As noted in previous sections, the demands on, and expectations of, the Ministry for the Environment have changed substantially over the past few years. This has implications for organisational health and capability. Significant changes in the breadth and focus of advice from the Ministry will be needed in future.

The Ministry has considerable expertise and experience among its staff. We need to complement existing strengths by developing additional capabilities. Our future effectiveness will require greater investment in staff development, more focused leadership, effective prioritisation and improved systems.

Among the significant organisational responses needed are:

  • investment in defining the key longer term and intermediate outcomes that should determine the focus and drive the performance of the Ministry

  • identifying the most effective ways to achieve improved environmental outcomes alongside sustained economic and social development

  • strengthening the ability to work effectively across a range of policy areas, assess the impact on sectors of adapting to higher environmental standards and mitigating environmental pressures, and influence decision-making

  • strengthening knowledge and understanding of the social and economic sectors, as well as maintaining networks in the environment sector

  • developing internal systems and processes that better support the business of the Ministry and the capabilities that will be required.

The Ministry recognises that it will need to take a significant step up to meet the demands and expectations placed on it and to operate effectively in an increasingly complex environment. How we will do this is outlined is this section.


The Ministry’s objectives are outlined in the table below, along with the indicators and measures that will be used to report on organisational health and capability.



Measured by

Build and maintain strong relationships and partnerships with those who affect environmental sustainability

Positive views of external stakeholders on the department’s performance in managing key relationships

Survey of stakeholder perceptions of the Ministry



Measured by

Strengthen the capability of the Ministry to meet new demands and expectations

Positive views of Ministers, central agencies and external stakeholders about the Ministry’s ability to operate effectively in a complex environment

Feedback from Ministers and central agencies

Survey of stakeholder perceptions of the Ministry

Develop and maintain a skilled and motivated workforce which has the flexibility to adapt to changing goals and priorities over time

Positive feedback from staff about their perceptions of working at the Ministry

Staff length of service and turnover

Internal climate/employee engagement survey that can be benchmarked against other public sector results

Monitoring human resources statistics

Operate efficient, practical and integrated internal systems

Internal policies, procedures and systems are fit for purpose and consistently applied

Internal audit and review based on internal audit schedule to be developed

Reports from external audits

Regular internal monitoring

Become carbon neutral by 2012 and improve the Ministry’s overall operational environmental performance

Targets and commitments in the Govt3 Action Plan, Emissions Reduction Plan and Workplace Travel Plan

Monitoring progress against the targets and commitments and reporting on this in the annual report to Parliament

Survey of stakeholder perceptions: Relationships with key stakeholders are critical for the Ministry’s ability to achieve good environmental outcomes. A survey is scheduled for the 2007/08 financial year, to be repeated in 2008/09. It will request feedback on our relationship management performance, perceptions of the Ministry, and any areas of relationships that they feel we can improve. We have not carried out a survey of this type for some years, so the work in 2008/09 will provide a benchmark for future years and inform our stakeholder engagement programme.

Employee engagement survey: The Ministry needs to recruit and retain good people in order to effectively carry out its work programme. Surveys help us understand job satisfaction for individuals, how staff perceive the organisation and issues that need attention. Feedback from the last internal climate survey in 2007 was generally positive, though some areas for improvement were identified. A series of workshops with staff resulted in action plans which are now being implemented. The Ministry intends to undertake another employee survey in 2008/09. Following the survey, action plans will be developed to respond to any areas of concern raised.

Staff length of service and turnover: At 30 June 2007 the Ministry’s average length of service was 3.9 years. Turnover for the year ending 30 June 2007 was 19.1 per cent, which is higher than the public sector average. Action under way, as outlined below, should help reduce unplanned turnover. We will report on these indicators in the annual report to Parliament.

Internal audit schedule: The Ministry is in the process of developing an internal audit schedule. A review of policies, procedures and practices carried out in early 2008 will help determine priorities for this audit schedule.

Targets and commitments in our Govt3 Action Plan, Emissions Reduction Plan and Workplace Travel Plan: As the leader of the Govt3 and Carbon Neutral Public Service programmes, the Ministry for the Environment is expected to demonstrate that it can ‘walk the talk’. Working on our own plans also helps us to bench-test the advice on sustainable practices that we give to other government agencies involved in these programmes.

The Govt3 Action Plan, Emissions Reduction Plan and Workplace Travel Plan focus on buildings, energy use, transport, waste and procurement. They set out targets, commitments and planned initiatives, which will be reported on in the annual report.

In 2006/07 the Ministry’s greenhouse gas emissions intensity was approximately 3.27 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions per staff member, compared with approximately 3.72 tonnes per staff member across 34 core government agencies. Efforts to reduce emissions will focus on electricity and business travel, as these account for 99 per cent of the total emissions. Waste sent to landfill in 2006/07 was about 10 kilograms per person compared with 40 to 100 kilograms from a typical office.

Improving capability and performance


Two major organisation-wide processes have been initiated to drive the strategic direction of the Ministry. These will identify:

  • key outcomes that should drive Ministry performance in the next five to 10 years

  • key capabilities that would characterise an effective and efficient Ministry in five years time.

Both processes recognise that the Ministry must become more outcome-driven and work in quite different ways from the recent past. Both processes require rethinking how a small Ministry can best exert a considerable influence. In developing these strategies we will engage with all staff, central agencies and key stakeholders.


Internal leadership and external leadership on environmental sustainability are key areas of development for the Ministry. This includes developing the capabilities needed to take a leadership role on sustainable development and to respond to the new demands and expectations facing the Ministry.

Building the knowledge and capability of the management team is one of our main organisational development priorities. Work was begun in 2008 to define the skills, knowledge and competencies required of all management roles and design a management capability framework to develop these. When the development phase is completed in late 2008, we will focus on implementing the framework.


Our staff have considerable experience and expertise which we must build on to develop the capability we will need in the future. To work in networked ways and to influence others to adapt their practices, we will need to bridge different disciplines and perspectives. Different ways of working will require us to develop staff capabilities and support those who may work in a range of different arrangements.

Priorities include increasing understanding of the different roles and responsibilities our staff have and that the Ministry plays, building capacity to consider issues from a wider range of perspectives, and stronger programme management capabilities and practices.

The Ministry’s unplanned turnover is currently higher than the public sector average. Loss of skilled staff affects our ability to deliver our outputs and achieve the desired outcomes. In January 2008 the Ministry began an organisational development project that will assist us to plan for business and workforce demographic changes. This will lead to development of strategies to address key workforce gaps. A related project aimed at developing and retaining skilled employees focuses on:

  • setting performance expectations and assessing performance

  • recognising and developing talent

  • fairly and competitively rewarding employees for their position and contribution.


Internal climate surveys indicate that the culture is a strong element in why people choose to work at the Ministry for the Environment. The culture is collaborative and supports strong relationships, both internally and externally.


The Ministry’s ability to engage with and influence key stakeholders and sectors is important and will become increasingly important. We must engage effectively with different sectors in ways that are meaningful to them.

A stakeholder engagement team has been established to strengthen frameworks and capability for relationship management and public engagement. The aim is to enhance current relationships and to extend these to new stakeholder groups and communities with whom the Ministry can work to achieve mutual outcomes.

Processes and technology

A key emphasis for the future will be on accountability for stewardship of public funds, including conforming with the Ministry’s policies and procedures. In early 2008 the Ministry began a review of policies, practices and procedures, focusing on effectiveness and whether they support good practice. The review enables us to set priorities for a programme of continual improvement of policies and procedures over the next two to three years, linked with strong emphasis on ensuring good practice.

A semi-automated contract management system was introduced in July 2007. This improves consistency of information and enables better tracking of contracts. It will be integrated with the new financial management system that we are introducing in 2008. A document management system is now well integrated into the business operations and has improved both record-keeping and the ability to share documents.

The Ministry is creating and fostering online communities as part of the website. Interactions with and use of these online communities will be invaluable in helping to build new relationships and get feedback on the effectiveness of work programmes.

Physical assets

Information and communications technology are the major physical assets owned by the Ministry. Development and implementation of a new Information Strategy will be overseen by the Information Management Governance Board. This Board will continue to provide guidance on the information management work programme and priorities, ensuring they are well linked to business needs and government priorities.


The Ministry is led by the Acting Chief Executive, Howard Fancy. He is supported by the Deputy Chief Executive, Lindsay Gow, the Tumuaki Māori and the five general managers who lead the main business groups. Each business group comprises five or six teams with specific areas of responsibility.

  • The Central Government Policy Group manages and coordinates many ‘whole of government’ work programmes and leads policy for projects that have a larger national or international focus. It is led by Acting General Manager Prue Densem.

  • The Local Government Group provides national direction to local government and works collaboratively with councils to ensure a healthy environment. It is led by General Manager Sue Powell.

  • The focus of the Sustainable Business Group is to harness the power of business and the market to drive environmentally sustainable development. It is led by General Manager Rachel Depree.

  • The Reporting and Communications Group combines the technical reporting functions of the Ministry with its wider communications and relationship functions. It is led by General Manager Todd Krieble.

  • The Corporate and Community Group supports the activities of the Ministry and manages funds that support action in the community. It is led by General Manager Fiona Morgan.

The Tumuaki Māori, Chappie Te Kani, and the Maruwhenua team report to the Acting Chief Executive. Two other teams, the Household Sustainability Project and Ministerial Support Unit, report to the Deputy Chief Executive.

State Services Development Goals

The Ministry’s focus on improving organisational health and capability will contribute to achieving the State Services Development Goals in a number of ways:

  • strengthening leadership, networking and staff capabilities will support the goals of co-ordinated state agencies and trusted state services

  • the organisational development projects on improving remuneration and performance management systems will support the goal of becoming an employer of choice

  • improving stakeholder engagement and fostering online communities will contribute to the goal of accessible state services.

Equal Employment Opportunities

The Pay and Employment Equity Review was completed for the Ministry in 2007. The review highlighted two areas for improvement: the remuneration system and the performance review system. These are both seen by staff and managers as difficult to understand and implement. Work has started on addressing these issues, as outlined above, and will continue into the 2008/09 year.

The Ministry currently has one staff member seconded to an organisational development role. Her responsibilities are to implement the organisational development projects identified by senior management as key areas for improvement, including the remuneration and performance management systems. The Public Service Association and other staff are contributing to these projects.

Departmental capital intentions

The Ministry has two broad areas of capital expenditure over the next three years.

The Land Use and Carbon Analysis System accounts for the majority of the capital expenditure in 2008/09 – $1.912 million.  This is a multi-faceted programme of work to meet New Zealand's obligations as a signatory to the Kyoto Protocol.  The outcome of this capital expenditure will be an application that combines geospatial information (maps) with a carbon calculation and reporting engine.

The second area of expenditure is an ongoing amount of about $650,000 per annum. The funds are mainly spent on updating the Ministry's desktop and server hardware. The remainder is allocated to the purchase/development of software in accordance with the priorities set and determined by the internal Information Management Governance Board. The Board reviews the allocation and use of these funds each month.