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Appendix 1: Enduring questions

This chapter outlines the enduring questions and supplementary enduring questions by topic.

Topic 1 – Atmosphere

Enduring questions

What are the levels of air pollution in New Zealand and what is the consequential impact on ecosystems and human health?

To what extent has the stratospheric ozone layer over New Zealand been depleted, and what is the consequential impact on ecosystems and human health?

Supplementary enduring questions

A. What are the levels1 and sources of air pollution2 throughout New Zealand and how are they changing over time?

B. Who experiences poor air quality3 in New Zealand and what is the impact on their health?

C. What and where is the impact of air pollution on Māori, and how does the impact compare with that on the general population?

D. To what extent has the stratospheric ozone layer over New Zealand been depleted, and what is the impact on ecosystems and human health?

E. What is being done to reduce, mitigate, and prevent4 air pollution and stratospheric ozone layer depletion?

Notes

  1. Levels cover, but are not limited to, average, peak, and exceeding air quality standards.
  2. Includes rural and urban, natural and anthropogenic, sources of particulate matter. Odour and visual smoke are included, but indoor air quality and second-hand smoke are outside the scope of this domain plan.
  3. Poor air quality can be defined by when air quality standards are exceeded. The definition of poor air quality also includes the impact of highest levels, and averages, for the air pollution sources described in note 2.
  4. Includes expenditure on these activities to inform analysis of the costs, benefits, and value of environmental protection effort.

Topic 2 – Climate change

Enduring questions

How is New Zealand's1 climate changing?

How are New Zealand’s greenhouse gas levels2 changing?

How are we adapting to the physical impact3 of climate change?

Which environments are most likely to be affected by climate change?

Notes

  1. Includes the Ross Dependency and the Chatham Islands.
  2. Refers to emissions and sinks.
  3. Includes physical impact on sea temperature, sea level, ocean currents, river flows, and winter snow cover.

Supplementary enduring questions

A. Where and how are New Zealand's climate and atmospheric composition changing?

B. Where and how are New Zealand’s anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions and removals changing?

C. What and where is the impact of climate change on Māori and Māori-owned assets?

D. Where and how are ecosystems,4 people, and New Zealand institutions most affected by changes to climate and atmospheric composition, and how are they adapting?

E. What greenhouse gas mitigation technologies and practices are we adopting?

Notes

  1. Includes terrestrial, aquatic, and marine ecosystems.

Topic 3 – Coastal and marine environment

Enduring question

How is the quality and use of our marine environment changing and what is the impact of human activity, including resource use, on the marine environment?

Supplementary enduring questions

A. What are the spatial and temporal biophysical1 trends in the coastal and marine environment2 and how are these predicted to change in the future?

B. What is the current use of natural resources3 in the coastal and marine environment, what is the intensity of this use, how is this use changing spatially and temporally, and how is it predicted to change in the future?

C. What ecosystem services4 are currently provided by New Zealand's coastal and marine environment and how are these predicted to change in the future?5

D. What is the impact of human activity6 on the coastal and marine environment, including the cumulative effect on its resilience7, and how is this changing over time?

E. What is the current relationship8 between Māori and the coastal and marine environment, how is this changing, and what is the impact of human activity, resource use, and climate change on this relationship?

F. What is the conservation and environmental protection effort9 for the coastal and marine environment?

Notes

  1. Biophysical environment includes the physical environment and the biological life forms within the environment, including conditions and other variables that affect the relationship between life forms and their physical environment.
  2. Coastal and marine environment includes areas of the world usually covered by or containing sea water, including seas and oceans, harbours, river estuaries, salt-water marshes and mangroves, and coasts and beaches – including biological and physical elements such as water temperature, salinity, and the composition and spread of marine species.
  3. Natural resources include renewable and non-renewable resources in the coastal and marine environment, such as fish, mineral and gas reserves, and the resources supporting aquaculture.
  4. Ecosystem services are grouped into four main types – provisioning services (eg providing food), regulatory services (eg when oceans act as a carbon sink), supporting services (eg nutrient cycling), and cultural services (eg the enjoyment visitors gain from marine reserves).
  5. We consider ecosystem services provided by terrestrial and freshwater environments under the ecosystems and biodiversity topic.
  6. Including resource use, climate change, pollution, invasive species, and waste assimilation.
  7. Resilience means the ability to recover readily from some shock or disturbance, adjust to change, or recover from a catastrophic failure in a system.
  8. The relationship between Māori and the coastal and marine environment includes the impact on taonga (treasured) species.
  9. Environmental protection effort includes remediating environmental damage, resource management, expenditure, areas protected under regulation and legislation, damage avoidance, research, and minimising natural hazards.

Topic 4 – Ecosystems and biodiversity

Enduring question

To what extent is the native (indigenous) biodiversity of New Zealand being protected and sustained?

Supplementary enduring questions

A. How and where is the diversity and condition of indigenous species changing?1

B. How and where is the diversity and condition of indigenous ecosystems changing?

C. What impact does change to the diversity and condition of indigenous species and ecosystems have on natural capital2 and the provision of ecosystem services?3

D. What is driving the change4 to the diversity and condition of indigenous species and ecosystems, where does it occur, and how is it changing over time?

E. What ecosystem services5 are currently provided by New Zealand’s terrestrial and freshwater environments, and how are these predicted to change in the future?

F. What and where is the impact of change to culturally significant indigenous taonga (treasured) species, mahinga kai (customary food gathering areas and practices), and ecosystems, and what is being done to protect and sustain them?

G. What and where is environmental protection effort6 being undertaken to protect and sustain the diversity and condition of indigenous species and ecosystems, including people and agencies, time and capital and how effective are the different efforts?

Notes

  1. Changes include how and where the threats to indigenous biodiversity are changing, such as threats from exotic weeds and pests, human activity resulting in habitat loss, land use intensification, climate change, and air pollution.
  2. Natural capital includes renewable and non-renewable resources in ecosystems (eg indigenous forests).
  3. Ecosystem services are grouped into four main types – provisioning services (eg providing food), regulatory services (eg when oceans act as a carbon sink), supporting services (eg nutrient cycling), and cultural services (eg the enjoyment visitors gain from marine reserves).
  4. Changes include how and where the threat to indigenous biodiversity is changing (eg threats from exotic weeds and pests, human activities resulting in habitat loss, land use intensification, climate change, and air pollution).
  5. Ecosystem services are grouped into four main types – provisioning services (eg providing food), regulatory services (eg when oceans act as a carbon sink), supporting services (eg nutrient cycling), and cultural services (eg the enjoyment visitors gain from marine reserves). Coastal and marine environment ecosystem services are considered in that Coastal and marine area.
  6. Environmental protection effort includes remediating environmental damage, resource management, expenditure, areas protected under regulation and legislation, damage avoidance, research, and minimising natural hazards.

Topic 5 – Energy

Enduring question

What is the environmental impact of New Zealand's generation, distribution, and use of energy, and to what extent are renewable options taken?

Supplementary enduring questions

A. What and where are New Zealand’s current energy resources and what is the potential for future exploitation and development?

B. What and where is the environmental impact of energy1 generation2, distribution, and use in New Zealand?

C. What and where is the environmental impact through the life cycle3 of renewable energy generation, and which types of renewable energy best support New Zealand's sustainable development?

D. To what extent are energy conservation and energy efficiency options being taken, and where and how are these affecting the demand for energy?

E. What and where are the environmental-cultural risks and impact of energy generation, distribution, and use, for Māori, and how can they be minimised?

F. What and where is environmental protection effort4 being done to address the environmental impact of energy generation, distribution, and use?

Notes

  1. Both non-renewable (includes, but is not limited to, coal, gas, and oil) and renewable (includes, but is not limited to, hydro, geothermal, wind, biogas, solar, tidal, and wave) resources.
  2. Generation refers to extracting and capturing resources for productive use.
  3. The life cycle covers the cumulative environmental impact of building power generation capacity, and maintaining, running, and decommissioning plant and equipment.
  4. Environmental protection effort includes remediating environmental damage, resource management, expenditure, areas protected under regulation and legislation, damage avoidance, research, and minimising natural hazards.

Topic 6 – Freshwater

Enduring question

How is the quality, abundance, and use of New Zealand's freshwater changing, and what is the impact on ecosystems and humans?

Supplementary enduring questions

A. What is New Zealand's freshwater1 quality2, what are the spatial and temporal trends,3 and how are these affected by climate change, human activity, and other pressures?
B. What is the quantity (stocks) of New Zealand's freshwater, what are the spatial and temporal trends, and how are these affected by climate change, human activity, and other pressures?
C. What is the use (flows) and allocation of our freshwater, what are the spatial and temporal trends, and how are these affected by climate change, human activity, and other pressures?
D. What impact does the change to quality, quantity, and use of freshwater have on ecosystems and humans?
E. What is the health4 of freshwater and freshwater mahinga kai (customary food gathering areas and practices) from a Māori perspective5, and how and why is this changing?
F. What, where, and how is environmental protection effort6 being done to maintain and improve freshwater? 

Notes

  1. Freshwater includes (but is not limited to) rivers, lakes, wetlands, rain, snow, ice, and ground water.
  2. Quality includes measures of nutrient, heat, organic, sediment, macro-invertebrates, and bacteriological quality. Emerging contaminants, such as endocrine disruptors, may also be considered.
  3. Trends include the general directions of the past and present, and predictions of future possibilities.
  4. Health includes the look, sound, smell, and feel of freshwater, uses of the river, the abundance and diversity of mahinga kai, water quality, riverbank condition, water flow characteristics, and safety of the water to drink and other indicators.
  5. At the catchment and site level.
  6. Environmental protection effort includes remediating environmental damage, resource management, expenditure, areas protected under regulation and legislation, damage avoidance, research, and minimising natural hazards.

Topic 7 – Land

Enduring question

What are our land cover and land use profiles, how are they changing, what is driving these changes, and what is the consequential impact on New Zealand's soils, and natural and cultural landscapes, including urban environments and conservation lands?

Supplementary enduring questions

A. What is New Zealand’s land use, and how is this changing1 spatially and temporally?

B. What is New Zealand’s land cover and how is this changing spatially and temporally?

C. What is driving the changes2 in New Zealand's land use and land cover?

D. What is the current and potential future impact3 of land use and land cover change in New Zealand?

E. What is the quality4 and quantity of New Zealand’s soil and how is this changing spatially and temporally?

F. What is the impact of land use and land cover profiles on Māori and Māori-owned land and how is this changing?

G. What and where are New Zealand’s protected areas,5 how are they changing, and what is the environmental protection effort6 done?

Notes

  1. Changes in land use include land use intensification, change in soil quantity, and potential changes to land use.
  2. Changes include market and non-market factors.
  3. Impact of land use and land cover in New Zealand can extend to soils, freshwater, greenhouse gas emissions, natural hazards, biodiversity, coastal environments, ecosystem services, and the loss of versatile soils (fertile, well-drained, slopes less than 12 degrees valuable for food production, and an important natural resource) to urban development.
  4. Soil physical quality could be judged against land use, with quality being regarded as meaning 'fit for purpose'. For example, even small patches of soil contaminated from past industrial or agricultural use may be of poor quality for urban residential land use, but of acceptable quality for some industrial use.
  5. Protected areas include all lands legally protected for conservation purposes, including amenity areas, conservation parks, ecological areas, fixed marginal strips, government purpose reserves, historic reserves, local purpose reserves, national parks, private covenants (eg Queen Elizabeth II, Ngā Whenua Rāhui), recreation reserves, regional parks, scenic reserves, stewardship areas, wildlife management areas, and wildlife refuges.
  6. Environmental protection effort includes remediating environmental damage, resource management, expenditure, areas protected under regulation and legislation, damage avoidance, research, and minimising natural hazards.

Topic 8 – Māori environmental statistics

Enduring question

From a Māori1 perspective, why, where, and how is New Zealand's environment changing, and what impact is this having on Māori aspirations2 and well-being?3

Notes

  1. Māori includes individuals with a Māori cultural identity and ancestry (whakapapa); including Māori belonging to iwi / hapū / whānau (tribe / subtribe / family), marae, Māori organisations, urban authorities, kaitiaki (caretaking) groups, Māori landowners, Māori businesses, and Māori networks.
  2. Aspirations include, but are not limited to, desired goals, preferences, and outcomes based on cultural values.
  3. Well-being refers to, but is not limited to, cultural, spiritual, social, physical, economic, and political well-being.

Supplementary enduring questions

A. How well are Māori represented in the governance and management of natural resources, and how effective is this representation for achieving desired outcomes for Māori?

B. Where, why, and how are the abundance of taonga (treasured) species and mahinga kai (customary food gathering areas and practices) changing?1

C. Where, why, and how is the condition of taonga species and mahinga kai changing?

D. What is the condition of sites of cultural, spiritual, and natural significance?2

E. To what extent are Māori able to access natural and customary resources, and what, if any, are the impediments?

F. Where, why, and how are land cover and land use changing3 on Māori land through time?

G. Where and how are Māori practising and implementing kaitiakitanga (caretaking) across defined areas or regions?4

Notes

  1. May include the presence/absence of such species or mahinga kai, the distribution/location, or the abundance/scarcity.
  2. Can include significant sites and areas such as wāhi taonga and wāhi tapu (eg puke (hill), maunga (mountain), awa (river), manga (stream), roto (lake), repo (swamp), ara (pathway), marae (meeting area), pā (village) sites) at the discretion of iwi / hapū / whānau). Does not include highly confidential or sensitive areas.
  3. Includes changes in areal extent of Māori land.
  4. Includes land, air, freshwater, coastal, and marine areas.

Topic 9 – Materials and waste

Enduring question

How do production and consumption patterns in New Zealand affect waste generation and minimisation?

Supplementary enduring questions

A. What and where are the effects1 of production and consumption on New Zealand’s environment?

B. To what extent is New Zealand adopting technologies, production methods2, and best practices that make more efficient use of natural resources, minimise waste, and reduce the impact on the environment from production and consumption?

C. What and where is the total amount and composition of waste3 generated, recycled, and disposed of in New Zealand?

D. What is the environmental impact of waste in New Zealand?

E. To what extent are Māori values affected by current waste management practices?

F. What environment protection effort4 is undertaken to reduce the impact of waste on the environment?

Notes

  1. The effects of production and consumption include the physical flow of materials into, through, and out of the economy.
  2. Production methods and practices to reduce waste and increase resource use efficiency include waste management, waste minimisation systems, technologies for achieving waste reduction, and improving natural resource use efficiency.
  3. Waste includes hazardous waste; solid, liquid, and gaseous waste; and materials disposed of in landfill and dry fill.
  4. Environmental protection effort includes remediating environmental damage, resource management, expenditure, areas protected under regulation and legislation, damage avoidance, research, and minimising natural hazards.

Topic 10 – Mineral resources

Enduring question

What are New Zealand's on-shore and off-shore mineral resources, and what is the environmental impact of prospecting, exploration, production, refining, processing, and transporting the resources?

Supplementary enduring questions

A. What and where are New Zealand’s onshore and offshore mineral resources1?

B. What are the quantity, quality, and composition of these resources?

C. What are the environmental constraints on exploration and development?

D. What and where is the environmental impact of attaining2 mineral resources?

E. What mineral resources exist on Māori land and in tribal customary areas across New Zealand, both onshore and offshore?

F. What, how, and where is environmental protection effort3 being done to understand, avoid, remedy, and mitigate the environmental impact of attaining mineral resources?

Notes

  1. The difference between a resource and a reserve is that a resource has the potential for economic extraction. A reserve is limited to materials that can be extracted at a profit.
  2. Attaining includes prospecting, exploration, production, refining, processing, and transporting.
  3. Environmental protection effort includes remediating environmental damage, resource management, expenditure, areas protected under regulation and legislation, damage avoidance, research, and minimising natural hazards.
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