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Environmental reporting takes a step forward

Environmental reporting takes a step forward

New Zealanders will have access to better information about our environment with the passing today of a new law to ensure regular, independent environmental reporting, Statistics New Zealand and the Ministry for the Environment said.

The Environmental Reporting Bill passed today provides the framework for national environmental reporting, which is jointly led by Statistics NZ and the
Ministry for the Environment.

Government Statistician Liz MacPherson said a key feature of the new framework is the legal independence guaranteed by her role, and oversight by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment.

“New Zealand’s environmental reporting will be independent, accurate, and regular to bring it in line with international best practice,” Ms MacPherson said.

Secretary for the Environment Vicky Robertson said the new environmental reporting regime will support better-informed community conversations and decisions about the environment.

“We want New Zealanders to have a well-informed debate about our environment based on sound evidence. The new legislation will enable this to happen,” Ms Robertson said.

In the spirit of the legislation, the Ministry for the Environment and Statistics NZ produced the 2014 Air domain report. The agencies are now working on a full-scale environment report, covering fresh water, marine, atmosphere and climate, air, and land, which will be released on 21 October.

Ms MacPherson said the Environment Aotearoa 2015 report and the underpinning website Environmental indicators Te taiao Aotearoa will provide the first comprehensive national environmental overview since 2007.

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“Our 2015 report will pull together New Zealand’s most relevant and accurate data to give us a clear picture of our environment. We’ll be able to see how our freshwater quality stands, and how our marine mammals are faring, for example,” she said.

The new legislation requires public consultation on the topics for future environmental reporting. This consultation will take place after publication of Environment Aotearoa 2015.

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