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Environmental Reporting Bill passes first reading

Environmental Reporting Bill passes first reading

A Bill that will assure New Zealanders access to high quality environmental information and provide a reliable basis for environmental discussions has passed its first reading.

Environment Minister Amy Adams says the Environmental Reporting Bill will for the first time provide New Zealand with the legislative basis for independent environmental reporting.

“The Government wants to shift the debate so it is focuses on the issues and long-term trends that affect our environment, not be distracted by arguments over whether the reporting is accurate and consistent,” Ms Adams says.

“The Environmental Reporting Bill will support that shift by ensuring national environmental information is independent, high quality and frequent. That means we can have more productive discussions on the environmental issues and trade-offs that are important to New Zealanders.”

New Zealand is one of only a few OECD countries that does not currently require independent reporting on the state of our environment.

The Bill sets out what information must be reported and when, and ensures the reports are independent and have scientific integrity.

The reports will be produced by the Government Statistician and the Secretary for the Environment and be at arm’s length from the Government of the day.
The Parliamentary Commissioner Environment will have a specified role providing detailed commentary on the reports themselves and their findings.

The scope of the reports will be comprehensive, going beyond the current programme of environmental indicator updates. The reports will cover not just the state of the environment, but will also describe the pressures driving environmental trends and the impacts of these trends.

The environmental reporting system will provide New Zealanders with comprehensive information on five key environmental domains - air, climate and atmosphere, freshwater, marine and land, with biodiversity as a theme across all the domains.

One environmental domain report will be released every six months. In addition, a comprehensive synthesis report covering all environmental domains will be released every three years.

Ends

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