News and events
Minister's media release:
Kermadec sanctuary a global contribution to ocean protection
The Prime Minister’s announcement today at the United Nations in New York of a new Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary is a global contribution by New Zealand towards better protection of the world’s oceans, Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith says.
“Oceans are the new frontier for environmental protection. They make up 72 per cent of the globe and are home to half of the world’s species, but currently only two per cent is protected. There is increased pressure from over-fishing, mining and pollution, with the populations of fish and seabird species estimated to have halved over the past 40 years. Just as our forebears set aside significant areas of our land like the Tongariro and Fiordland National Parks, we need to protect special areas of our sea like the pristine ocean around the Kermadec Islands,” Dr Smith says.
Ministers' media release
New Zealand’s clean, green brand will be strengthened with the passage of the Environmental Reporting Act by Parliament today, Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith and Statistics Minister Craig Foss say.
“The new Environmental Reporting Act will back up our clean, green brand with authoritative and independent information on the state of our environment. It will tell us where we match up, where we don’t and give regular updates so that we can track long-term changes,” Dr Smith says.
Ministers' media release:
Changes to modernise and streamline the National Environmental Standard (NES) for telecommunications facilities will speed up improvements and reduce costs for consumers, Communications Minister Amy Adams and Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith announced today at the Resource Management Law Association conference.
“Connectivity plays an important role in the lives of New Zealanders - it has transformed the way we live, work and do business. The updated NES provides national consistency for a greater range of telecommunications infrastructure and will speed up the availability of major rollouts such as Ultra-Fast Broadband, the Rural Broadband Initiative, and 4G,” Ms Adams says.
The Ministry for the Environment will commence targeted consultation on the final steps to ban two substances with known risks to both the environment and human health, Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith announced today at the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry Australasia conference in Nelson.
“The Government has proposed new regulations banning the import of new bulk hydrochlorofluorocarbons and asbestos-containing products. Already New Zealand has all but phased out these substances so the number of businesses expected to be affected is low. The Ministry for the Environment will be contacting these businesses directly about the proposed regulations and work with them on alternatives,” Dr Smith says.
The Minister for the Environment, Hon Dr Nick Smith, has released a guide to help local government and communities implement the Government’s policy on fresh water.
Read the Minister's announcement [Beehive website].
A joint Government and council initiative to reduce nitrogen leaching into Lake Taupō by 20 per cent, or 170 tonnes per year, has achieved its goal three years ahead of schedule, Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith announced today.
Environmental monitoring website Land, Air, Water Aotearoa (LAWA) is expanding its repertoire, offering more data about New Zealand’s most valuable natural resource, water.
LAWA now displays real-time data on river flow, groundwater and rainfall levels at over 1000 sites around New Zealand, adding to the water quality data on the site.
“We believe LAWA is one of the first of its kind to bring together a whole country’s water quality and quantity data into one place,” said Fran Wilde, chair of Local Government New Zealand’s regional sector.
“Building on the beach and river quality information already available on LAWA, the real-time flow and water level data will allow those who rely on water for business or recreational activities to see the current state of the river or aquifer.”
LAWA also shows how much water is available in different regions and how it is being used.
Read the full media release on the LAWA website.
A new National Environmental Standard for Plantation Forestry to simplify and standardise Resource Management Act requirements was proposed today by Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith and Associate Primary Industries Minister Jo Goodhew at Paengaroa Forest in the Bay of Plenty.
“The current system for environmental regulation of forestry is complex and confusing with thousands of different rules across New Zealand’s 78 councils. This proposed standard will simplify the rules and save the forestry industry millions in compliance costs while ensuring environmental issues like wilding pines, protecting spawning fish and erosion are better managed,” Dr Smith says.
Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith today recognised Fuji Xerox for its efforts to responsibly manage the environmental effects of its products, with the company awarded product accreditation under the Waste Minimisation Act for its Zero Landfill scheme.
“The Zero Landfill scheme from Fuji Xerox is a great example of how forward-thinking businesses can manage and mitigate their impact through proactive product stewardship. The scheme aims to recycle and reuse an estimate 99.5 per cent of Fuji Xerox equipment and products – including printers, copiers, toner bottles, print cartridges, drums, rollers and fuser oil, and packaging – resulting in approximately 1200 tonnes being diverted from landfill each year,” Dr Smith says.
Find out more about the Fuji Xerox Zero Landfill product stewardship scheme on this website.
The winners of the 2015 Green Ribbon Awards have been announced by Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith and Conservation Minister Maggie Barry in at a ceremony at Parliament on 4th June. This year’s awards, which mark the 25th anniversary of the event, recognised the achievements of some of New Zealand's most innovative and hard-working environmental champions.
Finalists for 2015 were selected from 70 nominations and included community groups, scientists, councils and businesses. Award categories covered a range of environmental specialisations such as biodiversity protection, reducing emissions, minimising waste, caring for water and protecting oceans and coasts. Alongside these were five leadership categories, awarded to some of the exemplary projects and people that inspired others to action and achieved great results for conserving and restoring New Zealand’s environment.
The Government has provided $4.1 million funding over four years for development and operation of a supply management strategy for New Zealand’s Emission Trading Scheme (NZ ETS). This includes consideration and design of an auctioning function, although no decisions have been made about when or if such a system might be implemented.
The NZ ETS is New Zealand’s primary tool to reduce greenhouse emissions and meet our international climate change obligations. Supply management could improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the NZ ETS so it reflects the Government’s desired level of abatement and that costs on the economy are managed. It will include monitoring and modelling market activity, as well as developing policy around sources of unit supply including allocation, forestry, international units, banked and auctioned NZUs.
Under the Climate Change Response Act, any move to introduce auctioning would involve setting annual limits on New Zealand Units (NZUs), which would transparently act as a ceiling on the number of NZUs that could be auctioned. This would increase certainty and liquidity by ensuring a durable supply of NZUs.
The Government is committing $41.2 million in Budget 2015 to deliver on its priorities for the environment, Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith says.
Budget 2015 will invest an additional $20.4 million over four years to provide greater national direction and support to councils in implementing the resource management reforms.
Dr David Wratt has been appointed as the Ministry for the Environment’s Departmental Science Advisor. Dr Wratt is one of New Zealand’s most distinguished scientists, with international standing and a 30-year career in climate and meteorology. His appointment recognises the Ministry’s strong science and evidence focus. He will be responsible for ensuring the highest standards for science within, and procured by, the Ministry and will provide advice on science directly to the Secretary for the Environment.
Dr Wratt will also have a role in supporting the development of cross-government science policy and research initiatives such as the National Science Challenges. He will be working with the government’s Departmental Science Advisor Network, convened by the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor Professor Sir Peter Gluckman, to ensure science effort across Natural Resource Sector agencies is aligned, efficient and fit for purpose.
The Ministry for the Environment has reviewed the effectiveness of the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA).
Cabinet directed us to review the effectiveness of the EPA three years after it became operational on 1 July 2011.
Climate Change Issues Minister Tim Groser today called for public submissions on New Zealand‘s post 2020 climate change target.
In December countries will meet in Paris to establish a new climate change agreement. Ahead of the Paris conference, countries are expected to announce the action they will take to curb climate change. All countries have been asked to put forward a national target to reduce harmful emissions after 2020.
Find out more on our Setting New Zealand’s post-2020 climate change target web page.
Minister for Climate Change Issues Tim Groser welcomes the release of the latest Greenhouse Gas Inventory report by the Ministry for the Environment. The report covers the period since 1990 and provides details about emissions and removals for the 2013 year.
In 2013 New Zealand’s total gross greenhouse gas emissions were 81 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, a decrease of 1.4 per cent over the previous year.
The Minister for the Environment is seeking nominations for two positions on the Fiordland Marine Guardians. Find out more about the requirements and how to express your interest or nominate someone.
A new national-level report on New Zealand’s environment is due out in mid-2015. The topics and provisional statistics for this report are out now. They are subject to approval and potential changes by the Government Statistician.
See the joint media release from the Secretary for the Environment and the Government Statistician on the Statistics New Zealand website.
Read the list of topics on the Statistics New Zealand website.
The New Zealand Government and industry are responding to a criminal blackmail threat to contaminate infant and other formula with the toxin 1080. For further information please visit: www.foodprotection.govt.nz
The Green Ribbon Awards, which honour New Zealand's environmental leaders, will be a joint endeavour for the first time between the Ministry for the Environment and the Department of Conservation.
"It is appropriate in marking 25 years of celebrating exceptional contributions made by New Zealanders to our environment that we strengthen the awards by joining the forces of the Ministry for the Environment and the Department of Conservation. We are taking a more integrated approach to the awards, just as we need to take a more integrated approach to protecting our water, air, land, forests and treasured species," Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith says.
The Green Ribbon Awards honour the outstanding contributors of New Zealanders working hard to protect and enhance our environment.
“Communities, volunteers and partners are vital because Government can’t achieve all that needs to be done. I’m encouraging conservation champions from across New Zealand to nominate for these awards” Conservation Minister Maggie Barry says.
The Ministry for the Environment is pleased to announce its new MfE Data Service. The service allows free web-based access to Ministry data through open-file downloads and machine readable web service APIs.
From today we will begin to move all our environmental data that is currently publicly available onto the service. No new data will be released at this point.
The service has been made possible through a shared services agreement with Land Information New Zealand. It is based on their award winning LINZ Data Service.
Media release: A Bill to amend the Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf (Environmental Effects) Act 2012 will be introduced tomorrow to address transitional issues over the timing of existing consents, such as for the Maui platform.
“The EEZ law requires new marine consents for existing activities by the date their current mining permit expires. The Maui platform requires this consent by 28 June 2015. An application has been lodged by Shell Todd Oil Services Limited (STOS) for a marine consent with the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA), but if it is appealed it will not be resolved by that date,” Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith says.
Media release: Overhauling the Resource Management Act (RMA) is critical to addressing housing supply and affordability, and maintaining the momentum of economic and job growth as well as better managing New Zealand’s environment, Dr Nick Smith said today in his 20th annual speech to Nelson Rotary.
“The Resource Management Act has produced over 80,000 pages of plans and rules across New Zealand’s 78 councils. This 10-metre mountain of red tape is holding back the development of new houses and jobs, and it is not performing well enough in managing key resources like freshwater,” Dr Smith says.
Media release: Information on the water quality of 350 beaches around New Zealand is now accessible on-line as part of an initiative between regional councils, Cawthron Institute, Ministry for the Environment and the Tindall Foundation, Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith announced today. Read more on the Beehive website.
The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) have recently launched their new website. We think it looks fantastic!
MPI are our partners in the Natural Resources Sector and we work with them to ensure cross-agency collaboration in our policy work.
Climate Change 2014, the Synthesis Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC's) Fifth Assessment, has now been released.
The report brings together the findings from the three previously published volumes of the Working Group reports. They cover 'The Physical Science Basis, Impacts', 'Adaptation and Vulnerability' and 'Mitigation of Climate Change'.
The Climate Change Minister, Hon Tim Groser has welcomed the report. View the Minister's media release on the Beehive website.
The Ministry for the Environment has been working hard to introduce the new changes to the Marine Pollution Regulations under the Resource Management Act 1998.
Amendment to the regulations will help protect New Zealand’s marine environment by stopping garbage from being discharged into the coastal marine area.
Justin Strang, Manager of our Marine and Environmental Governance team explains, “These regulations crack down on the dumping of litter in the ocean within twelve nautical miles from the shore. This includes garbage like plastics, bottles, fishing gear, cigarette butts - all will need to be kept on the boat and disposed of onshore.
“We are working in partnership with Maritime New Zealand to promote the changes to these regulations, especially among recreational boaties.”
So remember if you’re out and about in your boat this summer: don’t throw it, stow it. Take your rubbish back to shore with you and dispose of it properly. We’ll all be doing our bit to keep our bays beautiful.
The Ministry for the Environment presented at the 26th Waste Management Institute of NZ (WasteMINZ) Annual Conference held in the capital this month. The focus of this year’s conference was on putting the ‘Resource’ into Resourceful Thinking, with emphasis on the goals set down in the New Zealand Waste Strategy to reduce the harmful effects of waste and improve the efficiency of resource use.
Submissions are sought from the public on property regulations and local rules that don’t make sense.
In particular property owners, builders, tradespeople and businesses who have experienced the issues created by irrelevant or unnecessary regulations, can now report these to a Rules Reduction Taskforce which will identify pedantic and unnecessary rules that frustrate and hinder.
Submissions can be made by filling in the online submission form at www.govt.nz/rulesreduction or by downloading the form below and posting it to Rules Reduction, The Department of Internal Affairs, P O Box 805, Wellington 6011. Alternatively you can scan and email your completed submission form to email@example.com. Please do not include personal information such as names and addresses in your submissions.
Media release: The Resource Management Act needs to explicitly recognise the importance of New Zealanders’ access to more affordable housing if the downward trend in home ownership over the past 20 years is to be reversed, Building and Housing, and Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith said today at the Property Council New Zealand’s Residential Development Summit in Auckland.
Find out more about the RMA Amendments and Reforms.
The Ministry for the Environment invites applications for Round 7 of the Community Environment Fund to enhance freshwater monitoring in New Zealand.
Applications close at 5pm on Friday 21 November 2014.
Find out more information for applicants to Round 7.
Learn more about the Community Environment Fund.