Former Mayor Kerry Prendergast intends taking the skills she learned running Wellington to a new job chairing the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) establishment board.

"It's an incredibly exciting role, a new role," Ms Prendergast told NZPA.

"To be the establishment chair in setting it up, getting the process right for the chief executive and recommending board appointments is something very exciting."

She was said she was approached towards the end of last year to consider the role and it took some time "to do due diligence".

"Environment Minister Nick Smith said other members of the board were Environmental Risk Management Authority chairman Richard Woods, former Meridian Energy chief executive Keith Turner and retiring chief executive of Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu, Anake Goodall.

"The Environmental Protection Authority has been established to strengthen and improve New Zealand's environmental management," Dr Smith said.

"It will be an independent Crown agent at arms length from the Government with its own board of directors. The role of the establishment board is to start the recruitment process for a chief executive for the EPA, and give consideration to appointments to and terms of reference for the Maori advisory committee and hazardous substances and new organisms committee."

Ms Prendergast said she was interested in being on the EPA permanent board but those decisions would be further down the track.

"I would have an interest in being on the board but that is a separate process that's been made clear to me, so that is something that would happen at the end of the process for the chief executive and for recommending board appointees."

Her experience as Wellington Mayor from 2001 to 2010 and as a borough and city councillor for 15 years before that would help in the role, she said.

She thought her efforts as mayor of "the fifth best eco city in the world" and having stood to make the Wellington the first "Green" capital were important to her being appointed.

"..but underpinning it had to be a sound economic rational and base and I think that was why I was asked... and I have a sound understanding of regulatory and process and I think that's the other advantage I will bring."

The board has been tasked with ensuring the EPA is operating by July 1, but that date could be delayed by the Christchurch earthquake, Ms Prendergast said.

She had met the other board members and read all the Cabinet and background papers.

"I do believe it is going to achieve what Government hopes it will achieve and what the community hopes it will achieve."

The board will meet again this week.

Ms Prendergast is also executive chairwoman of the New Zealand International Festival of the Arts Trust Board, which she took over from Fran Wilde and she sits on the Kirkcaldie and Stains board.

"I have a number of other boards that I am in discussion with as well both in the private sector and the public sector."

In November last year the Government introduced legislation to establish the EPA as a Crown entity. It passed its first reading unanimously and is currently before Parliament's local government select committee. That committee is due to report back to Parliament by the end of this month.

The Green Party said the former interests of the board's members made them unsuitable for their positions.

"The Establishment Board will set the tone of the EPA and it is inappropriate for a former chief executive of Meridian Energy and the chair of the Environmental Risk Management Authority to be given this task," the party's EPA spokesman David Clendon said.

"Given the pro-development stance of this government, the selection of development sceptics to the EPA is critical if it is to have an actual environmental protection role - unfortunately, this seems unlikely."

- NZPA