Tuesday, March 10, 2020


Newsroom reports an astounding fact about the Environmental Protection Authority: it has never brought a prosecution in its nine-year history:

The Environmental Protection Authority has never undertaken a prosecution.


It's to-date unused prosecution policy explains the EPA has enforcement responsibilities under the Climate Change Response Act, the Imports and Exports Act, the Ozone Layer Protection Act, the Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf Act and the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act.

Through an Official Information Act request lodged in December and extended twice by the authority, Newsroom learnt it has never undertaken a single prosecution.

It has also issued only two abatement notices. Information on past investigations is reportedly unavailable due to poor record-keeping, but we can expect that to be low as well. Which in a sense, is unsurprising: despite its name, the EPA's functions do not actually include protecting the environment. Instead, it was established to remove such protections and rubberstamp development.

And obviously, this isn't good enough. Kiwis expect our environment to be protected, and the EPA is the body we expect to do it. It needs to start doing that job, and holding polluters to account.