The Herald reports:
A new, independent environment agency has been hailed by green groups as a big step towards improving environmental management.
Environment Minister Nick Smith announced details of the Environmental Protection Authority yesterday, pleasing lobbyists who hope the agency will play a leading role in the Government’s new-look environment regime.
Environmental Defence Society chairman Gary Taylor and Sustainability Council executive director Simon Terry applauded the decision to make the agency a Crown entity with its own board, at arm’s length from political influence.
“The Ministry for the Environment never had the necessary teeth,” said Mr Terry.
Also pleased was Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Jan Wright.
She said last month that environmental monitoring was so haphazard that it was impossible to tell whether the country was getting cleaner or dirtier.
New Zealanders may disagree on some issues such as mining, but most Kiwis are supportive of robust environmental monitoring and protection. The EPA should prove far more able at this, than the Ministry was.