Improving environmental reporting data

This page provides information on our work to improve environmental reporting data.

Increasing the availability of data

The Environmental Reporting Act 2015 is expected to increase the focus on what environmental data is available. The Ministry for the Environment is working with Statistics New Zealand and regional councils to improve the availability of robust, representative data.

This work involves the following initiatives.

Data improvement work stream

We have set up a data improvement work stream to ensure consistent and representative data is available for future environmental reporting.

Our key areas of focus for future data are improving under-developed, insufficient, and poor-quality data.

This work may include developing new indicators, models, data sources, methodologies, analyses and presentation techniques. The Ministry will consult, assess, and advise Ministers and councils on the costs and benefits of improving this information.

Environmental Monitoring and Reporting Project

A lot of data used in national environmental reporting are provided by regional councils. We are working closely with them to support improvements to environmental reporting systems.

The Environmental Monitoring and Reporting (EMaR) Project is one way that we are working with regional councils. It involves exploring the standardisation of methods and sharing of data collection, management and exchange protocols to allow national scale interpretation of regional data. The end goal of the EMaR Project is to have environmental data collected by regional councils more widely available through Land, Air, Water Aotearoa (LAWA).

Land, Air, Water Aotearoa 

LAWA is a collaboration between the Ministry, regional councils, the Cawthron Institute and Open Lab (Massey University). Currently regional councils supply real-time water quality and quantity data and air quality data to the LAWA website. LAWA also has land cover and recreational water quality data. This allows central and local government, scientific communities and the public access to national and up-to-date datasets from a single source. It is intended that the LAWA website will be extended to host data relevant to other environmental reporting domains.

See the LAWA website.

National Environmental Monitoring Standards 

National Environmental Monitoring Standards (NEMS) are being developed to establish best practice for the ongoing measurement of our environment. The work has been funded by regional councils, the Ministry, major power generators and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

The development of the standards is managed by a NEMS steering committee of senior staff from regional councils and unitary authorities, major power generators, the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research and the Ministry.

More on these standards can be found on the NEMS website