This publication is no longer current or has been superseded.
This report assesses New Zealand's sustainability performance against two criteria - the amount of land 'appropriated' by each person to support their consumption (ecological footprint per capita), and whether we're living within the 'carrying capacity' of the land we have available.
So, how are we doing? This report shows that, overall, New Zealand is one of the few developed countries that is living within its carrying capacity. However, the picture is somewhat different around the country. The report gives a valuable insight into the nature and extent of interdependence of regions around New Zealand. Regions that are more urbanised and have a higher population density (such as Auckland, Wellington, and Nelson) 'overshoot' their carrying capacity in that they rely on the use of land in other regions (and other countries) to support their consumption levels. This is sustainable as long as New Zealand as a whole is living within its carrying capacity. To continue this good performance is a goal to which the Government is firmly committed.
The publication of this report and its companion web-based indicator report card and personal footprint calculator (see www.environment.govt.nz/footprint) signal a milestone for environmental and sustainability reporting in New Zealand. As a technical report, it includes sufficient detail for those who want to explore the regional pictures more closely. For others, it provides a new way of thinking about sustainable development at both the regional and national levels.
I hope it will stimulate further discussion and debate, not only about the way we measure sustainability performance in New Zealand but also about the implications for sustainable development policy directions and objectives.
Hon. Marian Hobbs,
MINISTER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT