A new report says significant breaches of environmental law are going unpunished by those responsible for enforcing it.
The research by the Environmental Defence Society and the Law Foundation looked at compliance, monitoring and enforcement under the Resource Management Act.
Gary Taylor from the Environmental Defence Society says the report is the first comprehensive look at monitoring and enforcement across a range of agencies including councils.
He says part of the issue is that it's too expensive for councils to prosecute.
The report also found problems with poor quality law, politicised decision making and a lack of audit and oversight.
"What this means, basically, is that New Zealand's environmental laws aren't being enforced as well as they should be, and if they're not enforced properly they can be broken with impunity and public confidence in them will be lost."