The Government welcomes the publication of the second national state of the environment report. Environment New Zealand 2007 provides a wealth of information about our environment and how it is changing over time. It also sets a compass against which we can chart New Zealand’s journey towards greater sustainability.

Putting sustainability at the heart of our thinking and decision-making is important to this Government: the environment underpins the very foundations of New Zealand’s national identity and quality of life. As the world moves to take greater action on environmental issues and a growing number of consumers demand environmentally-friendly products, we face both challenges and opportunities. With our enviable natural environment, efficient primary production, strong track record in renewable energy, and innovative business sector, New Zealand is well placed to respond.

Global climate change is probably the most significant environmental issue of the 21st century. Around the world, governments, businesses, households, and individuals are striving to reduce their greenhouse emissions. New Zealanders, too, must play their part. Using our energy and natural resources efficiently, adopting more sustainable transport and primary production, reducing waste, and encouraging afforestation are all important steps in responding to climate change and moving towards greater sustainability.

Climate change is not the only challenge we face. This report also highlights the decline in water quality New Zealand faces as a consequence of the increasing intensity of agricultural production. As we take action on this and other environmental concerns, regular environmental reporting will be important in tracking progress. Better understanding the impacts of our activities on the environment and targeting measures to reduce them will be an important part of reinforcing the 'clean and green' reputation we enjoy.

Environment New Zealand 2007 provides a timely platform for discussion about our environment and the pressures we are placing on it. I welcome the Ministry for the Environment’s leadership in engaging with New Zealanders about how we can all play a part in making New Zealand a truly sustainable nation. I look forward to seeing progress towards this goal reflected in future state of the environment reports.

Hon Trevor Mallard 
Minister for the Environment