• Marian Hobbs

A biologist with specialist knowledge in business and the environment, Dr Lin Roberts, has been appointed to the Environmental Risk Management Authority (ERMA), Environment Minister, Marian Hobbs, announced today.

Dr Roberts replaces Mrs Helen Hughes, former Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, whose term expires on 31 December. The appointment is for two years.

Marian Hobbs said the completion of Mrs Hughes' term presented an opportunity to re-evaluate the balance of experience and knowledge on the Authority to ensure it is well set up for its future work.

"Having an experienced biologist on the Board will be particularly useful in assisting the work ERMA is doing, especially in relation to its responsibilities with regard to genetic modification," Marian Hobbs said.

ERMA is an expert body established under the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act. Its primary purpose is to protect people from the risks of hazardous substances and new organisms by assessing, approving or declining applications to import or manufacture new organisms and hazardous substances.

In approving a hazardous substance, ERMA can set comprehensive controls on the use, handling, transport, storage and disposal of the substance - controls that everyone must abide by.

Biography of the new member.

Dr Lin Roberts is currently a Director of Business and Environment Consultants, a consultancy offering research, teaching, implementation and advisory services on all issues relating to business and the environment, and selected work in the science sector. Dr Roberts has experience and knowledge in sustainable business and has advised various companies and local authorities on implementing cleaner production. Dr Roberts has extensive experience in the public sector and has been actively involved in areas such as resource management, waste management, and genetic modification. She also has an academic background in zoology and ecology.

The new make-up of the Authority is as follows:

NameSkill area
Ms Jill White (Chair)Management Political representationLocal Government and communityScience and human health
Prof George ClarkChemistryMolecular biology
Mrs Jane LancasterFood and agricultureIndustry and businessBiochemistry
Dr Lindie NelsonEconomicsResource managementPolicy analysis
Ms Prudence KapuaEnvironmental lawMaori and Treaty issues
Mr Tony HaggertyHazardous substancesEmergency responseHSNO regulations knowledgeIndustry
Dr Lin RobertsSustainable industry and businessEcology
Professor Colin MantellMedicineMaori healthManagement