Role of territorial authorities in managing and minimising waste

The Waste Minimisation Act 2008 puts responsibility on local government (territorial authorities) to promote effective and efficient waste management and minimisation within their districts. 

Requirements for WMMPs

The Waste Minimisation Act required territorial authorities to prepare waste management and minimisation plans (WMMPs) by 2012. The plans have to be reviewed every six years. Requirements for WMMPs are set out in sections 43 and 44 of the Waste Minimisation Act 2008.

Plans must have:

  • objectives, policies and methods for achieving effective and efficient waste minimisation and management within the district
  • how implementing the plan will be funded (including how local authorities intend to use allocated waste disposal levy money).

When preparing, amending or revoking a plan territorial authorities must also:

  • consider the waste hierarchy
  • have regard to The New Zealand Waste Strategy: Reducing harm, improving efficiency (2010) and their most recent waste assessment
  • publicly consult on the WMMP.

Further detail on requirements for WMMPs can be found in the Waste Minimisation Act 2008 [New Zealand Legislation website]. The Ministry has also prepared some guides which provide more detail on requirements. Links to the guides are provided in the following section.

Evidence required by the Ministry

As WMMP reviews will get closer, the Ministry will reach out to the concerned councils to understand what plans are being made to comply with their review requirements.

A WMMP review is complete if the TA has (in this exact sequencing):

  • completed a Waste Assessment in accordance with section 51 of the WMA (including Medical Officer of Health feedback obtained) 
  • in light of the completed Waste Assessment, made a decision to continue, amend, or revoke and substitute its existing WMMP (under section 50(3) of the WMA). Evidence of the decision can consist of a decision paper to your governance body with your recommendations for the next WMMP (e.g. memo to council of your recommendation/decision, or council minutes). A record of that decision needs to be provided to the Ministry for the Environment.

For this last requirement, a TA does not need to have adopted or completed consultation on a new WMMP: the TA needs to have made a decision on what it intends to do with its existing WMMP following consideration of its Waste Assessment. If the WMMP is not reviewed within the six-year statutory timeframe, section 33 of the WMA requires the Ministry for the Environment to retain levy money payable to a TA.

Process to Review Your WMMP (up to 18 months)

WMMP Timeline
Timeline for reviewing a Waste Management & Minimisation Plan
WMMP Timeline
Timeline for reviewing a Waste Management & Minimisation Plan

Waste assessments and WMMP reviews

Before reviewing their WMMP, territorial authorities must first complete a waste assessment for their district. Information gathered from the waste assessment helps determine the content of the WMMP and the areas of focus for action over the life of the plan. The following documents contain details of how to carry out waste assessments and the process for a review of a WMMP.


We have a team that works closely with territorial authorities on implementing the Act.

Territorial authorities can call us on (04) 439 7400 or email

We are also keen to hear about any waste problem-solving, best practice and shared initiatives in local government.

Where can I find my council’s waste management and minimisation plan?

Contact your local council for a copy of its WMMP. Many territorial authorities include waste management and minimisation plans and waste assessments on their website.