MIL OSI – Source: Statistics New Zealand – National environmental report topics announced
Secretary for the Environment Dr Paul Reynolds and Government Statistician Liz MacPherson today announced the topics that will be the focus of the Environment Aotearoa 2015 and Environmental indicators Te taiao Aotearoa reports.
The national environment reports are being compiled by the Ministry for the Environment and Statistics New Zealand, and will be released in the middle of this year.
The broad range of topics includes river quality, native plants and animals, ocean acidity and impacts on human health.
Dr Reynolds said the report was the start of a journey to give New Zealanders a comprehensive overview of the environment.
“The reports will contain high-quality data on five key environmental domains – air, climate and atmosphere, land, fresh water and marine,” he said. “They will assess the environmental health of each domain with data from key topics.”
The Ministry for the Environment and Statistics NZ spent months assessing existing data available from a list of potential topics to include in the reports. Experts from many sectors provided advice. The Ministers of Statistics and the Environment approved the topics, but the public will be consulted about topics for future reports.
Ms MacPherson said the assessment used Statistics NZ’s rigorous criteria. “This means New Zealanders can have confidence in the information we will publish about why, where and how New Zealand’s environment is changing, as well as what impact this is having on our lifestyle, standard of living, and well-being.”
Data to measure the topics come from existing datasets so councils and ratepayers will not face additional costs. For some topics, data of sufficient quality are not yet available. The list of measures, or statistics released today are provisional at this stage as the assessment process has not been completed and the full set of national indicators, case studies, and supplementary information has not been signed off by the Government Statistician.
Central and local government are working together to improve the representativeness, consistency and quality of future environmental data and reporting.
Dr Reynolds said Environment Aotearoa 2015 and Environmental indicators Te taiao Aotearoa were developed in parallel with legislation to make future environmental reporting more regular, more independent, and more useful. The Environmental Reporting Bill is before Parliament and is expected to be passed in the next couple of months.
“Once the legislation is passed, the Government will consult with the public on which environmental topics will be reported on under each domain,” he said.