The role of the EPA
What we do at the EPA has an impact on the everyday lives of all New Zealanders. We are one of the government agencies responsible for regulating activities that affect New Zealand's environment.
We’re excited to be taking part in Fieldays, and looking forward to learning more about the innovations happening in the agricultural sector that will help achieve a sustainable and prosperous future.
What we do
Our role involves carefully balancing environmental, safety, economic, and cultural factors to protect our way of life now and in the future.
We work in a number of areas including:
- making decisions about whether or not to approve hazardous substances including pesticides, dangerous goods, and household chemicals, and setting rules relating to their use
- making decisions on approvals for new organisms (living things that are new to New Zealand), and overseeing the monitoring of approvals
- administering the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme and Register, which contributes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions
- regulating mining, discharge and dumping activities in the Exclusive Economic Zone and the Continental Shelf, a mapped area of ocean that starts 12 nautical miles out from New Zealand's coast
- administering Nationally Significant Proposals (under the Resource Management Act 1991), and fast-track consenting (under the COVID-19 Recovery Act 2020).
Being proactive about environmental protection
As part of being a proactive regulator, we have recently increased our capability in compliance and streamlined our regulatory processes.
We’re also placing greater emphasis on engaging all New Zealanders in the work of environmental stewardship. One example of this is our Wai Tūwhera o te Taiao - Open Waters programme, which provides environmental DNA (eDNA) sampling kits to community groups wanting to protect and learn more about their local waterway.
This year, we’re proud to be sponsoring the Change Maker category of the Sustainable Business Awards. This award acknowledges young people who are enabling and inspiring others to make positive and enduring change.
You can find out more about how to nominate someone for the Change Maker Award, and the role of eDNA sampling in environmental protection, on our website and at our Fieldays stand.
Working together for a sustainable future
As we approach our 10-year anniversary this July, we are looking ahead – thinking about the changes that we can make today to safeguard the environment for future generations.
Our success increasingly relies on connecting with New Zealanders - customers, stakeholders, and the general public - about the need to protect and enhance our unique environment. We’d love to hear what you want the Aotearoa New Zealand of tomorrow to look like - and how we can work together to get there.
Join us at the EPA Sharing Shed for a free haircut in exchange for a conversation about what’s important to you when it comes to environmental protection. Come and kōrero with us!
Changes to the Emissions Trading Scheme
Find out how changes to the ETS – including auctioning of New Zealand Units, publication of participants’ data, and new penalties - may affect you.
Call for information on glyphosate
We are seeking information – including from industry and the public - about the manufacture, importation, and patterns of use of glyphosate in NZ.
New era in chemical management
New Zealand is now using the Globally Harmonised System (GHS 7), an internationally agreed way of classifying chemicals.
Our Mātauranga Framework helps our decision-makers understand, test and probe mātauranga when it is presented in evidence.
Learning about local ecosystems through eDNA
Community groups across NZ have been taking environmental DNA (eDNA) samples from local waterways to discover what species are present
Resource Management Act enforcement powers
We now have statutory power to assist in an enforcement action of a local council, and if necessary directly enforce the requirements of the RMA.
We want to give voice to as diverse a range of New Zealanders as possible. Find out about some of the ways that you can be involved.
Applications and permits
From road building projects to microorganism migration and chemical imports, make sure you’re talking to the right people and have the right form.
You can comment on any of the public proposals we manage. Find out about submission processes that are open, in progress and coming up.
Seeking NZ’s next sustainability champion
The EPA is proud to sponsor this year’s Change Maker category of the Sustainable Business Awards. Nominees must be aged 30 years or under.