Local government in New Zealand is responsible for ensuring compliance with a variety of laws and regulations that are aimed at achieving positive community and environmental outcomes.
For Waikato Regional Council there are a number of obligations relating to implementation of the Resource Management Act (RMA). The purpose of the RMA is to‘promote sustainable management of our natural and physical resources’.
Waikato Regional Council needs to meet their obligations to the RMA and community while working within the corporate values, and towards the vision and mission of the wider organisation.
These obligations are met by a dedicated regulatory team known as the Resource Use Directorate (RUD) who are bound by principles and guidelines particular to that role.
Much of the regulatory ‘business’ for RUD revolves around the receipt and processing of resource consent applications by those in the community seeking to use, or impact on, natural and physical resources. When consents are issued there are then obligations for the council in respect of monitoring compliance with the respective consent conditions.
Many activities in the Waikato are ‘permitted’ by the Waikato Regional Plan or Regional Coastal Plan. As with consented activities there are also obligations to monitor compliance with permitted activity rules. RUD also manages an incident response service whereby members of the public can contact the council if they believe there has been a breach of environmental regulations.
On occasion when a breach has been confirmed there is a requirement to take enforcement action against liable parties using tools available under the RMA. This role can be highly contentious and the subject of much public and judicial scrutiny. In short, it has to be done ’right’. The purpose of this policy is to provide clear guidance to the Waikato Regional Council as to how our RMA enforcement obligations are carried out.