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Preface

The environment is central to New Zealand and the Kiwi way of life. Our iconic landscapes have shaped our identity as a nation, and the resources from the land, freshwater, and sea underpin our valuable primary industries. The varied urban and rural landscapes in which we live, work, and spend leisure time form an integral part of our social, cultural, and economic well-being.

Environment New Zealand 2007 is New Zealand’s second state of the environment report. It is published at a time when there is heightened attention around the world on protecting the environment for our children and our children’s children. The risks from a changing climate, the desire to use valuable natural resources more efficiently, and the need to protect our health have all created a global momentum for environmental action.

This report builds on The State of New Zealand’s Environment 1997. It is not, however, a simple update of that report. A decade on, much has changed.

Environment New Zealand 2007:

  • reflects improvements in environmental monitoring and reporting by central and local government
  • sets a benchmark against which environmental outcomes can be monitored over time
  • represents another step in the commitment by central government to regular reporting on the state of New Zealand’s environment
  • highlights changes to environmental policy and resource management and new environmental standards and regulations.

Since 1997, New Zealand has made significant progress in ensuring sound environmental information is available to support environmental decision-making. Environment New Zealand 2007 advances this work by using environmental indicators and a range of mapping tools to present an overview of key aspects of New Zealand’s environment. This report also summarises for decision-makers the most urgent pressures on, and challenges for, our environment.

I am very pleased to bring you Environment New Zealand 2007. I have confidence that, in creating a national picture of New Zealand’s environmental well-being, this report will help shape the course of environmental management in New Zealand into the future.

Hugh Logan
Secretary for the Environment