Lake Rotoiti
Nelson Lakes National Park

All publications

TitleDate
Evaluating the use of 1080: Predators, poisons and silent forests Update Report

In June 2011 the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment released a report entitled Evaluating the use of 1080: Predators, poisons and silent forests. This update assesses the response to that report and its recommendations.

Jul 2014
Update report - Hydroelectricity or wild rivers: Climate change versus natural heritage

Jun 2014
Update Report - Making difficult decisions: Mining the conservation estate

Jun 2014
Drilling for oil and gas in New Zealand: Environmental oversight and regulation

Jun 2014
Submission on the Environmental Reporting Bill to the Local Government and Environment Committee

Apr 2014
Proposed amendments to the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2011

Feb 2014
Water quality in New Zealand: Land use and nutrient pollution

Nov 2013
Annual Report for the year ended 30 June 2013

Oct 2013
Investigating the future of conservation: The case of stewardship land

This report is about ‘stewardship land’ – a category of conservation land that makes up about one-third of the land managed by the Department of Conservation. I feel a personal connection with one significant area of stewardship land – one of my great grandfathers built the sheepyards at St James Station in North Canterbury in the 1870s. Today it is the St James Conservation Area. But it is stewardship land, and as such is one of the many areas on the conservation estate with the weakest legal protection.

Aug 2013
Smart electricity meters: How households and the environment can benefit Update Report

In June 2009, the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment released a report titled Smart electricity meters: How households and the environment can benefit. This update assesses the response to that report and its recommendations.

Jun 2013
Water Quality in New Zealand: Understanding the science Update Report

In March 2012, the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment released a report on water quality titled: Water quality in New Zealand: Understanding the science. This update report describes the response to the 2012 report, and explains how it has been used.

Jun 2013
Statement of Intent 2013 - 2016

May 2013
On a pathway to extinction? An investigation into the status and management of the longfin eel

Apr 2013
PCE freshwater reforms submission - April, 2013

Apr 2013
Improving our resource management system: A discussion document Submission to the Minister for the Environment

Apr 2013
Resource Management Reform Bill Submission to the Local Government and Environment Committee

Mar 2013
Submission on the proposed regulations restricting the use of certain international units in the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme

Nov 2012
Submission on the Resource Management (Restricted Duration of Certain Discharge and Coastal Permits) Amendment Bill

Nov 2012
Evaluating the environmental impacts of fracking in New Zealand: An interim report

Nov 2012
Submission on the Crown Minerals (Permitting and Crown Land) Bill

Nov 2012
Annual Report for the year ended 30 June 2012

Oct 2012
Submission on the Climate Change Response (Emissions Trading and Other Matters) Amendment Bill

Sep 2012
Evaluating solar water heating: Sun, renewable energy and climate change

Jul 2012
Hydroelectricity or wild rivers? Climate change versus natural heritage

We tend to think of fraught environmental issues as environment versus economy. But sometimes the conflict is environment versus environment. Building a hydroelectric scheme on a wild and scenic river is one.

May 2012
Statement of Intent 2012 - 2015

May 2012
Submission on the Emissions Trading Scheme 2012 consultation

May 2012
Submission on the Game Animal Council Bill

Apr 2012
Water quality in New Zealand: Understanding the science

Mar 2012
Submission on the Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf (Environmental Effects) Bill

Dec 2011
Annual Report for the year ended 30 June 2011

Oct 2011
Measuring Up: Environmental Reporting Discussion document submission

Oct 2011
Green Growth Issues for New Zealand Feedback to the Green Growth Advisory Group

Sep 2011
Lignite Briefing to Local Government and Environment Select Committee

Aug 2011
Presentation to the Commerce Select Committee on Smart meters and smart grid

Aug 2011
Submission to the Electricity Authority: Advanced Metering Infrastructure

Jun 2011
Evaluating the use of 1080: Predators, poisons and silent forests

The Commissioner recommends against a moratorium on 1080 citing the damage that would be done to native forests and animals if such a ban went ahead.

Jun 2011
Statement of Intent 2011 - 2014

May 2011
Emissions Trading Scheme Review

Apr 2011
Feedback to the Ministry for the Environment: 2050 Emissions Reduction Target

Feb 2011
Feedback to Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry: Review of MAF Afforestation Schemes

Feb 2011
Feedback to Ministry of Economic Development: Reviewing Aspects of the Engine Fuel Specifications Regulations 2008

Feb 2011
Submission to the Local Government and Environment Select Committee: The Environmental Protection Authority Bill

Feb 2011
Levin landfill: Environmental management review - Update report

A follow of the responses to the 2008 report, Levin landfill: Environmental management review.

Dec 2010
Lignite and climate change: The high cost of low grade coal

This report assesses the environmental effects of plans to increase lignite use a hundredfold or more

Dec 2010
Making difficult decisions: Mining the conservation estate

This report looks at and recommends improvements on how mining is managed on non-schedule 4 public conservation land.

Sep 2010
Submission on draft NZ Energy Strategy

In my role as an independent advisor I have often commented that climate change is the biggest environmental problem of our time. I was therefore disappointed to see that in terms of the draft Energy Strategy the aim to “Reduce energy-related greenhouse gas emissions” was relegated to the twelfth area of focus.

Sep 2010
Some biofuels are better than others: Thinking strategically about biofuels

The purpose of this report is to take a fresh look at biofuels – to think strategically about how they might lessen our dependence on fossil fuels and thus reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. This fresh look has led me to the following four conclusions.

Jul 2010
Submission on Proposed Changes to the Air Quality NES

Jul 2010
Investigation into the remediation of the contaminated site at Mapua - Update report

Jul 2010
Annual Report for the year ended June 2010

Jun 2010
Submission on the Schedule 4 stocktake discussion document

This is the Commissioner's submission on the the Schedule 4 stocktake discussion document.

Apr 2010
Statement of Intent 2010-2013

Apr 2010
How clean is New Zealand? Measuring and reporting on the health of our environment

Apr 2010
Submission to the Finance and Expenditure Committee on the Electricity Industry Bill

Mar 2010
Submission on Forestry Regulations under the ETS

Mar 2010
Submission on the Electricity Industry Bill

This is the Commissioner's submission on the Electricity Industry Bill, which recommends the Electricity Authority provide for the development of a smart grid.

Feb 2010
Submission on Industrial Allocation Regulations under the ETS

This is the Commissioner's submission to the Ministry for the Environment on the regulations for the allocation of carbon credits for industry under the ETS.

Feb 2010
Response to submitters on Smart Meters report

This is the Commissioner's speech to the Commerce Select Committee responding to submissions on her report "Smart electricity meters: How households and the environment can benefit"

Dec 2009
Stockton revisited: The mine and regulatory minefield

This report assesses the improvement in environmental performance at the Stockton mine and makes recommendations to Ministers for over 100 old mining licenses with weak and outdated environmental conditions

Oct 2009
Submission on the Sustainable Biofuels Bill

This is the Commissioner's written submission and oral presentation notes on Jeanette Fitzsimon's Sustainable Biofuels Bill.

Oct 2009
Submission on the Climate Change Response (Moderated Emissions Trading) Amendment Bill

This is the Commissioner's submission to the Finance and Expenditure Committee on the proposed amendments to the Emissions Trading System.

Oct 2009
Submission on the Improving Electricity Market Performance discussion document

This is the Commissioner's submission on the Improving Electricity Market Performance discussion document, following on from her Smart Meters report

Sep 2009
Annual Report for the year ended 30 June 2009

Sep 2009
Advice on the ETS Review 2009

The ETS presentation is mostly focused on omissions – things we think the officials should have said or spent more time analysing.

Aug 2009
Smart electricity meters: How households and the environment can benefit

Demand for electricity is growing and the generation and transmission of electricity has significant effects on the environment. One tool that holds great promise for reducing demand for electricity is the ‘smart meter’. A look at how smart meters can benefit households and the environment and nine recommendations for Government.

Jun 2009
Consultant's reports: Smart meters & tariff structures

Four consultant's reports that look at electricity meters and pricing plans. The reports consider the international experience of using meters and tariffs, and the ways in which they might be applied in New Zealand.

Jun 2009
Statement of Intent 2009-2012

May 2009
Advice on the RMA Amendment Bill 2009

The Commissioner's advice to the Local Government and Environment Committee on the Resource Management Act Amendment Bill 2009

Apr 2009
Change in the high country: Environmental stewardship and tenure review

Apr 2009
Annual Report for the year ended 30 June 2008

Oct 2008
A review of the environmental performance of the Electricity Commission 1 July 2006 - 30 June 2007

Six recommendations are made to the Electricity Commission and Minister for Energy in the PCE's annual assessment of the Commission's environmental performance.

Sep 2008
Levin landfill: Environmental management review

Investigation into the management of the Levin landfill

Aug 2008
Investigation into the remediation of the contaminated site at Mapua

The former Fruitgrowers Chemical Company site in Mapua was the worst known contaminated site in New Zealand. A major clean-up began in October 2004, and the PCE investigated complaints about the management of the clean-up operations.

Jun 2008
Seeding the carbon storage opportunity in indigenous forests

One of the common measures to address climate change is to encourage the planting of more trees. The report describes the environmental benefits of both exotic and indigenous forestry. It then analyses if the proposed carbon returns for indigenous afforestation and reversion are fair. Finally, it considers possible alternative carbon assessment methodologies and suggests options for a way forward.

Jun 2008
Follow up on the renewable preference component of the Climate Change Bill

The Commissioner's response to advice from officials concerning her recommendations on the renewable preference part of the Climate Change Bill

Jun 2008
Statement of Intent 2008-2013

Jun 2008
Follow up on the environmental effects of the ETS

The Commissioner's reponse to advice from officials concerning her recommendations on the environmental effects of the ETS

Jun 2008
Advice on the Climate Change (Emissions Trading and Renewable Preference) Bill

The Commissioner's submission in favour of establishing an Emissions Trading Scheme

May 2008
Review of Cawthron Report on Emissions Trading Scheme

An independent review of the Cawthron Report

May 2008
Briefing on the Biofuel Bill 2008

Apr 2008
Briefing on the Biofuel Bill 2008

The Commissioner's submission on the Biofuel Bill in 2008.

Apr 2008
Briefing on the Waste Minimisation Bill

The Commissioner's briefing on the effectiveness of the Waste Minimisation Bill

Feb 2008
Briefing to the Monetary Policy Inquiry

The Commissioner answers a number of interlinked questions about the impact of environmental limits on inflation and economic growth.

Feb 2008
The environmental performance of the Electricity Commission 1 July 2005 - 30 June 2006

Six recommendations are made to the Electricity Commission in the PCE's annual assessment of the Commission's environmental performance.

Dec 2007
Annual Report for the year ended 30 June 2007

Oct 2007
Briefing on dairy farming impact on water quantity and quality

The Commissioner's briefing to the Primary Production Committee on water quality and quantity

Oct 2007
Sustainability review: Background papers

Sep 2007
Sustainability forum

Reviewing New Zealand's progress towards sustainability has been a key part of the PCE's role, since the publication of our 2002 report Creating our future: Sustainable development for New Zealand. As part of the review we set up an online Sustainability Forum, which closed in September 2007.

Sep 2007
Briefing on housing affordability: housing's long-term energy costs

Briefing on the energy costs and environmental impacts of households

Sep 2007
Outcome evaluation: Missing Links - connecting science with environmental policy outcome evaluation

A review of progress on the four recommendations made in Missing links, a 2004 report on ways of forging better links between scientific knowledge, public concerns, and environmental policy making. Uptake of the recommendations has varied, but overall there are positive signs of change. Considerably more progress will be needed, however, to fully implement the intent of Missing links.

Jul 2007
Outcome evaluation: See Change - Learning and education for sustainability

In 2007 PCE reviewed progress on the recommendations that were outlined in our 2004 report See Change. Many positive steps have been taken, and education for sustainability in New Zealand is now in much better shape than before the report was published. However, opportunities remain for further work across all sectors.

Jul 2007
Statement of Intent 2007-2010

May 2007
Get smart, think small: Local energy systems for New Zealand

Local energy systems that include microgeneration technologies and energy efficiency measures could save and generate huge amounts of energy in the years ahead. A look at the new technologies and techniques for managing energy services at a local level, and six recommendations to make it happen.

Dec 2006
Solid Energy's environmental management systems and performance

This scoping study of the environmental performance of Solid Energy, New Zealand's largest coal mining company, found that further investigation is warranted. However, now that the company has environmental management plans in place, an audit will take place in 2008.

Nov 2006
Healthy, wealthy and wise:A health impact assessment of Future currents: Electricity scenarios for New Zealand 2005-2050

Making New Zealand homes more energy efficient will not only help combat climate change, it will also be good for the health of those who live in them. A look at how energy decisions might impact on the health and well-being of people and communities.

Nov 2006
Wind power, people, and place

Wind power will have a key part to play in a sustainable energy future for New Zealand,, but more care is needed in how we develop it. This extensive overview includes a discussion of the impact of wind farms on valued landscapes, international experience of wind farms, and case studies from Auckland, the Manawatu and Wellington.

Nov 2006
Annual Report for the year ended 30 June 2006

Sep 2006
Electricity, energy and the environment: Environmental performance assessment 1 July 2004 - 30 June 2005

The Electricity Commission goes under the microscope, along with the electricity sector's impact on the environment. As a result, six recommendations are made to the Commission, and seven to the government.

Jul 2006
Changing behaviour: Economic instruments in the management of waste

Using waste as a case study, this report looks at how economic tools such as levies, taxes, credits, subsidies and credit schemes can be used to improve environmental management.

Jul 2006
Statement of Intent 2006-2009

May 2006
Restoring the Rotorua Lakes:The ultimate endurance challenge

Work is now underway to restore the Rotorua Lakes. However, bringing the Lakes back to full health will take decades, so robust and enduring structures must be in place to make that happen.

Apr 2006
Working together in Thames-Coromandel:Guidelines for community planning

Tensions can run high when people differ over what is best for their local environment. This report looks at how communities can work through their differences and come up with outcomes that everyone has a stake in.

Nov 2005
Annual Report for the year ended 30 June 2005

Oct 2005
Hawke's Bay Expressway: Noise and air quality issues

Many of the noise and air pollution problems faced by residents who live alongside Hawke's Bay's main arterial route can be traced to past planning failures. This report has 14 recommendations to deal with the problems.

Jul 2005
Electricity, energy and the environment: Environmental performance assessment 1 March - 30 June 2004

The first four months of the Electricity Commission's operation in the spotlight, and 12 recommendations to help New Zealand to get more value from its electricity supply.

Jul 2005
Future currents: Electricity scenarios for New Zealand 2005-2050

Today's decisions on energy will shape the look of New Zealand for decades to come. This study outlines two scenarios of what New Zealand might look like depending on whether we continue to concentrate on the supply side of electricity, or whether we are prepared to innovate and get more value from the electricity we already produce.

Jul 2005
Growing for good: workshop reports

The Growing for good report on intensive farming stirred widespread debate when released last October. At eight workshops around New Zealand in February and March 2005, farmers, scientists, and others including agribusiness and local authority representatives met to discuss it.

May 2005
Statement of Intent 2005-2008

May 2005
Turning hopes and dreams into actions and results: Whangamata, a case study of community planning in a coastal area

The strengths and weaknesses of community planning in dealing with complex environmental issues can be seen in this case study of the Coromandel town of Whangamata.

Mar 2005
Growing for good: Intensive farming, sustainability and New Zealand's environment

Growing for good is a major investigation into the sustainability of intensive farming in New Zealand. It examines key trends and the local and global influences on farming, and draws on research and over 150 interviews in outlining a redesign of farming for a sustainable future.

Nov 2004
Annual Report for the year ended 30 June 2004

Oct 2004
Missing links: Connecting science with environmental policy

A 120-page investigation of how we can best use science to tackle complex environmental issues. Key recommendations include the need for long-term alliances between scientists and environmental policy makers; regular reviews of government's science capacity; and regular reports on the state of our environment. Drawing on international and New Zealand case studies, the report proposes that mediating bodies be used to improve the flow of information between the public, scientists and policy makers.

Sep 2004
Electricity, Energy and the Environment: Assessment Framework 2004

The PCE has developed a framework to assess the environmental performance of New Zealand's electricity sector. Its purpose is to certify that energy services from electricity are provided in an environmentally sustainable manner through ongoing environmental performance assessments of the sector. The Commissioner is particularly keen to see improvements in energy efficiency and demand-side management, greater uptake of new generation technologies, renewables and ditributed generation, and the minimisation of greenhouse gases.

Jun 2004
Statement of Intent 2004 - 2009

May 2004
See Change: Learning and education for sustainability

The purpose of this think-piece is to raise the level of debate about education for sustainability, and to stimulate effective action so that New Zealanders can learn to live in sustainable ways. It highlights how education, in its broadest sense, needs to bring about a 'sea change' (a transformation) for the better. This will require a shift in perception and understanding among many people and organisations in New Zealand today.

Jan 2004
Illuminated or blinded by science? Summary of submissions

A summary of submissions made in response to the Commissioner's discussion paper Illuminated or blinded by science? (2003). The discussion paper explored ways in which environmental policy and decision-making can be effectively supported by science and research to achieve effective environmental management and good outcomes. It laid out the many elements of science, policy and decision-making processes and posed some questions.

Jan 2004
Electricity, Energy and the Environment: Summary of submissions

The PCE received 40 submissions on the proposed assessment framework from a wide variety of different organisations and individuals. The Commissioner also decided to respond to some concerns that were raised in these submissions.

Dec 2003
Annual Report for the year ended 30 June 2003

Oct 2003
Just cruising? Environmental effects of cruise ships

An investigation into the environmental effects of cruise ships visiting New Zealand waters. The report discusses sources of environmental risk from cruise ships, including those from waste discharges to water and air, biosecurity risks, and maritime accidents. It reviews overseas and local mechanisms for identifying and resolving adverse environmental effects associated with cruise ships.

Aug 2003
Electricity, Energy and the Environment: Making the connections

This discussion document is part of a framework the PCE developed to assess the environmental performance of New Zealand's electricity sector. The purpose of the framework is to certify that energy services from electricity are provided in an environmentally sustainable manner through ongoing environmental performance assessments of New Zealand's electricity sector.

Jul 2003
Illuminated or blinded by science? A discussion paper on the role of science in environmental policy and decision-making

The purpose of this discussion paper is to explore ways in which environmental policy and decision-making can be effectively supported by science and research to achieve effective environmental management and good outcomes. It lays out the many elements of science, policy and decision-making processes and poses some questions.

Jul 2003
Statement of Intent 2003 - 2008

May 2003
Superb or suburb? International case studies in management of icon landscapes

What can New Zealand learn from overseas experience about the management of icon landscapes in peri-urban areas? Three locations were chosen to examine land use planning in the context of sustainable development: the Oak Ridges Moraine in Ontario, Canada; the Cape Peninsula in South Africa; and the Peak District in the United Kingdom.

Apr 2003
Annual Report for the year ended 30 June 2002

Oct 2002
Future focus: Strategic plan of the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment2003-07

Oct 2002
Getting more from less: outcome evaluation

In 2002, I conducted a review of progress towards the outcomes sought in Getting More From Less. It is pleasing to note that the Government has accepted the vast majority of recommendations made in this report. Significant progress has also been made to implement many of these since 1998. New Zealand is now in a much stronger position than before my report was published to work towards a sustainable energy future.

Aug 2002
Creating our future: Sustainable development for New Zealand

A review of the progress of sustainable development in New Zealand, with particular reference to environmental management performance since the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. The report highlights the opportunities and challenges for the future in maintaining a healthy environment, social well-being and a strong economy.

Aug 2002
He rangahau ki te aria ko te Tiriti te putake e whakatuturutia ai nga tikanga mo te taiao

This reports the findings of a scoping study undertaken through 2001 and early 2002 into the concept of a Treaty based environmental audit framework. The Commissioner's study was not intended to actually develop an audit framework, but to evaluate the concept, its potential applications in environmental management, and the principles and processes by which such a framework could be developed.

Jul 2002
Weaving resilience into our working lands: Recommendations for the future roles of native plants

This is the final report of a project that started with the release of the discussion paper Weaving Resilience into our Working Lands: Future Roles for Native Plants on Private Land in June 2001. The final report addresses; the attitudes and mindsets surrounding native plants on private land; how to manage native plants sustainably; creating wealth with native plants; research and knowledge; and the effect of legislation and institutions.

Jun 2002
Showing the way: Curitiba - Citizen city

On the southern plateau of Brazil one city, Curitiba, has lifted itself out of tough circumstances, by the strength of good design and cohesive political leadership. The results are highly visible and show how to combine a healthy ecology, a vibrant economy and a society that nurtures people.

Jun 2002
Weaving resilience into our working lands: Summary of submissions

A discussion paper on how New Zealand can extend and expand native plants on private land to make better the ecological sustainability of land use, increase the economic viability of primary industries, retain the biological diversity of indigenous species, and enhance the 'sense of place'. This paper explores the opportunities for, and barriers to, the expansion of native plants beyond parks and reserves and into working landscapes.

May 2002
Forecast Report for the year ended 30 June 2003

Apr 2002
Boggy patch or ecological heritage? Valuing wetlands in Tasman

An investigation into Tasman District Council's (TDC) management of wetlands. The investigation reviews the international and national context for the sustainable management of wetlands at a strategic level. This includes consideration of: international conventions on wetlands (Ramsar); national initiatives on wetlands; Resource Management Act 1991 requirements; regional approaches to wetland management (other regional plans and non-regulatory programmes); and the contribution of wetlands to sustainable land use.

Mar 2002
Annual Report for the year ended 30 June 2001

Sep 2001
Managing change in paradise. Sustainable development in peri-urban areas

A review of the environmental planning and management carried out to ensure the sustainable development of peri-urban areas in New Zealand. The report highlights the complexity and variety of approaches adopted and seriously questions the adequacy and effectiveness of these in achieving desirable environmental outcomes.

Jun 2001
Weaving resilience into our working lands: future roles for native plants on private land

A discussion paper on how New Zealand can extend and expand native plants on private land to make better the ecological sustainability of land use, increase the economic viability of primary industries, retain the biological diversity of indigenous species, and enhance the 'sense of place'. This paper explores the opportunities for, and barriers to, the expansion of native plants beyond parks and reserves and into working landscapes.

Jun 2001
Whose water is it? The sustainability of urban water systems on the Kapiti coast

Low rainfall, very high per capita usage and a heavy reliance on a single source of supply, the Waikanae River, have created a water crisis on the Kapiti Coast. Simple engineering solutions, such as tapping into new and more remote sources of supply, are no longer appropriate - the solutions must meet the public health needs of growing communities, support commercial development and provide for the ecological health of the environment.

May 2001
Beyond ageing pipes. Urban water systems for the 21st century

Following on from the discussion paper Ageing pipes and murky waters (PCE June 2000), this report presents the findings of the PCE's investigation into urban water systems. The report highlights issues such as the fragmented nature of waters management, the importance of raising stakeholder awareness of the issues, pricing and charging for water services and placing urban water systems into an ecological context.

Apr 2001
Hazardous waste management: second progress report

The Hazardous Waste Management Programme has not achieved what it set out to do in 1997. Over 3 years after the programme was first announced, there is still no evidence of improved systems or outcomes.

Apr 2001
Key lessons from the history of science and technology: knowns and unknowns, breakthroughs and cautions

New Zealand is at a critical point with respect to its ongoing relationship to biotechnology and genetic modification. A look at the last 200 years of science and technology, discussing the need for precaution, the possibility for severe, unintended and irreversible negative impacts on the environment to emerge decades after initial successes, and problems for risk assessment involving complex biological systems.

Mar 2001
Building on the edge: the use and development of land on or close to fault lines

Land use planning for seismic events and building over active fault lines - key issues regarding the legislation and its implementation by local authorities. Includes topics such as access to geological information; risk assessment and management; regional and district planning; the Building Code and integration between the Building Act 1991 and the Resource Management Act 1991.

Mar 2001
The management of noise from aircraft overflying sensitive environments

Overflying aircraft have the potential to adversely affect amenity values in National Parks and other areas that are highly valued for their natural character and tranquillity. Most concerns centre around the noise levels and the effect this has on other users of these areas.

Dec 2000
New Zealand under siege: a review of the management of biosecurity risks to the environment

Biosecurity is as strategically important as national security when it comes to protecting New Zealand's key economic and environmental assets. We need to improve our biosecurity system to deal with pests and diseases that are capable of causing damage to New Zealand's unique natural resources and biotic economy.

Nov 2000
Annual Report for the year ended 30 June 2000

Oct 2000
Caught in the headlights: New Zealanders' reflections on possums, control options and genetic engineering

This study explores the interactions between science, regulatory agencies and communities in terms of views about a range of possum biocontrol options, most of which involve genetic engineering, that are currently being researched in New Zealand.

Oct 2000
Ageing pipes and murky waters: urban water system issues for the 21st century

The supply of adequate drinking water and the removal of polluted waters are the two most fundamental needs of towns and cities, and without these services, cities rapidly become uninhabitable. This paper identifies the key social, environmental and economic issues affecting the sustainable management of urban water systems and presents a series of relevant questions to encourage debate.

Jul 2000
Local Agenda 21 in the United Kingdom - a review of progress and issues in New Zealand

A number of local authorities in New Zealand are seeking to implement Local Agenda 21 and advance sustainable development. This report discusses the implementation of Local Agenda 21 in the United Kingdom and raises a number of issues for New Zealand with regards to the implementation of Agenda 21.

Feb 2000
Getting more from less: a review of progress on energy efficiency and renewable energy initiatives in New Zealand

A review of progress made with the implementation of energy efficiency initiatives as a contribution to sustainable development in New Zealand. The report highlights the need for strong Government leadership and partnership with all sectors, particularly industry, business and local government.

Feb 2000
Strategic plan update

Dec 1999
Setting course for a sustainable future; the management of New Zealand's marine environment

An investigation into the significant issues, strategic risks and opportunities that influence the management of New Zealand's marine environment. The report concludes that a major revision of our thinking, policies and legislation is needed to ensure the sustainable future of the oceans and seas around New Zealand.

Nov 1999
Hazardous waste management: progress report

The Ministry for the Environment's hazardous waste programme has not achieved its goals within the initial 3-year timeframe for completion. The programme has been extended and the PCE will continue to audit progress.

Nov 1999
Annual Report for the year ended 30 June 1999

Oct 1999
Local government environmental management: a study of models and outcomes

A joint study with the Auditor-General, which reviewed the functionality of the unitary authority model of local government, rather than the performance of individual councils. The report examined how unitary authority councils undertook their environmental management responsibilities compared with those of a selection of regional and territorial authorities.

Aug 1999
Side agreements in the resource consent process: implications for environmental management

This investigation examines the environmental implications of agreements made between resource consent applicants and persons having the status of 'affected persons' under the RMA. By enabling applicants to circumvent statutory requirements e.g. public notification, side agreements may result in activities receiving consent without a proper assessment of environmental effects.

Nov 1998
Possum management in New Zealand, critical issues in 1998, PCE progress report no. 1

Nov 1998
Timberlands West Coast Ltd beech management prescriptions, PCE environmental management review No. 2

A follow up report to assess the response by Timberlands West Coast Limited to recommendations made by the Commissioner in a 1995 review of Timberlands draft beech management plans; and to promote informed debate about the future uses of New Zealand native forests. The report focuses on the ecological sustainability of the proposed harvesting regimes.

Oct 1998
The Rabbit Calicivirus Disease (RCD) saga, a biosecurity/bio-control fiasco

In 1997 the rabbit calicivirus disease (RCD) was illegally imported into New Zealand as a bio-control. This discussion paper examines the many factors, from 1979-1997, that contributed to this extraordinary breach of biosecurity.

Sep 1998
Compliance monitoring of a coastal permit for sand extraction, Otamarakau, Bay of Plenty

Concerns from residents that erosion of foredunes may be caused by commercial sand extraction led to an investigation of compliance monitoring by the regional council. This report highlights issues concerning: royalties processes; difficulties in managing effects at mean high water; the complexity of coastal processes; and the uncertainty surrounding the sustainability of activities such as commercial sand extraction.

Aug 1998
Towards sustainable development, the role of the Resource Management Act 1991, PCE environmental management review No. 1

A review of the role of the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) and its contribution to New Zealand's sustainable development goals. The report raises strategic issues to contribute to the debate about achieving better environmental performance.

Aug 1998
Information needs of the RMA: a review of the information used for discharge permit applications

How is information used in decision making under the RMA? An investigation of the manner in which information provided by the applicant, the affected parties or submitters and the council is used to make decisions, with specific reference to discharge permit applications.

Jun 1998
Kaitiakitanga and local government: tangata whenua participation in environmental management

This study revisited an earlier investigation on guidelines for local authority consultation with tangata whenua. The report reviews progress made on tangata whenua involvement in Resource Management Act (RMA) processes and identifies a number of areas for improvement, particularly in the areas of processes followed and relationships between iwi and councils.

Jun 1998
Hazardous waste management

New Zealand's lack of effective and consistent controls on hazardous waste creates a major risk to the environment and has the potential to affect our 'clean green' image. For over a decade successive Governments have failed to address even the fundamental issues such as a legal definition of 'hazardous waste', which means that as a nation we know little about the quantities of hazardous waste we produce or the risks to the environment as we try and dispose of them

May 1998
The cities and their people: New Zealand's urban environment

New Zealand is highly urbanised, with more than 85 per cent of us living in towns and cities. The unsustainable nature and deteriorating quality of our urban environments are significant risks for New Zealand today, and this report on the management of the urban environment focuses on questions of sustainable development for our towns and cities and identifies major strategic priorities.

May 1998
The management of urban vegetation in North Shore City

This investigation arose from a number of concerns raised with the Commissioner regarding the management of vegetation on the North Shore. It focuses on the effectiveness of the council's long term management of urban vegetation.

Feb 1998
Management of the environmental effects associated with the tourism sector

Tourism is critical to New Zealand's economy and depends to a large extent on environmental qualities. This report highlights the wide range of environmental effects and management problems associated with the industry and makes key recommendations for achieving sustainable tourism.

Nov 1997
The management of suburban amenity values: Auckland, Waitakere, Christchurch

Examines the challenge of managing amenity values in New Zealand cities where population and housing densities are increasing. Looks at impacts on a range of values including streetscapes, natural and open spaces, city heritage, and traffic, and provides suggestions for improved management.

Oct 1997
Future directions. Strategic focus of the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment 1997-2001

Aug 1997
Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment publications prior to August 1997

Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment publications prior to August 1997

Jan 1997