Who does what on the environment

A number of government agencies have responsibilities for the environment. Find out who does what.

Ministry for the Environment

We are the Government’s primary adviser on environmental matters. We also have a stewardship role which involves taking a long-term perspective on environmental issues when making decisions.

Our strategic priorities cover are:

  • transform the environmental management system 
  • the Treaty of Waitangi is reflected in environmental decision-making 
  • improve the quality of New Zealand’s urban environments 
  • build a sustainable and resilient land and food system 
  • New Zealand transitions to a climate-resilient, low-emission and circular economy 
  • improve how New Zealand’s natural resources are allocated 
  • connect people and communities with Te Taiao.

Department of Conservation

The Department of Conservation is responsible for conserving New Zealand’s natural and historic heritage.

This includes: 

  • administering public conservation land
  • coastal area management 
  • marine mammal conservation
  • managing large tracts of native forest 
  • providing policy advice on climate change issues where they relate to conservation issues
  • managing New Zealand’s marine reserves.Visit the Department of Conservation website.

Department of Conservation website

Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority

The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority supports and promotes energy efficiency and energy conservation, and the use of renewable sources of energy in New Zealand.

Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority website

Environmental Protection Authority

The Environmental Protection Authority is the government agency responsible for regulating activities that affect New Zealand’s environment.

This includes:

  • the administration of the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme including compliance, reporting and market information and operation of the New Zealand Emission Unit Register
  • consenting, monitoring and enforcement under the Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf Act
  • regulating the introduction and use of hazardous substances and new organisms in New Zealand.

Environmental Protection Authority website

Local government authorities

Local government authorities are primarily responsible for regulating resource use in New Zealand and for promoting the environmental, social, cultural and economic well-being of communities.  

This incudes:

  • the day-to-day management of our environment under the Resource Management Act 1991
  • waste management and minimisation plans.

Local government authorities are:

  • 11 regional councils
  • 61 territorial authorities – 11 are city councils and 50 are district councils
  • 6 unitary councils – which are territorial authorities with regional council responsibilities. 

Find your council's contact details on the New Zealand Local Government Online website.

Maritime New Zealand

Maritime NZ is the national regulatory, compliance and response agency for the safety, security and environmental protection of coastal and inland waterways.

Maritime New Zealand website

Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment develops and delivers policy, services, advice and regulation to support business growth and the prosperity and well-being of all New Zealanders.

This includes:

  • being the lead agency to deliver the New Zealand Energy Strategy
  • research into carbon capture and storage, energy information and modelling
  • providing science and technology policy advice to the Government
  • investing money in science and research on behalf of the New Zealand Government.

Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment website

Ministry for Primary Industries

The Ministry for Primary Industries' role within the environment space includes increasing sustainable resource use and protecting New Zealand from biological risk. 

It does this by:

  • contributing to government policy on climate change in a number of areas including:
    • policy development and implementation of the NZ ETS
    • adaptation to climate change
  • funding and research activities relating to agriculture and forestry policy
  • fisheries management
  • leading work on marine biodiversity and biosecurity.

Ministry for Primary Industries website

Ministry of Transport

The Ministry of Transport leads and generates policy on transport, including climate change and environmental issues related to transport.

This includes:

  • leading work on biofuels, electric vehicles, other alternative fuels and technologies and the energy efficiency of commercial fleets
  • responsibility for the Maritime Transport Act 1994.

Ministry of Transport website

New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade is the government's lead adviser and negotiator on foreign and trade policy, including climate change, and environmental and natural resource issues.

This includes:

  • working with other agencies to represent New Zealand at global forums on solutions to global environmental challenges
  • leading New Zealand’s international climate change negotiations.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade website

The New Zealand Treasury

The Treasury is the Government’s lead economic and financial adviser. The information it provides includes research and economic perspectives on climate change policy.

Treasury website