s website. 


This article was written by Alex Godinet, Solicitor, Holland Beckett.