21 May 2021

Media release: Funding to plug environmental data gaps

The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Simon Upton, has welcomed the Budget 2021 initiative to upgrade the environmental monitoring and reporting system.

“I am heartened to see action on this fundamental issue”, the Commissioner said. “For too long we have been flying blind when it comes to vital environmental information.

“How can we make informed choices about how to manage our environment if we don’t have the right data available?”

“The Government’s commitment of $25 million over the next three years will help plug key data and knowledge gaps and allow us to construct a clearer picture of the state of our environment.”

The Commissioner’s 2019 report Focusing Aotearoa New Zealand’s environmental reporting system called for improvements to the evidence base underpinning the environmental reporting system. The report recommended developing a comprehensive, nationally coordinated environmental monitoring system, and called for a mandated strategy to prioritise and incrementally fill data gaps.

The Government’s budget announcement represents real progress towards developing a national monitoring and reporting framework to collect consistent information and fill in the gaps, and to get a handle on whether costly interventions are having an effect.

Read the Commissioner's report Focusing Aotearoa New Zealand's environmental reporting system