The Ministry for the Environment works in partnership with other agencies to locate, use and share environmental information, for example, regional and territorial councils, Crown Research Institutes and cross-government agencies.
In order to produce national-scale state of the environment reports, the Ministry collects data from a variety of different central government agencies, also known as reporting partners. The Ministry's ability to produce accurate and timely reports is dependent on the supply of high-quality data, which makes the partnership between the Ministry and its reporting partners crucial to the production of these official statistics.
The joint partnership agreements between the Ministry and local government are essential for national environmental reporting. The Ministry and all 16 regional councils have signed an Environmental Information Sharing Protocol whereby the Ministry and councils agree to share environmental data.
The Ministry produces a regular newsletter, the Environmental Indicators Quarterly. It updates key Ministry stakeholders and users of environmental information on what's happening in the realm of national environmental reporting.
The Ministry facilitates a national environmental information forum twice a year for sharing information and best practice on environmental monitoring and reporting. The forum is a national network of people from a broad range of monitoring and reporting organisations, including local and regional government, central government, Crown Research Institutes and iwi/hapū.
A number of regions have their own environmental information forums, providing a platform for local government agencies to share information. These initiatives seek to improve access to environmental information while ensuring better integration of resources.
In national environmental reporting and policy development, high-quality environmental information is critical. Metadata is information about data. Metadata is important for assessing the usability and quality of datasets by looking at, for example, publisher or data owner, data collection method and accuracy of data.
At present, environmental monitoring is carried out by a number of agencies across the country using a range of methods. Metadata standards result in consistent methodology and improved quality of the monitoring information gathered.
The Environmental Metadata Framework is tailored to the needs of those with environmental and geospatial interests within New Zealand. It has been designed to fit with e-government initiatives and other whole-of-government processes. Following on from this work, Land and Information New Zealand is now leading the development of a geospatial metadata standard.
The Ministry will know if its environmental reporting is useful, fact-based and timely, if:
The Ministry's environmental reporting programme does not work in isolation. It must operate according to specific requirements and meet expectations set by the Statistics Act 1975, Statistics New Zealand and international obligations. This includes:
The Ministry for the Environment has, from time to time, worked with hapū and iwi to develop tools that support reporting of Māori environmental values and promote Māori involvement in environmental monitoring and reporting.
The Kaimoana Survey Guidelines for Hapū and Iwi provide hapū and iwi with information and a suggested process for undertaking a survey of kaimoana (seafood) resources.
The Cultural Health Index for Streams and Waterways provides Māori with a tool to assess and manage waterways in their area.
Māori Methods and Indicators for Marine Protection, developed with Ngāti Kere and Ngāti Konohi, and jointly supported by the Ministry for the Environment and Department of Conservation.
Stream Health Monitoring and Assessment kit for Māori, developed in conjunction with National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research and supported by the Ministry for the Environment.
Last updated: February 2009