Every New Zealander expects and deserves a clean, healthy environment – not just for ourselves, but to pass on to future generations. The government sets standards where appropriate so everyone in our country has clear air to breathe, clean water to drink, and clean land to live on.
We call these standards ‘national environmental standards’. They are regulations issued under sections 43 and 44 of the Resource Management Act and apply nationally. They can prescribe technical standards, methods or other requirements for environmental matters. Each regional, city or district council must enforce the same standard. In some circumstances, councils can impose stricter standards.
National environmental standards not only protect people and the environment, they also secure a consistent approach and decision-making process throughout the whole country. They create a level playing field.
The following standards are in force as regulations:
The following standards are at various stages of development, ranging from initiating consultation to being legally drafted.
The previously proposed National Environmental Standard for Measurement of Water Takes is now regulations under section 360(1)(d) of the RMA. See: Resource Management regulations.
The proposed National Environmental Standard for On-site wastewater systems has been withdrawn. Further information can be found on the On-site wastewater systems web page.
The Government will decide whether to progress a National Environmental Standard on future sea-level rise once it reviews the updated assessment of the science of climate change in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Working Group I Report (Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis). Further information can be found on the Adapting to sea-level rise web page.
Last updated: 26 March 2013