Young Nicks Head
Poverty Bay

Work programme

The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment produces one output: independent reports and advice on environmental issues. This now includes regular commentaries on environmental reports. Reports and advice seek to achieve the Commissioner’s aim to maintain and improve the New Zealand environment by influencing decision-makers through well-reasoned, independent advice. 

Decisions to change environmental law, policy and institutional arrangements are the responsibility of Parliament, central government, and local government. Implementing these decisions, and monitoring their impact on the environment, is the responsibility of government agencies. 

As an Officer of Parliament, the Commissioner’s role is to provide public accountability for these agencies against the statutory objective to “maintain or improve the quality of the environment”. This entails auditing and reviewing systems and agencies, as well as investigating particular environmental matters. 

Over the next four years, the Commissioner will continue to produce a body of reports and advice aimed at improving environmental decision-making, the implementation of decisions, and public understanding, especially of environmental science. 

Current investigation topics are listed here.

Future work priorities are listed here.

In addition to producing independent reports and advice to Members of Parliament, the Commissioner will continue to submit on key policy proposals, present her work to the public, monitor and report on the uptake of her recommendations, and respond to public concerns as resources allow.

Advising Parliament

The Commissioner's assistance to Parliament is our highest work priority and is governed by a Code of Practice developed through the Officers of Parliament Committee.

An opportunity to assist select committees arises when a bill or inquiry could lead to significant environmental impacts, positive or negative.

The Commissioner also assists Parliament through briefings to select committees or by open invitation to members of Parliament. Such briefings will always be offered when an investigation is complete and the report has been tabled in the House.