You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Watchdog critical of environment report

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 29/06/2016

The departments behind a report that's been criticised by the environment watchdog say they're still working out the kinks and are happy to have feedback.

Last October, the government issued its first Environment Aotearoa 2015 report - put together by Statistics New Zealand and the Ministry for the Environment, aimed at being the new reporting system for the health of the environment.

But Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Jan Wright on Wednesday said the report wasn't up to scratch and needed work to have any meaning.

She made six recommendations for future reports, including the response to environmental problems, which the current report stops short of.

"In the end the point of reporting on the state of the environment is to improve the way we manage and protect it," Dr Wright said.

The structure of the report made it hard to understand and almost impossible to say what caused an environmental problem, she said.

"A state of the environment report becomes much more useful to the public and decision-makers when it provides a sense of the relative significance of different environmental issues," Dr Wright said.

Stats NZ and the Environment Ministry said the feedback was valuable.

"[We] want environmental reports to be useful to as many people as possible. Dr Wright's report is very welcome in helping us achieve that goal," Secretary for the Environment Vicky Robertson said.

Government statistician Liz MacPherson said the departments would take on Dr Wright's ideas where possible.

"We took on board Dr Wright's views about our 2014 report about air, and we look forward to working further with the PCE and her office to improve future reporting."

She said environmental reporting was in a new era that constantly required improvement and new thinking.

The Environment Aotearoa reports will be produced every three years.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon