OECD reviews of New Zealand’s environmental performance

The OECD invites member countries to submit their environmental performance to peer review. This enables them to gain from the lessons and experience of their OECD counterparts. This page has performance reviews for New Zealand.Image of cover of OECD report of New Zealand's 2017 performance review

2017 report and presentation

The 2017 report is the third OECD environmental performance review for New Zealand. It makes 50 recommendations across five chapters. 

What the 2017 report covers

Chapter 1: Environmental performance

Trends and recent developments especially in air quality, climate change, waste management and biodiversity.

Chapter 2: Environmental governance and management

Focuses on institutional and regulatory frameworks for environmental governance and management, and public participation.

Chapter 3: Towards green growth

Presents the country’s efforts to mainstream environment into its economic policy and to promote the greening of the economy, such as through taxes and other pricing instruments.

Chapter 4: Fresh water management

Fresh water was selected as a topic where New Zealand can offer lessons to inform policy initiatives in other countries. It focuses on national policy reform, irrigation funding, water markets, pollution charges and natural capital accounting.

Chapter 5: Sustainable urban development

This was chosen as a topic where New Zealand could benefit from the knowledge and experience of other OECD countries. It looks at policy and planning, governance, economic instruments and sustainable housing.

What’s not in the report

The OECD does not include marine policy in any of its country environmental performance reviews although it is understood that this is being considered for the future.

About the recommendations

The review endorses many of the things currently being done to improve the state and management of our environment. It also makes some useful observations of areas to focus on. These will be considered as part of ongoing policy work.

Review process

The review team met with:

  • government officials from Natural Resources Sector agencies
  • representatives of industry, trade unions, non-government organisations and local government
  • independent experts.

Discussions focussed on the evaluation of New Zealand’s environmental performance over the past 10 years and how it could be improved.

Usefulness of the review to New Zealand

The review provides an opportunity for New Zealand to take stock of our progress and performance in managing our environment. It allows us to share our knowledge and learn from other countries. It also helps New Zealand identify where we can do better and how we might meet our particular environmental challenges.

Everyone has a part to play in managing our environment – the review provides insights that will help us shape our future direction and environmental aspirations.

Earlier reports for New Zealand

2007 report: Environmental performance reviews: New Zealand (2007) [OECD website]

1996 report: See New Zealand 1996 on Find an environmental country review [OECD website]

Background to the OECD reviews

The OECD started doing environmental performance reviews in 1992 to:

  • help member governments assess progress in achieving their environmental goals
  • promote continuous policy dialogue and peer learning
  • stimulate greater accountability.