Environment Minister Nick Smith wants to relax air quality standards, which he says are unfair and unrealistic.
Under the current standard, monitored areas, called airsheds, have until 2013 to reduce their pollution output.
Industrial consents will not be granted in an area if its air quality exceeds the national standard more than once a year.
Dr Smith says that would require banning home log burners and industries in areas where air quality is generally very good.
He's recommending the standard can be breached up to three times a year and that enforcement begins from 2018, to give businesses time to adapt.
Dr Smith says that is still a substantial ask, considering 15 airsheds exceed the limit up to 91 times per year, which needs to change.