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Message from the Secretary for the Environment and the Government Statistician

Ko te taiao he taonga tukuiho mo apopo
Our environment is a treasured gift
that we inherit for the benefit of tomorrow

New Zealand’s environment is a taonga of paramount importance. It sustains everything we depend on for healthy and prosperous lives: our economy, culture, and well-being. As New Zealanders, we need robust and reliable information to make good decisions about environmental matters that affect us. In 2013, Statistics New Zealand and the Ministry for the Environment started developing a better way to do environmental reporting. The framework, set out in the Environmental Reporting Act 2015, aims to ensure New Zealanders have environmental information that is reliable, relevant, and regular.

Under the framework, we developed New Zealand’s Environmental Reporting Series. Environment Aotearoa 2015 follows the 2014 Air domain report under this new series. Environment Aotearoa 2015 provides information on the state of New Zealand’s environment across five ‘domains’ – air, atmosphere and climate, fresh water, land, and marine. It presents the human and natural pressures that cause changes to the state of these domains, and the impacts these changes have on our environment, economy, and way of life. The report does not include discussion of response – this is a process distinct from environmental reporting, which will involve all New Zealanders as part of an ongoing national conversation.

The Environmental indicators Te taiao Aotearoa website supports this report with maps, graphs, tables, and additional technical information. The report and indicators website present environmental information in a way that is intended to be accessible to a diverse audience – from students, to scientists and policymakers.

Some domains have more information and supporting data than others. This reflects the current state of information about our environment. Over time, we will have a more comprehensive range of environmental statistics and supporting information in each report. To achieve this, we will continue to work with data providers, local and central government, and iwi and hapū, to further improve the consistency, relevance, and representativeness of our environmental information.

Environment Aotearoa 2015 is part of an ongoing effort to improve our environmental reporting, by providing high-quality information on our environment. We hope this, and future reports produced using the new environmental reporting framework, enable New Zealanders to have an informed debate around ways to address the environmental issues raised by these reports.

Vicky Robertson                                                                      Liz MacPherson
Secretary for the Environment                                                  Government Statistician