Ministry for the Environment transparency statement

This transparency statement explains how we collect, use, and share information we gather when we carry out our compliance and investigatory functions under the Waste Minimisation Act 2008 (WMA 2008).

The WMA 2008 empowers us to require information we need to ensure compliance with that legislation. We are also required to protect that information and only disclose what we consider is necessary to give effect to our legislated responsibilities. 

Most of the information we collect is provided directly and voluntarily to assist us in carrying out our functions as the regulator responsible for the collection and administration of the waste levy.

However, where necessary we may use our statutory powers to gather information relevant to considering and investigating complaints and potential compliance breaches.

Under section 79 of the WMA 2008 and its associated regulations we are empowered to inspect property and obtain information to detect or identify offences (eg, the failure to keep records of waste tonnage at a disposal facility). We can require the production of information including accounts, records, and documents. We may also collect publicly available information (eg, media reports) where this is relevant to carrying out our compliance functions.

All information will be gathered in accordance with our statutory powers set out in:

  • sections 79 and 80 of the WMA 2008 
  • the requirements and limitations set out in Part 4 of the Search and Surveillance Act 2012
  • any relevant information sharing agreements.

We will take all practicable steps to verify information received from third parties.

Collection by third parties

Where information gathering requires capacity or specialist capability that we don’t have within our organisation, we may from time to time engage a third party to collect information for us. Third parties must be lawfully appointed under section 76(1)(b) of the WMA 2008 and their activities are subject to the same legal limits as apply to staff.

Information gathering by third parties must be approved according to our internal authorisation process. That process is regularly reviewed to ensure compliance with the law, our internal policies and our risk management requirements.

We take care to exercise our information gathering powers, including by third parties, appropriately and in a way that meets our obligations at all times under the:

  • Privacy Act 1993
  • Bill of Rights Act 1990
  • State Sector Code of Conduct
  • Information Gathering Model Standards.

How we use it and when we share it

How we use it

We may use the information we hold for audit or monitoring purposes to carry out our compliance functions. Where we identify the need to use the information to consider or investigate compliance breaches or complaints or to initiate our own investigations or enquiries, we will only do so if required or permitted by law or with your authorisation.

When we share it    

We may share information where necessary in order to properly carry out our legislated functions. This information will be shared in accordance with our statutory powers and any information sharing agreements, MOUs or similar with other agencies. We will take all practicable steps to verify information provided to third parties.

We may, for example, share information with:

  • another regulator, oversight agency, or complaints body 
  • the other party to a complaint, for the purpose of investigating and resolving the complaint
  • anyone we believe could provide information relevant to whether we investigate a complaint, or to an investigation or enquiry including witnesses to complaint matters 
  • the Police or another government agency, if required by law (eg, to assist with the investigation of a criminal offence), or to report significant misconduct or breach of duty, or where there is a serious threat to health or safety, or threats or abuse directed at our staff.

How we protect it

Information is stored and retained in accordance with our Privacy Policy and Information Security Policy, and in compliance with the Privacy Act 1993 and the Public Records Act 2005.

Questions and complaints

If you have any questions about our information gathering activities or believe we have not acted in accordance with this statement contact us at the following address:

Manager, Hono Tātaki - Resource Efficiency & Innovation
Ministry for the Environment
23 Kate Sheppard Place
Thorndon 6011
Wellington

Or email:

Manager, Hono Tātaki – Resource Efficiency and Innovation
info@mfe.govt.nz
 

Reviewed:
24/06/19