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7. Issues that the Minister will need to consider in the first month of office

  • Encourage early appointment of a new Chief Executive for the Ministry.

Issues for the Minister for the Environment to make decisions on:

  • Waitaki Catchment Water Allocation Plan: watch if other parties appeal during October.
  • Legislative agenda priorities: The Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (Approvals and Enforcement) Amendment Bill was reported back from Select Committee but was not passed before the House rose. A delay in enactment past December 2005 will mean that the deadline for transition of toxic substances will need to be extended and this could cost over $500,000.
  • Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act:
    • several reports are due to Cabinet
    • a proposal to simplify and improve the enforcement and compliance regime (mainly affects Environmental Risk Management Authority and Department of Labour), including a budget bid
    • report back on Environmental Risk Management Authority's progress in implementing Treaty of Waitangi issues.
  • Bioethics Council:
    • receive Council report on xenotransplantation
    • report from the Ministry on progress of departments in implementing the Council's report on Human Genes in Other Organisms.
  • Cartagena Protocol: The Interim National Report on the Protocol needs to be signed out.
  • Urban Affairs Statement of Priorities: consider releasing this for consultation.
  • Water Conservation Orders:
    • Buller River: a decision is required on whether to appoint a special tribunal to consider a variation to the Buller Water Conservation Order, as requested by Fish & Game New Zealand. Another variation is already being considered by a special tribunal - Fish & Game would like both applications to be considered together
    • Oreti River: a decision is needed on appointing a Board of Inquiry to consider an application for a Water Conservation Order for the Oreti River.
  • Requiring Authorities: Requiring Authority status under the Resource Management Act provides certain powers, including allowing utility companies to designate land and apply to the Minister to compulsorily acquire land. Two applications are awaiting a decision:
    • Far North Holdings Limited: Kaitaia airport
    • Central Plains Irrigation: Mid Canterbury irrigation scheme.
  • Budget bids for 2006/07: Depending on the budget timetable, you will need to consider possible bids.

Items that might require a response from the Minister for the Environment:

  • Local Government Review: We are working with local government to develop a process for reviewing their performance in implementing the Resource Management Act and other environmental legislation. A report to Cabinet on progress is due provisionally to take place early in 2006.
  • Accept and release Packaging Accord annual report, which will raise issues around waste glass, particularly the voluntary levy.
  • Nationally significant developments under the Resource Management Act: The Amendment Act provides for a new process for non-local decision making. We are preparing advice on how this function will work.
    • You may be approached by prospective developers (eg, Transpower)
    • You may need to decide in November if you wish to call in the Transpower transmission upgrade in the Waikato.
  • Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act
    • Applications for genetic modification of roses and onions may be received by ERMA and use of your call-in power would need to be considered

Issues for the Minister responsible for Climate Change:

  • Greenhouse gas emissions: Following an independent review process, a draft report concludes that the approach to projections of greenhouse gas emissions is reasonable. The Audit New Zealand management letter is also available.
  • Recommendations from Climate Change Policy Review - Cabinet Paper due 31 October 2005.
  • Negotiated Greenhouse Agreements:
    • eligibility of Fonterra for a Negotiated Greenhouse Agreement
    • consideration of prospective Negotiated Greenhouse Agreement Climate Change Policy Settings
    • advice on Projects to Reduce Emissions.