In early 2003 the Ministry for the Environment introduced a system of monthly reporting across the organisation. We use the reports from each of our business groups as the basis for sharing information and discussing issues of importance with the wider management team. Each month I am reminded, as I read the reports and hear the highlights presented by our General Managers, of the wide range of our activities and what is being achieved.
We enter the 2005 - 2008 period as an organisation in good heart and clearly focused on our priorities. We will begin some major new work programmes in the new financial year and expand others.
The international Kyoto Protocol came into force on 16 February 2005. Under the Protocol, New Zealand has committed to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to the level they were in 1990, or take responsibility for excess emissions. The climate change work we are leading across government now takes on an added intensity as we head towards the first commitment period (2008 - 2012).
The Government has approved a broad-based work programme over the next two years for the review of river control and flood risk management in New Zealand. The intention is to create a clear picture of flood risk, clarify roles and responsibilities, and develop a flood risk management approach that is adaptable to the circumstances of councils and communities.
The work programme flowing from the review of the Resource Management Act is also substantial. The development of national policy statements and national environmental standards will provide greater national direction to local government. We have been delighted with the interest in the voluntary programme of councillor training and now need to expand this into an accreditation programme. We will also be taking a stronger role in review of and assistance to councils.
Also taking on increasing significance are our activities to promote sustainable industry. For example, the sustainable tourism project piloted in Northland is now being expanded to five other regions with support from the Ministry of Tourism. We aim to take the eco-efficiency approach to other business sectors this year, as well as continuing our focus on extended producer responsibility.
The launch of the Urban Design Protocol by Prince Charles and Minister Marian Hobbs on 8 March 2005 marked an important milestone in the Urban Affairs work programme. The work on the Protocol now moves into a stage of building support and providing guidance.
This Statement of Intent outlines our main activities for 2005 - 2008. We look forward to a challenging and productive work programme.