Aoraki
Mt Cook

About us

As an independent Officer of Parliament, the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment has wide-ranging powers to investigate environmental concerns. 'Independent' means independent of the government of the day, so the the Commissioner reports not to a Government Minister but to Parliament through:

  • the Speaker of the House
  • the Officers of Parliament Committee.

The Commissioner is quite separate from the Ministry for the Environment (MfE). The Ministry is a government department and policy adviser, responsible to the Minister for the Environment.

Mission and values:

But as an Officer of Parliament, the Commissioner's job is to hold the Government to account for its environmental policies and actions. The Commissioner is a policy reviewer standing outside the system of environmental management and reporting on it.

The office was set up under the Environment Act 1986, and the Commissioner is appointed for a five-year term. In 2010 Parliament voted $2.667 million to fund the office (details on Treasury's website, PDF 180 KB).

The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment is one of three Officers of Parliament. The other two are the Office of the Controller and Auditor-General and the Office of the Ombudsmen.

The current Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment is Dr Jan Wright.