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The environment is important to New Zealanders. It is critical to our economic, social, and cultural well-being. But what shape are we leaving it in for future generations? What impact are we having on the environment in using its resources?

Environment domain plan 2013 identifies the information we need to answer our big environmental questions. We gathered the enduring questions, analysed how well the official data informs these questions, and identified the information we need to improve future environmental management. The domain plan embodies broad consensus from stakeholders about the main priority initiatives and the strategy for addressing these over the next five to eight years.

Domain plans fulfil Statistics NZ’s responsibility under the Statistics Act 1975 to periodically review information needs, the adequacy of statistics, and to coordinate statistical activity across government.

This is the first domain plan to focus on the environment and the largest and most ambitious domain plan so far. We are pleased to see it reach this publication milestone, where initiatives are outlined.

The process for developing this domain plan required significant collaboration. It was led by Statistics NZ, the Ministry for the Environment, and the Department of Conservation. We very much appreciate the strong involvement from other central government agencies, local government, Māori, Crown research institutes, business, and non-government organisations. Particular thanks go to the advisory group members who helped direct the project and endorsed the process and products.

This environment domain plan is aspirational. Through extensive consultation with stakeholders 154 initiatives were identified, and 36 of these have been highlighted as the most important for action. Further work will be needed to consider how best to deliver on this aspiration. We will need an implementation plan that provides the information and reporting to support broader Natural Resources Sector priorities, and to enhance decision-making. This implementation plan will require further collaboration across the Natural Resources Sector.

The process for developing this domain plan has already helped guide environmental research and the principles, practices, and priorities of statistical reporting. For example, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has incorporated the environment domain plan questions and initiatives into its funding process for freshwater and biodiversity research. New Tier 1 statistics under development will also fulfil some of the domain plan’s ambitions. 

Dallas Welch
Acting Government Statistician
Statistics New Zealand
  Mark Sowden
Acting Secretary for the Environment
Ministry for the Environment

Al Morrison
Department of Conservation


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