We are proud to present Environment Aotearoa 2019, our three-yearly report on the state of the environment in New Zealand.

 Vicky Robertson and Liz Macpherson
Vicky Robertson (left), and Liz MacPherson (right).

Our ministries work together to produce environmental reports every six months, focussed on a domain such as air, marine, or land. This report, by contrast, takes a broader view of the environment as a whole by reporting on nine priority issues for us in 2019. The issues typically involve more than one domain.

To identify the nine issues, our scientists and data analysts reviewed the most recent domain reports and worked with an independent, expert science panel.

The data and science presented in the report is up to date, fully explained, and rigorously checked to the highest standards. The information is factual and trustworthy, and links to the analysis and data sources are provided throughout the report.

Taken together, the issues clearly show that the choices we have made about the way we live and make a living are having a significant impact on our environment and therefore on the things we value. They highlight areas where we need to pay close attention.

Choosing and making appropriate responses to the issues is not straightforward: the New Zealand economy has been built on our environment, our population continues to grow, and climate change is amplifying many current pressures. These are complex challenges that require serious consideration.

We believe now is the time to engage in conversations as a country about what we value, what consequences we are prepared to accept, and the kind of country we want our children and mokopuna to inherit. Environment Aotearoa 2019 will add value to those conversations.

The report also points out how much we don’t know about many aspects of our environment. While we have considerable knowledge in many areas, understanding our environment as a whole – and its many interactions – is a much bigger challenge. Environment Aotearoa 2019 suggests some steps that could be taken to improve our knowledge and reporting system so we are better equipped to understand the effects of our actions, and what we need to do about it.

Whatever your interest or connection to the environment, we trust that reading this report or its summary will support you to ask questions and be empowered in conversations about how to enjoy, protect, and prosper in our Aotearoa New Zealand.

Vicky Robertson                                         Liz MacPherson
Secretary for the Environment               Government Statistician