Compliance information

​On this page: What our work involves; Compliance policies; Complaints procedure

What our work involves

  • carrying out inspections of activities with resource consents to ensure compliance with conditions
  • carrying out inspections of permitted activities (that do not require a resource consent) to ensure compliance with our plans
  • responding to and investigating environmental pollution incidents
  • investigating and prosecuting when there is breach of the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA 1991)

Consent compliance inspections

More than 4000 resource consents are inspected in Southland each year.  Every time a condition of a resource consent is inspected, a compliance grade is recorded.  The compliance grades are assessed to determine compliance with resource consent conditions.  Consistent, full compliance with conditions of a resource consent may result in the consent holder being inspected less frequently.  Conversely, persistent or significant non-compliance is likely to result in enforcement action.


Southland is a province built largely around a prosperous agricultural industry. The environmental impact of these is monitored through the resource consent Regional Plan monitoring process. However it should be noted that there are a number of other industries in Southland that have their environmental impact inspected through the same process. All industries within Southland require a resource consent to discharge to air, water, coast and land.  These discharges are monitored to ensure compliance with consents and to minimise impacts on the environment.

Compliance policies

​​​​Monitoring policy

This policy aims to provide clarity on Environment Southland’s compliance monitoring programme. It outlines our approach to:

  • the risk-based monitoring programme
  • encouraging compliance
  • dealing with non-compliance

We use risk-based monitoring in order to meet our requirements under the Resource Management Act 1991. The compliance team also apply the 4E’s approach in their monitoring programme.

Read our monito​ring policy

Enforcement policy

A large part of the compliance team’s work is focused on the monitoring of resource consent conditions and permitted activities. In a regional plan there are three major types of activities: 

  • Activities that do not require a consent, but have conditions that must be met (permitted)
  • Activities that do require a resource consent (there are differing consent levels)
  • Activities that cannot be undertaken (prohibited)

The compliance team monitor a range of activities that fall into each of these categories. When a breach is confirmed, which can be the result of regular monitoring programme, from self-reported incidents, or publicly reported incidents, Environment Southland has a statutory obligation to deal with under the Resource Management Act 1991. 

Read our enforcement policy

Diversion scheme

Diversion enables eligible defendants to complete specified requirements within a given timeframe to avoid the continuation of a prosecution and the possibility of receiving a conviction. ​

Read our diversion scheme​

Strategic Compliance Framework 2016-18

Our policies are based on the regional sector framework.

Regional Sector Strategic Compliance Framework 2016-18

Compliance team complaints procedure

If you're not happy with the service you've received from the compliance team at Environment Southland or with a decision on a reported incident, we'd like to hear from you. We have a dedicated process to address your concerns, resolve any outstanding issues, and to help us to improve our service and processes.

Our complaint resolution process can deal with complaints about:

  • An incident resolution (please note, this only applies to decisions that aren't related to enforcement)
  • An inspection outcome
  • Poor service by a compliance staff member
  • An invoice you have received regarding cost recovery
  • Our communication with you (i.e. you feel we haven't been clear)
  • Our conduct (i.e. you believe you haven't been treated with courtesy or respect)

How to complain

Please write to us with your complaint.

  • Email:
  • Postal address: Environment Southland, Private Bag 90116, Invercargill 9840
  • Attn: Compliance Manager
  • Street address: Cnr North Road and Price Street, Waikiwi, Invercargill

In your complaint, please include:

  • your name, phone number and email address*
  • date of incident or contact with compliance team member
  • your company name, if applicable
  • cost recovery account details, if applicable
  • an explanation – the what, when and why of your complaint

Timeframes for resolving complaints

When we receive complaints, we aim to acknowledge complaints within 2 working days and respond or resolve complaints within 15 working days.

If you have more than one complaint, or your complaint is about more than one issue, we may need more time. If this happens, we'll let you know.

Assessing complaints

Your initial complaint will be investigated by the supervisor of the officer involved (team leader or manager).  A written record will be made by the investigator documenting the nature of the complaint, any findings and any action proposed to be taken. The written record and proposed actions will be approved by someone at least one up from the investigator - either the manager or the relevant director. Once approved, the proposed action will be undertaken as soon as reasonably possible.      

If however you remain unsatisfied with the resolution to your issue, you have the right to ask for the matter to be further reviewed by a member of Environment Southland's executive team (excluding the relevant director).

When we assess complaints, we aim to:

  • keep an open mind and take a fresh look at the issues raised
  • acknowledge any mistakes and put them right if we can
  • have our response checked for quality, completeness, and accuracy
  • be fair
  • understand things from your point of view
  • understand the reasons why you have lodged a complaint and address those reasons
  • escalate your complaint to a supervisor
  • keep in mind the context of our scope and role
  • operate within legal boundaries and business policies

What we need from you

It'll make it easier for us to resolve your complaint if you:

  • clearly identify the grounds for your complaint
  • provide any extra information we may ask for
  • act honestly and treat us with courtesy and respect – we'll do the same for you.

* We will use the personal information you give us to correspond with you in relation to your complaint. We generally do not share your personal information unless it's necessary for the purpose for which you gave us the information (to fully and fairly investigate your complaint). We will not use it for any other purpose or disclose it except in exceptional situations, or for other reasons permitted under the Privacy Act 1993, or if – in rare instances – we were required by law (for example, to investigate a criminal offence).

Page reviewed: 29 Jul 2019 12:03pm