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Our Environment Counts

Embargoed until 10:45am – 2 June 2006

Our Environment Counts

The environment plays an important role in many aspects of everyday life, but to what extent? Statistics New Zealand is marking World Environment Day on Monday, 5 June with some facts about the relationship between New Zealanders and their environment:

- According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), New Zealand's household waste in 2004 amounted to 400kg per person. This is equivalent to each New Zealander throwing away two 500g packs of butter every day for a year.

- In 2003, New Zealand households used 153 petajoules of energy. This is equivalent to every New Zealander running a gas barbecue 24 hours a day for just over seven weeks.

- New Zealand households were responsible for emitting seven million tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2003. This is equivalent to the amount of carbon dioxide needed to fill over one million hot-air balloons. Carbon dioxide is produced through the burning of fossil fuels (ie through running a car or burning wood in a fireplace).

- In 2003, the total potential value of New Zealand's commercial fish resource was estimated at $3.5 billion. The total value of fish exports was $1.2 billion. New Zealand households spent $220 million on fish, which translates to an average household expenditure of $2.80 per week.

- In 2001, New Zealand households and industries took 637 million cubic metres of water from ground and surface water sources. This is equivalent to filling approximately 320,000 Olympic-size swimming pools with water.

This data was taken from the Statistics New Zealand's environmental accounts and household economic survey, and the OECD environmental data compendium.

Brian Pink
Government Statistician


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