The latest report providing metrics on the state of New Zealand’s environment is being welcomed by LGNZ’s Regional Sector as a way for councils to focus their efforts where it can make the biggest difference.
Compiled by the Ministry for the Environment using Statistics NZ data, the Environment Aotearoa 2019 Synthesis Report uses data largely sourced from regional councils, and provides a yardstick for the state of the environment across a number of areas, including ecosystems and biodiversity, climate change, land-use change and freshwater and marine.
“Local government takes environmental guardianship very seriously. As one of our four key well-beings, it is at the centre of what makes our communities such great places to live,” says LGNZ Regional Sector Deputy Chair Rachel Reese.
“The report adds to the extensive data that councils, particularly Regional Councils, gather. It gives us a greater national picture of not only where we need to focus, but also where improvements are being made, which we can continue to build upon.”
“Obtaining accurate, nationwide data from our networks is vitally important for councils – we are driving change that takes time, so it is crucial that we can monitor this and measure environmental progress.”
Regional councils provide both regulatory oversight through regional plans and the RMA, as well as delivering initiatives and programmes to deliver positive environmental outcomes across New Zealand.
“As the report makes clear, one of the major challenges we have to overcome in the environmental space is improving the quality of the information at our disposal. Too often we find that there’s missing data, limited knowledge of the effects humans are having on the environment, or an incomplete understanding of this process.”
“This is an area we are addressing through partnership programmes, which will help us make sound policy decisions that lead to better environmental and economic outcomes.”