Historical environmental reporting

This page has national environmental reports from 1997 and 2007 and supporting indicators produced outside the framework of the Environmental Reporting Act 2015.

For the latest national reporting see New Zealand's environmental reporting series.

State of the environment reports from 1997 and 2007

The Ministry published the following comprehensive reports on our environment before the Environmental Reporting Act 2015 (the Act).

Environment New Zealand 2007
The State of New Zealand’s Environment 1997


National environmental reporting before the Act included the periodic release of updates on 22 indicators. The timing of the indicator updates was determined by data availability and rate of change. Some indicators were updated annually and others less frequently.

This table below lists the 22 national environmental indicators we reported on between the last two national environmental reports, along with the associated domain or pressure and the variables that were measured. 

For more indepth information on the indicators, see the National Library of New Zealand's archive of our website [National Library of New Zealand] and navigate the website to: More>Environmental reporting>Reporting before the Act.

Table of indicators



National environmental indicator

What is measured to report on this indicator?
(known as the 'variables')



On-road vehicle emissions

Provides an estimate of modelled emissions from on-road vehicles for carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, particulate matter and volatile organic compounds.

May 2014

Annual average PM10 concentration Provides an estimate of national annual average PM10 concentration.
Health impacts due to exposure to human made PM10 Provides an estimate through modelling on the health impacts (premature deaths, hospital admissions and restricted activity days) from exposure to human-made PM10.


Emissions and removals of greenhouse gases

Provides information on emissions and removals of greenhouse gases by measuring emissions of carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, sulphur hexafluoride, hydrofluorocarbons and perfluorocarbons into the atmosphere, as well as the amount of greenhouse gas emissions removed from the atmosphere as a result of absorption by forestry.

April 2013

Levels of stratospheric ozone

Provides information on concentrations of stratospheric ozone (average yearly ozone levels) over New Zealand.

October 2012

Fresh waterFresh water

River condition (previously called River water quality)

Provides information on the condition of our rivers. It reports on:

  • nutrients
    • total phosphorus
    • dissolved reactive phosphorus
    • ammoniacal nitrogen
    • nitrate nitrogen
  • Macroinvertebrate Community Index
  • Escherichia coli concentration.

July 2013

Lake water quality

Provides information on water quality in lakes and reports on the Trophic Level Index (TLI) and on the Submerged Plant Index (LakeSPI).

The TLI is determined by measuring:

  • total nitrogen
  • total phosphorus
  • visual clarity
  • algal biomass.

LakeSPI looks at plant structure and composition to assess both the native and invasive character of vegetation in a lake.

November 2010

Groundwater quality

Provides information on water quality in groundwater using nitrate and bacteria (Escherichia coli) measurements.

January 2012

Suitability for swimming (previously called Recreational water quality)

Provides information on health risk associated with primary contact recreation at monitored swimming spots in rivers, streams and lakes.

Each site is given a grade based on a sanitary inspection of the catchment and concentrations of bacteria (Escherichia coli) measured over five summers.

July 2013

Freshwater demand

Provides information on freshwater demand, mainly the volumes of water allocated to human uses. This is also known as total (consumptive) water allocation.

November 2010

Fresh waterLand

Area of native land cover

Provides information on native land cover by measuring:

  • area of native land cover by Land Cover Database class
  • area of native land cover by Land Environments of New Zealand class
  • area of native land cover under legal protection.

April 2010

Distribution of seven selected native species

Provides information on the distribution of seven selected native plants and animals:

  • dactylanthus (woodrose)
  • kākā
  • kiwi (five species)
  • kōkako
  • lesser short-tailed bat (pekapeka)
  • mōhua (yellowhead)
  • wrybill (ngutu pare).

December 2007

Land cover

Provides information on land cover across nine land cover classes:

  • exotic forest
  • exotic shrubland
  • native forest
  • native vegetation
  • other native land cover
  • primarily horticulture
  • high-producing exotic grassland
  • low producing grassland
  • artificial surfaces.

December 2007

Land use

Provides information on land use across 18 land-use classes:

  • dairy
  • intensive sheep and beef
  • hill-country sheep and beef
  • high-country sheep and beef
  • deer
  • other animals
  • ungrazed
  • urban
  • planted forest
  • arable crops
  • vegetables
  • berryfruit
  • pipfruit
  • grapes
  • summer fruit
  • tropical fruit
  • kiwifruit
  • flowers

and four land-cover classes:

  • tussock
  • native forest
  • rivers, lakes, snow and ice
  • scrub.

January 2010

Soil health

Provides information on soil health and reports on the following chemical, biological and physical soil properties:

  • total carbon content
  • total nitrogen content
  • pH in water
  • olsen phosphate
  • mineralisable nitrogen
  • macroporosity

across seven major land-use categories:

  • arable cropping
  • mixed cropping
  • drystock pasture
  • dairy pasture
  • tussock grasslands
  • exotic forestry
  • native forests.

January 2010

Soil erosion risk

Provides information on risk from soil erosion, by measuring pasture on erosion-prone hill country and classifying them into categories of erosion potential (severe, very severe and extreme).

December 2007


Marine areas with legal protection

Provides information on Marine Protected Areas, and reports on the proportion of our territorial seas and coastal biogeographic regions protected by marine reserves.

December 2012

Fishing activity

Provides information on fisheries effort and reports on the status of fish stock under the Quota Management System and on the impact of bottom trawling on fish communities.

November 2010 (fish stocks)
March 2010 (trawling)

Suitability for swimming (previously called Recreational water quality)

Provides information on health risk associated with primary contact recreation (eg, swimming or surfing) at beaches on the coast.

Each site is given a grade based on a sanitary inspection of the catchment and concentrations of bacteria (Enterococci) measured over five summers.

July 2013

Pressures and impacts

Pressure or impact

National environmental indicator

What is measured to report on this indicator?
(known as the 'variables')



Household consumption expenditure

Provides information on household consumption expenditure in seven expenditure categories:

  • food and beverages
  • clothing and footwear
  • housing
  • household goods and services
  • transport
  • hotels and restaurants
  • other goods and services.

October 2012


Energy supply

Provides information on energy supply and reports on:

  • total primary energy supply (by fuel type)
  • electricity generation (by fuel type).

July 2009

Energy demand

Provides information on energy demand and reports on:

  • total consumer energy demand (by fuel type and by sector)
  • consumer energy demand compared to gross domestic product.

July 2009


Vehicle-kilometres travelled (VKT) by road

Provides information on vehicle kilometres travelled (VKT) by road by measuring:

  • fuel type (petrol or diesel)
  • vehicle age
  • vehicle type.

March 2009


Solid waste disposal

Provides information on the quantity (by weight) and composition of solid waste sent to landfill.

October 2012 (disposal)
July 2009 (composition)