Our regulatory operating model

We regulate using the VADE model (Voluntary > Assisted > Directed > Enforced) that's commonly used by regulatory agencies across the New Zealand government.

The Regulatory Operating Model sets our vision for the industry:

A mineral and petroleum industry that responsibly delivers value to New Zealand.

This vision is underpinned by our core principles that we are:

  • transparent and consistent
  • targeted
  • fair, reasonable and proportionate
  • collaborative and responsive.

Our operating model involves the use of the VADE model to facilitate compliance. VADE stands for voluntary, assisted, directed and enforced. The VADE model is commonly used by regulatory agencies across the New Zealand government.

The VADE model

Diagram showing the vade model

This diagram explains the VADE model, which is a triangle with four layers showing the operational response for four different categories of behaviour by a regulated party in relation to their regulatory obligations.

Voluntary behaviour

Make it easy. Inform; provide education, advice and guidance; and recognise and promote best practice initiatives and performance.

Assisted behaviour

Assist to comply. Increased monitoring assessments and corrective actions; education and support.

Directed behaviour

Deter by detection then directive action. Formal warnings and action plans, vary permit conditions and work programme obligations.

Enforced behaviour

Use full force of the law. Prosecution, permit revocation.


The VADE model helps guide our thinking when we are considering taking action for non-compliance. The VADE model provides a measured and graduated approach to resolving non-compliance.

As the pyramid suggests, we expect most of our activity to be focused on assisting permit holders to comply. This includes providing education and guidance, promoting best practice, and monitoring. At the top of the pyramid we focus on actions or omissions that we consider are intentional, serious or repeated.

More information

Our diversion policy [PDF 201KB]

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