10 December 2015

Parliamentary Update - December 2015

Tēnā koe

As another year ends, I am writing to thank you for your continuing interest in the work of my office. I have found the many interactions with the Local Government and Environment Select Committee, Ministers, party spokespeople, and caucuses very rewarding.

Last month I released my second report on sea level rise – Preparing New Zealand for rising seas. The rising level of the sea will have major impacts in many places around the country, and in time, some coastal areas will become uninhabitable. We must prepare, but there is time to do so carefully. My report included eight recommendations to the Government.

As I write, world leaders and their delegations are meeting in Paris to agree a new international agreement aimed at limiting greenhouse gas emissions. Much of the commentary in New Zealand has focused on our target for 2030. I am most interested in how we are going to actually move toward a low-carbon future. An investigation into the agricultural greenhouse gases – methane and nitrous oxide – is underway in my office and I expect to release a report on this challenging topic next year.

The new Environmental Reporting Act has added a new function to my role – preparing commentaries on state of the environment reports prepared by the Ministry for the Environment and Statistics New Zealand. In October I welcomed the release of the first synthesis report Environment Aotearoa 2015. My staff have begun studying it in preparation for my commentary. 

Two other investigations are also underway – one on native birds and one on cadmium in soil. In the coming year I also anticipate making submissions on proposed changes to the Emissions Trading Scheme and the Resource Management Act.

Finally, I am pleased to report that my new website is now up and running. The new website has been designed to make the work of my office more visible and easier to access – and the photos are stunning. I encourage you to take a look. 

I look forward to engaging with you next year. But for now I would like to wish all Members and their loved ones an enjoyable, safe, and restful holiday break.

Ngā mihi o te Kirihimete me Te Tau Hou,



Dr Jan Wright

Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment