Laws that help us manage environmental risks

This page outlines the main laws which help us manage environmental risks in New Zealand.

Risks from hazardous substances and new organisms

The Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act sets the general framework for managing risk from new organisms, including genetically modified organisms, and hazardous substances. Regulations under the Act set out the technical requirements. 

For information about the Act and related regulations see Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996.

For information on how the Act interfaces with other legislation see How the HSNO Act relates to other Acts.

Risks from ozone depleting substances

Risks to our health and environment from damage to the ozone layer caused by ozone depleting substances are managed by the Ozone Layer Protection Act 1996 and the Ozone Layer Protection Regulations 1996.

For more information on the Act and regulations see Ozone Layer Protection Act 1996 and the Ozone Layer Protection Regulations 1996.

Risks from contaminated land

The Resource Management Act 1991 is the core piece of environmental legislation for controlling the effects of contaminated land on the environment and people. It controls discharges to land to prevent new contaminated sites from being created and discharges from contaminated land such as leachate and landfill gases.

Risks from contaminated lands are primarily regulated by the National Environmental Standard for Assessing and Managing Contaminants in Soil to Protect Human Health (NESCS) which was created under the RMA.

The NESCS applies to land that is, has, or is likely to have been used for one of 53 specified hazardous activities or industries listed on the Hazardous Activities and Industries List (HAIL).

For more information see:

Resource Management Act 1991

National Environmental Standard for Assessing and Managing Contaminants in Soil to Protect Human Health

Hazardous Activities and Industries List (HAIL)

Reviewed:
29/08/16