New Zealand's 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. These standards are called ‘national environmental standards’ and 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.
National environmental standards in effect
The following standards are in force as regulations:
- Air quality
- Sources of human drinking water
- Telecommunications facilities
- Electricity transmission
- Assessing and managing contaminants in soil to protect human health
- Plantation forestry
National environmental standards in development
The following standards are at various stages of development, ranging from initiating consultation to being legally drafted:
- Proposed National Environmental Standard on Ecological Flows and Water Levels
- Proposed National Environmental Standard for Marine Aquaculture
- Proposed National Environmental Standard for the Outdoor Storage of Tyres