The Commissioner

Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Simon Upton

Simon Upton was sworn in as Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment for a five-year term on 16 October 2017. 

Mr Upton is a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand and a Rhodes Scholar, with degrees in English literature, music and law from the University of Auckland, and an MLitt in political philosophy from Oxford University. He was sworn in as a member of the Privy Council in 1999. 

A Member of Parliament between 1981 and 2000, Mr Upton held a variety of ministerial portfolios including environment, research, biosecurity, health and state services between 1990 and 1999. 

After leaving Parliament, Mr Upton moved to Paris to chair the Round Table on Sustainable Development at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).  In 2005, he returned to New Zealand to pursue a number of private sector roles while continuing to chair the Round Table.

In April 2010 he returned to the OECD full time as Environment Director, a post he held for seven years until returning to take up the role of Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment.

The office

The Commissioner is assisted by 21 staff who possess a wide range of skills and knowledge, and provide administrative, research, technical and general support for his investigations.

The team is truly multi-disciplinary, specialising in fields as varied as biology, business, chemistry, ecology, economics, forestry, geography, geology, history, law, literature, marine science, physics, planning, policy, politics, soil science, social science and statistics. 

The Commissioner is committed to developing an equal employment opportunities environment, where diversity is sought and valued. 


Updated: 03 July 2020