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Appendix 6: Environment domain plan history

This chapter presents the background to domain plans and the environment domain plan in particular. The topics are discussed here, including how the Māori environmental statistics topic developed. Finally, a success story highlights how the domain plans can be used.

Domain plans

The Official Statistics System (OSS) includes all government agencies led by Statistics NZ. In 2003, a review of the OSS recommended that Statistics NZ take a greater role in leading the system.

This greater leadership role drove Statistics NZ to create new and review existing domain plans. This increased attention resulted in the environment domain plan.

The environment domain plan

Frameworks were discussed for domains plans across the social, economic, and environmental domains. Three steps were outlined for them.

The steps for the environment domain plan are:

  • demand for information – a description of the information needed (enduring questions)
  • supply of data - documentation of existing data sources (stocktake)
  • statistical development activity - a prioritised list of statistical development activities (prioritised initiatives).

The environment domain plan process followed these three steps (for more information see the ‘Process for developing this domain plan’ section under 'Snapshot of the environment domain plan' chapter).

Topic areas

Statistics NZ, the Ministry for the Environment, and the Department of Conservation agreed on and developed 10 topic areas for the environment domain plan (see chapter 1, Introduction).

One of the first topics was environmental protection effort. This topic was intended to cover matters such as risk mitigation, resource management, and protection expenditure. While the boundaries between topic areas are somewhat arbitrary (for example, ecosystems and biodiversity occur on land and in freshwater), it was reasoned that environmental protection effort was strongly interwoven into all of the other nine topics. So it was decided that environmental protection effort would not be a topic on its own but instead be absorbed into the other nine topics. Environmental protection effort is reflected in the supplementary enduring questions, with each set of topic questions including a designated question on environmental protection effort.

As well as having a question on environmental protection effort, each topic includes a Māori-themed question. However, after consultation with the Māori Statistics Advisory team, it was decided that these questions only have a ‘Crown view’ flavour to them, and for completeness, the environment domain plan should capture the more holistic Māori views. The Māori environmental statistics topic was created to capture wider Māori views. The scope of this topic was purposely broader than the other nine topics to include the cultural aspects of the environment from a Māori perspective.

Success story

Now that the environment domain plan is complete, the key challenge is to see the initiatives realised. The Domain plan for energy sector 2006–2016 is a good example of what a domain plan can achieve. It proposed many development initiatives, one of which was on measuring energy end-use. This initiative led to the formation of the Energy Use Survey, which is currently produced by Statistics NZ.

The next phase of the environment domain plan will be to work with the right parties to act on the initiatives, and to create stories such as the example provided by the energy domain plan. 


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