Enforcement and compliance

We carry out a wide range of compliance activities to protect people and the environment – from raising public awareness through to prosecuting serious breaches of the law.

The EPA has compliance and enforcement responsibilities with respect to the following Acts:

  • The Climate Change Response Act 2002
  • The Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996
  • The Ozone Layer Protection Act 1996
  • The Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf (Environmental Effects) Act 2012.

We have a role to play in removing barriers to compliance that some people and businesses face. We use a range of tools to educate, help, encourage and require compliance. The guidance in He Whetū Mārama facilitates the effective and appropriate relationship with Māori over compliance.

EPA Regulatory Compliance Policy (PDF, 267KB)

Our approach to compliance is based on the following principles:

  • Compliance activity is proportionate to risk, and to the attitude and behaviour of each person or business.
  • We act consistently with the law, international obligations, and in the public interest.
  • We use accurate and reliable information and evidence.
  • We are fair and impartial.
  • We are responsive to those we regulate, and innovative.
  • Our regulations and activity are cost effective for both the EPA and operators.

Our enforcement and compliance plans and programmes

Hazardous Substances and OLPA Compliance Plan 2019/20 (PDF, 129KB)

Exclusive Economic Zone Compliance and Enforcement Programme​ (PDF, 354KB)

Exclusive Economic Zone Act Compliance Plan 2019/20 (PDF, 205KB)

Emissions Trading Scheme Compliance and Enforcement Programme (PDF, 436KB)

Climate Change Response Act - Emissions Trading Scheme Compliance Plan 2019/20 (PDF, 342KB)

Compliance, Monitoring and Enforcement Work Program 2020-21 (PDF, 442KB)

EPA Proactive Regulation: Compliance, monitoring and enforcement (PDF, 118KB)

EPA Prosecution Policy Plus

This document sets out the EPA's prosecution policy.

The purpose of the policy is to set out the guidelines and standards to be followed by EPA staff when deciding whether to prosecute, and in conducting prosecutions.

The prosecution policy is based on the Crown Law Solicitor-General’s Prosecution Guidelines, published 1 July 2013. These guidelines are included as Appendix 1.

EPA Prosecution Policy (pdf 320 KB)

Appendix 1: Crown Law Solicitor-General’s Prosecution Guidelines (pdf 306KB)

Technical guide for enforcement agencies Plus

Enforcement of the hazardous substances component of the HSNO Act is carried out by a large number of central and local government agencies.

We have developed a decision process to provide enforcement agencies with certainty about when they should be the lead agency, and/or when they need to be involved, following a non-compliance or an incident.

Roles and responsibilities: Hazardous substances enforcement under the HSNO Act 1996 (PDF, 1.03MB)