Chief Executive Rob Phillips said today that in light of recent allegations in the media, it was essential that there was public confidence that all of the Council’s regulatory practices were sound, and that the processes for taking compliance action were robust.
“Prosecutions are an essential part of our compliance activity, particularly where there has been a serious breach of the law, a regulation or a rule,” Mr Phillips said. “Everyone needs to be confident that compliance action is based on sound processes that have been carried out with integrity.”
He has instructed environmental lawyer Karenza de Silva to undertake a comprehensive audit of Environment Southland’s compliance division’s processes. Ms de Silva went to school in Invercargill and is now based in Auckland. She has 27 years’ experience and has practised since 1988 in the field of environmental law, specialising in enforcement. Ms de Silva is one of the authors of the Resource Management Enforcement Manual. She acts for several local authorities in the North Island.
Mr Phillips said the legal audit would begin this week and was likely to take about a fortnight. “It will be thorough and the results will be released,” he said.
A public statement will be made about the outcome of the audit. Until then, he would not be making further comment on the allegations which have been published in the media.