Members of the public can have their say on proposed new restrictions to ensure New Zealanders no longer buy products containing mercury.
News and events
The government has today released the provisional emissions budget, as well as the cap and price controls for the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme, boosting the scheme’s ability to help New Zealand reach its climate change targets.
The Government has announced a major element of its COVID-19 rebuild plan with a proposed law change that will fast track eligible development and infrastructure projects under the Resource Management Act.
It concentrates on supporting essential waste sector services and job creation. Submit an expression of interest by noon Friday 22 May.
The Ministry for the Environment is seeking nominations for the Environmental Legal Assistance Advisory Panel. There are currently five (5) Panel member positions to be filled from July 2020.
The Ministry for the Environment and Stats NZ have released the latest instalment of environmental reporting on the state of New Zealand’s freshwater – Our freshwater 2020.
A steering group to oversee the Joint Action Plan for Primary Sector Emissions (He Waka Eke Noa) has been established.
The 2020 inventory contains the emissions and removals data from 1990 to 2018.
The Ministry for the Environment has released the National Monitoring System (NMS) data for the year ending 30 June 2019.
Find out about the campaign.
Media release from Ministry for Primary Industries and Ministry for the Environment
Eight independent experts have been appointed to lead a technical review of the Overseer environmental modelling software, the Ministries for the Environment and Primary Industries announced today.
Members of the public have had their say on a proposal to manage the outdoor storage of tyres.
Today the Ministry has launched a new campaign #FeelsGoodtoRefill, pai ana ki te whakakī ano.
We are currently consulting on proposed changes to the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme. This consultation also asks for your views on a provisional emissions budget for the period 2021-2025.
• See the media release from Minister for Climate Change, James Shaw, on the Beehive website.
• See the consultation on our webpage.
With thousands of New Zealanders heading to their favourite swimming spots in rivers around the country, the Ministry for the Environment is funding research to better understand the relationship between the presence of pathogens in freshwater and people getting sick.
The Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment (QMRA) pilot study will confirm the best method to establish the link between levels of disease-causing organisms and indicators of them (such as E. coli) in New Zealand rivers to determine the health risks to people in contact with fresh water.
Swimming in summer is a part of the kiwi way of life and we want people to enjoy our rivers without fear of getting sick. Ministry for the Environment recognises that we need reliable information to be able to properly advise people of any of the potential health risks.
Being able to use our lakes and rivers safely is an issue that affects everyone, which is why Ministry for the Environment is working with research institutes (ESR, NIWA and Massey University) and regional councils to determine the best way to provide the data.
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, Ministry for the Environment, and Department of Conservation jointly welcome the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment’s report into the environmental impacts of tourism.
Read the media release: PCE report response – joint media statement from MBIE, MfE and DOC on the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment website.
Today the Minister for Climate Change, James Shaw, announced the establishment of the Climate Change Commission and the team of experts who have been appointed as Commissioners.
Dr Greg Ryder has been appointed to the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) Board.
Our consultation on a more effective landfill levy ran from 27 November 2019 to 3 February 2020.
The Ministry for the Environment applauded community leadership and a passion to clean up waterways, as it congratulated the Tasman River Recovery Project for winning the River Story Award at the NZ River Awards last night.
The Ministry for the Environment and Stats NZ welcome a report released today by Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Simon Upton, which reviews the performance of the reporting system created under the Environmental Reporting Act 2015.
The Ministry for the Environment (MfE) has thrown a proverbial cat among the kererū in the Bird of the Year awards, as a sneak peak at early results released by Forest and Bird show front-running candidates kākāpo and hoiho trying to elbow out the competition.
The Minister for Climate Change has announced the start of public consultation on a new regime that would require companies to assess and report their climate-related financial risks. This will ensure that companies understand and disclose how climate change will impact both their business and investments.
The Government has announced its plan to work with the agricultural sector to reduce primary sector emissions, along with major reforms to the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme.
A new report on the state of New Zealand’s marine environment warns of the serious effects of climate change and other issues on the unique life in our oceans and coasts.
The assessment is due to be delivered to Government by mid-2020.
The Resource Management Amendment Bill has passed its first reading. This is the first stage in the government’s work programme to improve our resource management system.
Media release from Associate Minister for the Environment Eugenie Sage:
Environment Minister David Parker has announced the Resource Management Review Panel for the Government's comprehensive review of the RMA. The review was announced in July.
Media release from the Environment Minister:
The Government is taking action to stop the degradation of our waterways and clean up our rivers and lakes within a generation.
“Our rivers, lakes and wetlands are under serious threat after years of neglect. We can’t continue to go on like we are. If we don’t fix things now they only get worse and will be more expensive to fix,” Environment Minister David Parker said.
“Our Action Plan for Healthy Waterways aims is stop the degradation of our rivers and lakes, achieve a noticeable improvement in five years and restore our waterways within a generation.
“Many of the places we swam as kids are not safe to swim anymore. That’s not good enough. Our plan will stop things getting worse and start to reverse the damage.
Mary-Anne Macleod has been appointed to the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) Board. Dr Nicki Crauford has been reappointed.
A new approach to urban planning designed to allow our cities to make room for growth has today been released by Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford and Environment Minister David Parker.
The Ministry for the Environment has today launched public consultation on proposed changes to New Zealand’s hazardous substances management system.
The aim is to improve the process for assessing new and existing hazardous substances, thereby incentivising the introduction of beneficial and ‘greener’ substances.
The Ministry has identified a number of opportunities to improve their assessment. One of the options is to enable better use of overseas information to promptly assess any priority chemicals the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has identified as being in need of review. The EPA is responsible for assessing and setting the controls on the chemicals we use in our homes, workplaces, fields and factories.
Media release from the Environment Minister and Agriculture Minister:
New Zealand’s most fertile and versatile land will be given new protection under proposals released today by Environment Minister David Parker and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor.
Media release from the Prime Minister and Environment Minister:
The Government has today announced the next step in its plan to clean up our rivers and lakes by supporting community-led programmes, delivering on the Wellbeing Budget’s investment to clean up our waterways.
“Every New Zealander should be able to swim in their river without getting sick,” Jacinda Ardern said.
“Sadly, half of our monitored swimming sites are not safe for swimming.
“Today, we are focusing on cleaning up the Kaipara, the largest estuary in New Zealand, showing how it will be done – a unified effort led by the community, with Government support.
Media release from Associate Minister for the Environment Eugenie Sage:
The Government is proposing a new way to deal with environmentally harmful products before they become waste, including plastic packing and bottles, as part of a wider plan to reduce the amount of rubbish ending up in landfills.
Associate Minister for the Environment, Eugenie Sage released a public consultation document titled, “Proposed priority products and priority product stewardship scheme guidelines” at the Sustainability Trust in Wellington today.
“New Zealanders are proud of our country’s clean, green reputation and want to help ensure we live up to it.
“Well-designed product stewardship schemes ensure that those making, selling and using products all help take responsibility to recover the materials and avoid them ending up in landfills,” Eugenie Sage said.
Media release from the Minister of Climate Change James Shaw:
Climate Change Minister James Shaw has today released the Government’s Climate Action Plan in response to the Productivity Commission’s inquiry into the low emissions economy.
“Our Government is committed to a just and rapid transition to a low emissions economy, because it’s vital that we play our part looking after our planet. We’re already taking action on many of the Productivity Commission’s recommendations. Climate change is an urgent issue requiring an urgent response, to ensure a stable climate for future generations of New Zealanders,” James Shaw said.
Media release from Climate Change Minister James Shaw and Forestry Minister Shane Jones:
A third set of fixes to the ETS has been made as the Government continues its work with industry to reach our climate change goals, Climate Change Minister James Shaw and Forestry Minister Shane Jones said.
The latest changes to the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme will give certainty, flexibility and incentives to participants in the ETS as the Government progresses its plan to tackle the long-term challenge of climate change.
Sensible improvements include allowing foresters using averaging accounting, to move their plantations to more suitable parts of their property and recover from storm or fire damage, without being financially penalised.
They also provide the long-sought-after detail on how to gradually reduce free allocation to major industrial emitters, which was envisaged at the creation of the ETS in 2008. This will not affect the 95 per cent free allocation to the agricultural sector.
Media release from Environment Minister David Parker and Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash:
The Government is moving to cut the complexity involved with re-consenting existing marine farms by creating a consistent set of rules across the country.
Cabinet has approved policy provisions for the drafting of a National Environmental Standard for Marine Aquaculture (NES). Following drafting of the new regulations, the NES will go to Cabinet for a final decision in early 2020, Environment Minister David Parker and Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash said.
“The NES cuts red tape by standardising rules nationally for renewals of existing marine farms.
“This achieves the right balance for industry and councils,” David Parker said.
Media release from Environment Minister David Parker:
The Government has today launched a comprehensive overhaul of the Resource Management Act (RMA) to cut complexity and costs and better enable urban development, while also improving protection of the environment.
Environment Minister David Parker said that close to 30 years after it was passed the country’s main law managing built and natural environments was not working as well as intended.
“It is unacceptable for this cornerstone law to be underperforming in a country that values protection of the environment while properly housing its people,” David Parker said.
“Our aim is to produce a revamped law fit for purpose in the 21st century that will cut complexity and cost while better protecting our environment.
Media release from Climate Change Minister James Shaw and Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor:
The Government has reached an historic consensus with farming leaders to implement farm-level pricing of climate change emissions from the agriculture sector by 2025; signalling a strong commitment from the Government and farming leadership to cooperate in order to tackle climate change, announced the Minister for Climate Change, James Shaw.
Today the Government launched a consultation document, informed by the work of the Interim Climate Change Committee (ICCC), on how to bring agriculture into the emissions trading scheme, a key part of the Government’s plan to tackle climate change and reduce New Zealand’s emissions.
Agricultural emissions make up nearly half of New Zealand’s total emissions profile and are the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in New Zealand.
Whether you want to know how to start a catchment group, the many ways that good management practices can help your farm or lifestyle block, or the environmental code of practice for the deer industry — it’s all now available on the NZ Landcare Trust website.
Teachers can download resources made for use in schools, including the very popular Hooked on Native Fish series, and the WETMAK (Wetland Monitoring Kit) is also a useful monitoring resource for schools and community groups.
NZ Landcare Trust is a non-governmental organisation that focuses on improving land and water quality across the country. The Ministry for the Environment provides funding for NZ Landcare Trust's core programme of work.
Media release from the Beehive
The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) will invest in projects to tackle waste in New Zealand, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage have announced today.
The Ministers are marking the start of plastic free July by announcing a $40 million allocation from the PGF as part of the Wellbeing Budget.
“The funding will be used to invest in projects that convert waste, including plastic waste, into materials and products useful to businesses and consumers,” Shane Jones said. Read more on the Beehive website
See also Investing to tackle New Zealand’s waste and plastics challenges and Guide to the Provincial Growth Fund [Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment's Grow Regions website].
Media release from Associate Minister for the Environment Eugenie Sage:
The ban on single-use plastic shopping bags, which takes effect on 1 July, is a step towards healthier oceans and giving nature a hand, says Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage.
“New Zealanders are proud of our country’s clean, green reputation and want to help ensure we live up to it. Ending the use of single-use plastic shopping bags helps do that” says Eugenie Sage.
“From tomorrow, 1 July, the ban will cover all retailers. People who take their own re-useable bags help local businesses and markets. New regulations mean such businesses can no longer provide their customers with a single-use plastic shopping bag to carry their purchases.”Read more on the Beehive website
The second set of improvements to the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (NZ ETS) have been announced to further encourage greenhouse gas emissions reductions and increase forestry planting, said the Minister for Climate Change.
The Ministry is delighted to welcome Anne Haira and Sam Buckle to its executive leadership team in June.
New Zealand was one of about 180 countries to agree via consensus on Friday 10 May to better regulate global trade in plastic waste to prevent environmental pollution.
The agreement to amend the Basel Convention means exporters of contaminated or hard-to-recycle plastic waste will require consent from the Governments of receiving countries before shipping.
This amendment will not prevent the trade of plastic waste but will incentivise trade in high-quality, sorted, clean plastic waste and help ensure that that materials are being shipped for the purposes of recycling.
After changes to international recycling markets in 2018, the New Zealand Government set up a taskforce to look at how our resource recovery system is functioning and how to bring more processing of recyclables onshore. The taskforce’s recommendations we announced on Friday.
The Basel Convention amendment will come into force on 1 January 2021.
Today the Government announced another part of its plan to help turn around our New Zealand’s rubbish record on waste.
Dr Alison Collins is the Ministry for the Environment’s Departmental Chief Science Advisor - Kaitohutohu Mātanga Pūtaiao Matua. Alison reflects on the recently released United Nations report on biodiversity and why we need to care about what is happening in Aotearoa New Zealand.
Prime Minister Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern media release
The Government is today delivering landmark action on climate change – the biggest challenge facing the international community and New Zealand.
“To address the long-term challenge of climate change, today we introduce the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill to Parliament,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.
“We’ve built a practical consensus across Government that creates a plan for the next 30 years, which provides the certainty industries need to get in front of this challenge.
Today the Ministry for the Environment has released fresh guidance for businesses and organisations wanting to track their emissions.
Media release from Environment Associate Minister Eugenie Sage:
The Government is backing New Zealanders with innovative ideas to solve our waste crisis Associate Minister for the Environment Eugenie Sage said today as she opened a fresh round of Waste Minimisation Funding.
"I am excited to open this new round of Waste Minimisation Funding. The fund backs New Zealanders with innovative ideas for new projects that help tackle our mounting waste problem,” Eugenie Sage said.
“We’re inviting New Zealand businesses and community organisations to work with us to find new solutions to old problems. It's a chance to speed up our transition to an economy where products are designed to be fixed or their materials recovered and re-used so they don’t end up in the landfill. Doing this will keep precious resources in use much longer.
A new report shows the way we live and make a living is having a serious impact on our environment.
Media release from Climate Change Minister James Shaw:
Submissions on improvements to the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) show that there is broad support to make improvements to the scheme, says the Minister for Climate Change.
The Ministry for the Environment has today released a summary of submissions made during last year’s consultation on improvements to the ETS.
“I would like to thank everyone who took the time to make submissions on the proposals,” James Shaw said.
“Just over 250 submitters contributed their views from a variety of sectors. We heard a consistent message that providing more certainty is important to scheme participants which is why we are putting in place more predictable processes to manage the supply of units over time.”
To assist with preparing for the upcoming plastic bag ban, the Ministry for the Environment has released guidance for businesses.
by Alison Collins, Departmental Science Advisor at Ministry for the Environment
Media release from Climate change Minister James Shaw
New Zealand’s latest Greenhouse Gas Inventory shows emissions are on the rise, underscoring why the Government is taking action on climate change.
The Inventory shows New Zealand’s gross emissions increased 2.2 per cent between 2016 and 2017, and have increased by 23.1 per cent between 1990 and 2017.
“That shows why we need the kind of clear policies and actions the Government’s proposing on climate change,” Minister for Climate Change James Shaw said.
The Minister for Climate Change, James Shaw, has announced the details of a new panel that has been established to create the framework for New Zealand’s first National Climate Change Risk Assessment. The framework will provide the foundation to compare different types of climate risks.
The nine members of the expert panel come from a range of backgrounds, including research, engineering, and the public sector. Panel members have expertise in climate change risk and risk assessments, vulnerability assessments, and risk in the context of Te Ao Māori. The panel will be chaired by Dr Anne Bardsley.
Media release from Environment Minister David Parker
Plans will be easier to prepare, use and understand under the Resource Management Act (RMA) with the release of new National Planning Standards.
Environment Minister David Parker said the move would reduce compliance costs and address criticisms that RMA plans are unduly complex.
“Standardising the format of local government plans made under the RMA and the definitions used in them is a step forward,” David Parker said at the New Zealand Planning Institute’s Conference today.
Rated as one of the Global Top 10 Thinkers in 2018, Chris Kutarna is taking centre stage at New Zealand’s first circular economy summit.
The Ministry for the Environment has released the National Monitoring System (NMS) data for the year ending 30 June 2018.
The NMS collects detailed information from local authorities on functions, tools and processes they are responsible for under the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA). It provides transparency to the New Zealand public on how councils are fulfilling their duties under the RMA. It also provides important insights into how RMA processes are working, what can be improved and where further development is needed.
In addition to the complete dataset, summarised information is available on the following topics:
- Resource consents
- Complaints, compliance, monitoring and enforcement
- Māori participation
- Council resourcing for plan-making processes, processing resource consents, monitoring, compliance and enforcement
Applications have closed.
Today is International Day of Women and Girls in Science. The theme is investment in women and girls in science for inclusive green growth.
Ministry for the Environment
Statement on international travel
This statement is in response to an article that ran on Stuff and in the Dominion Post on Friday 11 January 2018.
The Ministry fully accepts that travel by its staff is of public interest, and it is important we are held to account for the travel we undertake. We also understand that reducing our transport, where possible, is critical for us in playing our part in New Zealand’s emissions reduction. We actively try and limit the number of people travelling and the trips made, for both cost and environmental reasons.
However, the story was missing some useful context, and there were some points we don’t agree with.
Associate Minister for the Environment Eugenie Sage has today confirmed retailers will no longer be able to sell or give away single-use plastic shopping bags from 1 July 2019, after Cabinet agreed to the proposed regulations for a mandatory nationwide phase out of these bags.
Public consultation ran from 10 August to 14 September 2018 and showed strong support for the proposed regulations, with 92 per cent of submitters agreeing we should no longer have single-use plastic shopping bags in New Zealand.
The phase out will apply to all new plastic shopping bags with handles that are made of plastic up to 70 microns in thickness. This includes light-weight plastic bags commonly found at supermarket, takeaway food and other retail checkouts, heavier boutique-style shopping bags and the ‘emergency’ bags currently offered by some supermarkets as an alternative to a free single-use bag. It will also include bags fitting this description made of degradable plastic (ie, biodegradable, compostable and oxy-degradable) regardless of whether the plastic material is sourced from fossil-fuel, synthetic compounds or from biological sources such as plants.
More than 9,300 New Zealanders and organisations have had their say on the Government’s proposed mandatory phase out of single-use plastic shopping bags in New Zealand.
“We received submissions from all over the country, representing a wide range of perspectives. These have all been carefully considered in the policy advice we’ve put forward to Ministers,” says James Walker, Ministry for the Environment’s Deputy Secretary Partnerships and Customers.
The 9,354 submissions received included 6,129 standard submissions and 3,225 responses to the short online survey which asked people whether they agreed with the proposed mandatory phase out and went on to cover issues around waste reduction in everyday life.
Overall 92 per cent of submitters (including short survey respondents) supported the proposed mandatory phase out of single-use plastic shopping bags in New Zealand.
Other key themes from the standard submissions included*:
Media release from Associate Minister for the Environment, Hon Nanaia Mahuta:
A new report recommending improvements to biodiversity management will build on communities’ good work to protect our biodiversity, says Associate Minister for the Environment, Hon Nanaia Mahuta.
The Report of the Biodiversity Collaborative Group outlines a draft National Policy Statement (NPS) for Indigenous Biodiversity and provides complementary recommendations, to help halt the decline in biodiversity.
“Our biodiversity is a taonga, important to New Zealand’s environment, culture, society and economy. However, it is in rapid decline from pressures like land-use change, invasive species, and climate change, and we need to do more to ensure that it is protected,” said Hon Nanaia Mahuta.
A new initiative to halt and reverse the decline of New Zealand’s natural assets was launched in Auckland today.
The Aotearoa Circle is a unique and voluntary initiative bringing together senior leaders from across the public and private sectors. The founding members of The Aotearoa Circle share the fundamental belief that by contributing, benefits will flow to New Zealand, its environment, its people and our economy – and that prosperity comes through recognising the connection of people to nature and our responsibility to safeguard this for our mokopuna.
An environmental report released today shows that air quality in New Zealand is generally good.
Our air 2018, produced by the Ministry for the Environment and Stats NZ, shows that while some previously known issues persist, progress has been made and levels of some pollutants are declining.
“The report shows that using wood and coal burners to heat homes in winter continues to cause issues in some places. This remains the largest single cause of human-generated poor air quality in New Zealand,” Government Statistician Liz MacPherson said.
“The report also shows vehicle emissions as a leading cause of poor air quality in some places.”
“However, information from monitoring sites shows levels of some particulate matters have decreased over the past decade, which is a welcome sign, as is the resulting slight improvement in overall health outcomes,” Ms MacPherson said.
“This report paints a series of separate pictures. The overall news is good, but we still have some specific issues to address. Progress is being made with those but there’s more to do,” Deputy Secretary at the Ministry for the Environment Amanda Moran said.
Associate Minister's media release:
The state of New Zealand’s air is generally good says the Associate Minister for the Environment, Hon Nanaia Mahuta after the release of a new report on our air this morning.
Our air 2018, released by the Ministry for the Environment and Stats NZ, shows that while some pollution issues still persist, progress has been made and the levels of some pollutants are declining.
The report shows that the use of wood and coal burners to heat homes in winter continues to cause problems in some cities and towns. The other key finding is that vehicle pollution remains a concern in our major cities.
Air New Zealand has today announced a commitment to swap out its Air New Zealand owned single-use plastic packaging to compostable or recyclable alternatives on all Domestic routes by October 2019.
The Ministry for the Environment has worked collaboratively with Air New Zealand on this initiative, providing advice on lower impact, circular economy alternatives and the recycling and composting solutions that are available in New Zealand for processing packaging after use.
This is part of the Government’s circular economy work programme, in which we are working alongside New Zealand businesses to adopt circular economy approaches in their supply chains. The goal is to use resources much more efficiently in the economy, to reduce the amount of waste going into landfills, while also reducing pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
The Ministry for the Environment congratulates Air New Zealand on this commitment to reduce plastic waste and its leadership to adopt circular economy approaches in its operations.
The Ministry for the Environment is now measuring and monitoring its carbon emissions so we can do our bit to transition to a low-emissions future.
Environment Minister's media release
The Government today is announcing its next steps to improve the state of our waterways, promising a noticeable improvement in water quality within five years.
“Clean water is our birthright. Local rivers and lakes should be clean enough for our children to swim in, and put their head under, without getting crook,” Environment Minister David Parker said.
“There will be a focus on at-risk catchments so as to halt the decline. We’re not going to leave the hard issues for future generations.”
At the Paris climate change negotiations (COP 21, 2015), New Zealand led a Ministerial Declaration on Carbon Markets that has now been endorsed by 21 countries.
This Declaration sends a clear signal that carbon markets, which are included in Article 6 of the new Paris Agreement, will have a strong role after 2020. It states that interested countries will work together to ensure the development of standards and guidelines for using market mechanisms that ensure environmental integrity and avoid any double-counting or double-claiming of emissions reduction units. This gives countries, and investors, more confidence that carbon markets will be underpinned by robust standards in future years.
Following the Paris climate change negotiations officials from Declaration countries have worked to progress the development of standards and guidelines to ensure environmental integrity.
Ministry for the Environment media release
15,000 submissions on Zero Carbon Bill consultation publicly released
More than 15,000 New Zealanders and organisations have had their say on the Government’s proposed Zero Carbon Bill, and today the Ministry for the Environment publicly released the submissions and a summary of the themes.
Vicky Robertson, Secretary for the Environment, says the information the Ministry received is being taken into account as it develops policy advice for Ministers about how New Zealand should respond to climate change.
“A range of views were expressed, from every part of society, and these are all being carefully considered by Ministers as part of putting together the proposed law and the most appropriate target. Ministers are also considering recent reports on the transition to a low emissions economy from the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment and the Productivity Commission, along with economic modelling, the latest science and other relevant reports.
Today is the international day that celebrates the ozone layer, the thing stops the sun burning us to a crisp in summer, or more accurately protects the earth from the UV spectrum of the sun’s rays.
This day is the result of a protocol to protect the layer after scientists became worried in the 1980s that ozone-depleting substances, such as refrigerants in air conditioners and refrigerators, were destroying the ozone layer.
In response to their concern, the UN’s Montreal Protocol under the Vienna Convention was agreed in 1987. It began the phase out of the production and consumption of certain ozone-depleting substances by specific deadlines.
There has since been a 98 per cent decrease in the global production of ozone-depleting substances. And the ozone hole has shrunk. In 2016, the mean maximum size of the ozone hole was 20.9 million square kilometres, a 21 percent decrease from 26.6 million square kilometres in 2006.
The Productivity Commission has released its final report on the opportunities and challenges for New Zealand on the path to a low-emissions economy.
The report is extremely useful, coming now when the Government’s formulating policy on the Zero Carbon Bill. It confirms early action is needed
and that delaying it is likely to make the transition more costly, more of a shock for communities, and will limit our options.
View the report [New Zealand Productivity Commission website]
Minister's media release
More than $3 million of funding will help divert 40,000 tonnes of commercial and industrial waste from landfills in Auckland every year.
Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage today announced a Waste Minimisation Fund (WMF) grant of $3.1 million to enable Auckland recycling firm Green Gorilla to divert the waste and allow materials to be reused.
“In Auckland, construction and industrial waste makes up about 85 per cent of what is sent to landfill every year which is a significant loss of resources.
“This innovative project will reduce waste across the region and provide opportunities for new businesses that utilise the recovered materials.
The WMF provides financial support to projects that reduce environmental harm and provide social, economic and cultural benefits. It is funded from a levy charged on waste disposed of at landfills to discourage waste and to support waste minimisation initiatives. More than $92 million has been awarded to more than 150 projects to date.
Minister's media release
Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage has announced a programme of work to take action on New Zealand’s long-neglected waste problems.
Minister Sage announced a work programme approved by Cabinet to tackle waste by looking at options to better manage waste going into landfills, how to improve gathering of data on waste and options to expand product stewardship schemes.
Minister Sage said the Ministry for the Environment would lead work on:
What does wellbeing mean to you as a kiwi? How do you think we should measure New Zealand’s wellbeing?
Stats NZ is developing a set of “wellbeing” indicators that go beyond economic measures to track our progress as a country and is seeking people’s views on what those indicators should be.
It’s an effort to take a more holistic approach to measuring how we’re doing. It might be that you value sustainability, safeguarding our environment, or our infrastructure, or looking after our mental health.
The Stats NZ video describes the work like this: “We’re looking beyond the economy to include wellbeing and sustainable development in decision-making so that current and future generations of kiwis can enjoy a healthy environment and vibrant communities. We want to talk to you about how we measure and treasure our taonga now and in the future and our impact on other countries.”
Ministers' media release
Forestry Minister Shane Jones and Minister for Climate Change James Shaw have today opened consultation on improvements to the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS); New Zealand’s main tool for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The ETS encourages businesses to reduce their emissions by putting a price on them. The fewer emissions they create, the fewer ETS units they have to pay for.
“The ETS has a vital role to play in New Zealand meeting its climate change targets, but the way it currently operates means it’s not doing that,” Shane Jones said.
Media release from Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage
Single-use plastic shopping bags will be phased out over the next year, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage announced today.
“We’re phasing-out single-use plastic bags so we can better look after our environment and safeguard New Zealand’s clean, green reputation,” said Jacinda Ardern.
“We’re listening to New Zealanders who want us to take action on this problem. This year 65,000 Kiwis signed a petition calling for an outright ban. It’s also the biggest single subject school children write to me about.
“Every year in New Zealand we use hundreds of millions of single-use plastic bags – a mountain of bags, many of which end up polluting our precious coastal and marine environments and cause serious harm to all kinds of marine life, and all of this when there are viable alternatives for consumers and business.
Workshops are being held around the country to support the implementation of the updated guidance.
Ministry for the Environment welcomes Climate Leaders Coalition
The Ministry for the Environment welcomes the new Climate Leaders Coalition of 60 businesses pledging to reduce emissions and play a leadership role on New Zealand’s transition to a low emissions economy.
Secretary for the Environment Vicky Robertson says the strong stance from the CEOs of businesses, that together contribute around 50 per cent of New Zealand’s emissions, is a significant step forward for New Zealand as we move to address climate change and meet our national commitments under the Paris Agreement.
This announcement follows the Farming Leaders Group commitment to work alongside the government to achieve net zero emissions from agriculture by 2050.
“If we are going to tackle the big environmental challenges that we face as a country, we need everyone playing a part – business, our farmers, government and individuals.
The PIF is a framework designed to enable State Service leaders to identify
opportunities for improvement, building positive outcomes for New Zealand. The PIF review is conducted by independent leaders and in our case we were grateful for the work conducted and thinking delivered to us by Jenn Bestwick and Lester Levy. Our review was completed in 2017.
Traditionally a PIF takes a four-year horizon but in this case we asked our reviewers to really test us as to whether we can make a long-term difference over a longer period. They therefore gave us guidance and recommendations on both a four year and 10 to 15-year horizon to better equip us to meet our stewardship role.
You can read the full PIF on the SSC website.
Environment Minister's media release:
Plans that are easier to use and prepare under the Resource Management Act (RMA) have taken a step closer with the release of the first set of draft National Planning Standards.
“The aim is to make plans simpler and more efficient to prepare, and easier to understand and comply with,” Environment Minister David Parker said.
“Standardising plan format and definitions is long overdue. It will reduce compliance costs, and address some of the justified criticisms by those who find RMA plans unduly complex,” he said.
Climate Change Minister's media release
The Minister for Climate Change has welcomed WWF-New Zealand’s Open Letter offering its congratulations on the Government’s goal of getting the country to net zero emissions by 2050.
Their support comes the day before public consultation on the proposed Zero Carbon Bill begins.
It has been signed by more than 200 people including business leaders from Z Energy, Les Mills gyms, DB Breweries, the Body Shop and Meridian Energy, as well as the mayors of Wellington, Whanganui, Christchurch, Gisborne and Auckland.
“Momentum is building for the Zero Carbon Bill and tomorrow the Government will begin a nationwide series of public meetings to hear peoples’ views, backed up with an interactive online engagement tool and some hefty policy analysis in a discussion document,” said James Shaw.
Local and international businesses commit to using 100 per cent reusable, recyclable or compostable packaging in their New Zealand operations by 2025 or earlier.
In an important milestone, 12 international and several local businesses gathered with Environment Ministers today to make a joint declaration committing to use 100 per cent reusable, recyclable or compostable packaging in their New Zealand operations by 2025 or earlier.
The businesses include multinationals Amcor, Danone, L’Oréal, Mars, PepsiCo, The Coca-Cola Company, Unilever and Nestlé. The New Zealand Declaration reaffirms the commitment they have made, as participants in the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy initiative, to meet this target in their global operations.
The New Zealand-based businesses that signed the Declaration include Foodstuffs, Countdown (including SuperValue and Fresh Choice), New Zealand Post and Frucor Suntory.
A new action plan launched today by farming sector leaders and environment and agriculture Ministers will support the implementation of good farming practices that improve this country’s freshwater quality.
The aim of the Good Farming Practice Action Plan for Water Quality is to have every farmer and grower supported with a farm environment plan. This will help them identify and implement relevant good farming practices for their farm and catchment. It will also enable them to monitor and report on progress.
A farm environment plan can also help farmers and growers to recognise environmental risks and set out ways to manage those risks.
See the plan [Federated Farmers website]
If New Zealand hopes to adapt to the effects of climate, proactive planning needs to be urgently woven into the work of every organisation at every level in every sector, says a group of climate change adaptation experts.
Media release from the Environment Minister
A new unit will be established to oversee compliance with the Resource Management Act (RMA) and to improve consistency across councils, says Environment Minister David Parker.
“At present compliance, monitoring and enforcement actions are somewhat variable across councils,” says David Parker.
“The unit will improve the consistency, effectiveness and transparency of council enforcement of RMA rules and decisions.”
Media release from the Climate change Minister
Budget 2018 marks a significant step in our plan to transition to a net-zero-emissions economy by 2050, says Climate Change Minister James Shaw.
“The Green Investment Fund will stimulate significant private-sector finance into the low-emissions projects and businesses that New Zealand needs.
“In places like Australia, the UK and some US states, green investment funds have been hugely successful, attracting capital to fund low-carbon transitions and reduce climate pollution. As Mōhio’s recent climate-finance report1 states, global capital is already shifting into climate-aligned investments. Our plan will make New Zealand part of that shift.
The Waste Minimisation Fund is now open for applications for the 2018 contestable funding round until Monday 14 May at 12pm.
This year we are encouraging applicants to focus on initiatives that will accelerate New Zealand’s transition towards the circular economy.
The essential concept at the heart of the circular economy is to ensure we can unmake everything we make.
The products we use are often designed and manufactured with little thought for the resources consumed in making them, or what happens to them at the end of their life. Damaged or broken products usually go directly into landfill. This take-make-dispose mindset has created a linear economy.
A circular economy mindset of make-use-return is an alternative to the linear economy in which we design from the outset resources that can be kept in use for as long as possible, extract the maximum value from them whilst in use, then recover and regenerate products and materials at the end of each service life.
The Low-emissions economy draft report released today by the New Zealand Productivity Commission supports work the Government already has underway to transition to a low-emission economy by 2050.
The Productivity Commission’s draft report clearly shows it’s possible for New Zealand to transition to a low-emissions economy but that it will require major changes in order to reap the rewards.
Some of the recommendations made in the Productivity Commission’s draft report are already underway such as:
An environmental report released today has found we are damaging and losing our soils and our native plants and animals.
Our land 2018 is the latest report in the environmental reporting series published by the Ministry for the Environment and Stats NZ.
Government Statistician Liz MacPherson said the environmental reporting series was vital in providing a clearer picture of the state of our environment.
“These reports help us more fully understand our environment, track the positive and negative impacts of human activities over time, and identify some of the key challenges,” Ms MacPherson said.
“Important parts of the land story are missing. There are significant gaps in our knowledge and the available data, especially integrated data at a national scale.”
Summary of the key findings from the report:
Our soil is affected by erosion and intensive agriculture:
192 million tonnes of soil are lost every year from erosion – 44 percent of this is from pasture.
"The New Zealand Fish Passage Guidelines sets out recommended practice for the design of instream infrastructure to provide for fish passage. The intent of these guidelines, developed by NIWA and DOC in partnership with the New Zealand Fish Passage Advisory Group, is to set the foundation for improved fish passage management in New Zealand.
These guidelines have been developed to assist infrastructure designers and managers, waterway managers, environmental officers, iwi and local communities with understanding and promoting better management of fish passage requirements in New Zealand. The guidelines set out best-practice approaches and minimum design standards for providing fish passage at instream structures based on current knowledge. The general principles of good fish passage design set out in these guidelines should provide a basis for developing suitable infrastructure designs in most situations regularly encountered in New Zealand.
The guidelines are based on the principle that good fish passage design achieves the following general objectives:
Media release from the Climate Change Minister
The Minister for Climate Change today announced the membership of the Interim Climate Change Committee, which will begin work on how New Zealand transitions to a net zero emissions economy by 2050.
“We need work to start now on how things like agriculture might enter into the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (NZETS), and we need planning now for the transition to 100 percent renewable electricity generation by 2035,” says James Shaw.
Climate Change Minister's media release
The latest inventory of New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions shows that, as at 2016, there had been a 19.6 percent increase in emissions on 1990 levels, Climate Change Minister James Shaw has announced.
The inventory gives a picture of how much human-generated greenhouse gas is being emitted into and removed from our atmosphere – and shows there’s still much to be done to reduce emissions to 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.
Ombudsman’s OIA review
The Chief Ombudsman has commenced four self-initiated investigations into the Official Information practices of the public sector. The agencies involved are the Ministry for the Environment, Ministry for Culture and Heritage, the Department of Conservation and Land Information New Zealand. We’ve been chosen as one of the first four agencies for review because delivering better environmental outcomes for New Zealanders is a key priority for the Government.
If you’ve made an OIA request to the Ministry for the Environment in the past 6-12 months then the Chief Ombudsman would like to hear from you. You’re invited to provide feedback through this survey (open until 27 April).
Replies will be held in confidence by the Office of the Ombudsman, and are not subject to disclosure under the OIA. Individual survey responses will not be disclosed and your identity will remain confidential
You may have heard of the 7x7 ideas forum, which has been doing the rounds in Wellington.
We are hosting the next 7x7 event showcasing a fantastic line-up of people highlighting environment-related initiatives. This is on 6 April from 5:30pm to 8:30 pm.
Seven speakers, each with seven minutes to talk, will deliver a concentrated mix of new ideas, success stories, and provocations.
The speakers are from:
- Kermadec Sanctuary
- Wa Collective
- The Formary
- Kemi & Niko
- Gen Zero (Zero Carbon Act consultation)
7x7 aims to break down silos and trigger the network effect, celebrating what’s already happening in our businesses and communities, and helping to accelerate those successes. Shining spotlights into the shadows and highlighting hidden talent. 7x7 is about generosity and our ability to help each other shine.
Following the speakers, there will be some networking time over drinks and nibbles.
The 7x7 events are organised by Nick Gerritsen.
World Water Day (22 March) is an opportunity to acknowledge the efforts of many New Zealanders.
Media release from the Climate Change Minister
From today New Zealanders can register their interest in being part of the Government’s consultation on what the Zero Carbon Bill should look like, Climate Change Minister James Shaw has announced.
“We know many New Zealanders want to be part of the discussion on how we reduce our emissions and want to be kept updated in the lead up to formal consultation starting around the end of May.
“So we’ve set up an online registration process on the Ministry for the Environment website for individuals or organisations who want to be kept informed between now and then.
Media release from the Climate Change Minister
The Government is inviting input as it sets the priorities for New Zealand at international climate change negotiations.
At Paris in 2015, 174 countries, plus the European Union, committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and limit global temperature rise this Century to well below 2 degrees Celsius.
At the end of this year (2-14 December), international negotiators meet in Katowice, Poland, for the 24th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP24) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
The purpose of COP24 is to work out the guidelines for how countries work together to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.
From today, New Zealanders are invited to have their say on what they think New Zealand’s stance on those guidelines should be.
Minister's media release:
The May round of the Waste Minimisation Fund will target projects that build in reducing waste from the outset, Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage said today.
“We need to stop thinking that recycling is the answer to our waste problems when actually producing less waste in the first place is better for the environment and our country,” Ms Sage said.
“I hope to see projects come through that encourage a circular economy where we make, use and return products and materials instead of the current model where we take resources, use them then dispose of them.”
New Zealand is committed to both domestic and international climate change progress. As a party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol we report our actions in New Zealand’s National Communication and Biennial Reports.
Read the latest reports published on 18 December 2017.
- National communication and biennial report snapshot
- New Zealand's Seventh National Communication
- New Zealand’s Third Biennial report
Minister's Media Release
The Minister for Climate Change, James Shaw, is pleased to announce today the Government’s first important step towards creating a Zero Carbon Act. “Today the Government is making the first important move to deliver on our commitments to be a world leader on climate change,” says James Shaw. “Cabinet has agreed to a process of consultation in 2018, before the Zero Carbon Bill is introduced.
The Bill will be a cornerstone of New Zealand’s transition to a low emissions, climate resilient future. “I’m looking forward to engaging in conversations with New Zealanders next year as together we design the framework for New Zealand to transition to a sustainable economy.
New reports released today show a clearer picture of the scale and urgency we face over climate change, along with guidance on managing and adapting to the results of global warming, Climate Change Minister James Shaw says
The Ministry for the Environment has today released National Monitoring System (NMS) data for the year ending 30 June 2016.
The NMS requires councils, the Ministry for the Environment, the Environmental Protection Authority and Department of Internal Affairs to provide detailed data each year on the functions, tools, and processes that they are responsible for under the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA).
It provides transparency for the New Zealand public on how agencies are fulfilling their roles under the RMA. It also provides important insights on what parts of RMA processes are working well, what can be improved and where further policy is needed.
Data-sets and analysis have been published on the following topics.
- Resource consents
- Complaints, compliance, monitoring and enforcement
- Maori participation
Ministers' media release
Minister for the Environment David Parker and Associate Minister for the Environment Eugenie Sage, have today welcomed Cabinet approval of the regulations banning microbeads.
“Plastic microbeads are found in personal care products such as facial cleansers, bath scrubs and toothpaste,” says Mr Parker.
“They get washed down the drain but are too small to be fully captured by our waste water treatment systems. These minute plastic particles enter the marine environment where they accumulate, do not biodegrade, and are mistaken for food. This causes long-term damage to New Zealand’s marine life.”
New Zealand is seeing impacts of excess greenhouse gas emissions in our climate and oceans, according to the latest national report.
The changes to consenting processes under the RMA - brought about by the Resource Legislation Amendment Act 2017 - have come into force today, along with a new requirement for planning and some changes to the Conservation Act.
These changes include:
The Ministry for the Environment wishes to correct a statement made on the Newsroom website today.
The Newsroom item stated that the Ministry is reviewing the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA). That claim was reportedly based on comments from Sir Peter Gluckman, the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor.
Both the Ministry for the Environment and the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor have confirmed that no such review of the EPA is underway.
“The Ministry for the Environment is responsible for monitoring the EPA’s performance on behalf of the Minister for the Environment, but we have no review of the EPA underway, or any plans to do so. Nor do we play a role in reviewing the EPA’s assessments or approvals of hazardous substances. To do so would encroach on their independence as New Zealand’s regulatory authority on hazardous substances and new organisms,” said Ministry Chief Executive Vicky Robertson.
“My comments about the Ministry for the Environment being in contact with the EPA were not meant to imply that a formal review was underway,” Sir Peter Gluckman said
Minister's media release:
The sale and manufacture of wash-off products containing plastic microbeads will be banned in New Zealand earlier than previously expected, Associate Environment Minister Scott Simpson announced today.
“Microbeads pose a high risk to our aquatic and marine environments. They are too small to retrieve or recycle, do not biodegrade, and are mistaken by marine life for food, causing long-term damage to marine animals,” Mr Simpson says.
At the Paris climate change negotiations (COP 21), New Zealand led a Ministerial Declaration on Carbon Markets that was endorsed by 17 other countries. This Declaration sends a clear signal that carbon markets, which are included in Article 6 of the new Paris Agreement, will have a strong role after 2020. It states that interested countries will work together to develop standards and guidelines for using market mechanisms that ensure environmental integrity and avoid any double-counting or double-claiming of emissions reduction units. This gives countries, and investors, more confidence that carbon markets will be underpinned by robust standards in future years.
View the Declaration on Carbon Markets
Any country wanting to support the declaration can contact the Ministry at firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
Our atmosphere and climate 2017 reports on greenhouse gas emissions and how these are affecting our environment.
New Zealanders believe reducing waste is the second most important challenge we face over the next 20 years. So why not set some goals to reduce your waste?
New Zealanders love a good BBQ. But all too often a fun evening with friends ends with a rubbish bag full of disposable plastic plates, cups and cutlery, food wrap and other waste.
Ways to cut down on the waste you produce at home.
There has been a lot of debate in the media about biodegradable plastics – that’s because not all of these plastics are created equal, and some can have an adverse impact on nature especially if they don’t end up in the environment they are designed to break down in.
Summary of the approach developed to help local government and others assess, plan for, and manage the increasing risks facing coastal communities.
With the Government’s mandatory phase out of single-use plastic shopping bags set to take effect from around mid-2019, why not start bringing reusable bags with you now.
Summary of expected impacts of climate change on New Zealand over the medium and long term
Here are some gift ideas that will help reduce the amount of waste being sent to landfills.
Making the switch from single-use plastics to reusable options is easy, like these five examples.
The golden rule of reducing waste and supporting a ‘circular economy' is to only buy what you need in the first place.
Recycling is a great way to reduce waste – but many of us aren’t recycling right, which means recyclables can end up in landfill despite our best intentions. So here are three steps to up your recycling game.
Choosing to buy products and packaging made from recycled materials is a great way to help reduce waste and support New Zealand’s transition to a circular economy approach.
With circular economy principles catching on fast in New Zealand and around the world, buying products and packaging made from recycled materials is set to become as routine as placing our cans, plastics and glass out on the kerb for recycling.
I want to briefly cover the headlines of the report and talk about what I think this means for us as a country. In this report, we deliberately focus on the biggest challenges we face - so by definition the story the report tells is a negative one. None of the challenges are new – what’s new is how this report identifies the significance and the urgency of each issue.
Understanding the issues means we can choose what we do next. I am optimistic that together we can tackle these challenges. We know that when we work together and focus our efforts, we can make big changes.
Let me briefly outline the headlines in the report and then talk about the way forward. Our native plants, animals and ecosystems are under threat. Almost 4,000 of our native species are currently threatened with, or at risk of extinction. The status has worsened for 86 species, and improved for 26, but more than half of those rely on active conservation help.
Simply put, the circular economy is based on the idea of using the same resources over and over again – rather than continuously extracting more from nature.
Recycling is an easy way to reduce the amount of waste going into landfills, but it’s essential that we take the time to do this right.