About the Environmental Reporting Act 2015

This page explains why the Environmental Reporting Act 2015 was introduced and what it means for environmental reporting in New Zealand.

Link to the Act

Environmental Reporting Act 2015 [New Zealand Legislation website]

In September 2015 the Environmental Reporting Act 2015 (the Act) was passed into law.

What the Act does

The Act makes responsibilities for environmental reporting explicit. It also sets the broad framework for the scope of reporting and timing for reporting products.

Who does what under the Act

Under the Act, the Government Statistician and the Secretary for the Environment have responsibility for environmental reporting.

Government Statistician [Stats NZ website]

Secretary for the Environment

The involvement of the Government Statistician ensures that reporting is conducted at arm's length from the Government of the day and released in line with: 

Principles and protocols for producers of Tier 1 statistics [Stats NZ archive website].

The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment can comment on any aspect of reporting which provides a further degree of independence.  

Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment [Parliamentary Commissioner website]

Framework for environmental reporting

The framework for environmental reporting divides the environment into five environmental domains for the purpose of reporting. Under each domain we report on three main types of information: pressures, states and impacts.

Topics for each domain are set in the Environmental Reporting (Topics for Environmental Reports) Regulations 2016, under the Environmental Reporting Act 2015.

For more information on the:

Reporting using the framework

The Environmental Reporting Act 2015 requires us to publish one domain report every six months and a synthesis report on New Zealand's environment as a whole every three years.

See Reports: New Zealand's environmental reporting series

See also Environmental Reporting Series – release dates [Stats NZ website].

Introducing the Act

The changes to environmental reporting introduced by the Act follow the recommendations in the document ‘Measuring up: Environmental reporting – A discussion document’ released in 2011. This document put forward options for improving environmental reporting.

It proposed the following key changes:

  • improve the consistency of environmental monitoring statistics at local levels
  • create a statutory obligation in New Zealand to require regular and independent state of the environment reporting.

There were 76 submissions to the discussion document.

For further information see:

Find out more

Media releases and speeches on the Beehive website