OECD Environmental Performance Review of New Zealand

  • Simon Upton

The Minister for the Environment, Hon Simon Upton, today announced the release of the OECD's review of New Zealand's environmental performance. The review will soon be on sale at Government bookshops.

The Minister explained that all OECD member countries participated in these environmental reviews. The reviews served a number of different functions, but their principal aim was to help member countries improve their environmental management.

"The reviews help governments assess progress towards environmental objectives," he said. "They also help governments share information on ways of achieving environmental improvements, and they help raise public awareness of governments' policies and actions to improve the environment."

The Minister said the report made some very useful observations, and offered recommendations to improve the environmental management of the country. The recommendations were put forward for consideration by the Government, and were not designed to prescribe future policy directions.

"The Caretaker Government has not considered the report's recommendations and in releasing it is not commenting on the recommendations," said Mr Upton. "That will be for the incoming Government to consider. However, the review will be a useful touchstone for the incoming Government in its consideration of new or alternative policies for environmental management."

The Minister noted that it was more than 15 months since the review team visited New Zealand. In the intervening period a significant number of issues identified by the review had been acted upon. Many issues received priority in the Green Package announced in the 1996 Budget; in addition the Government had passed new legislation such as the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act and the Fisheries Act; and developed the Sustainable Land Management Strategy released in June 1996.

Mr Upton said: "To help public understanding of progress made on these issues over the last year or so, I have asked departments to produce an `update document'. This will be made available with copies of the Review, or it can be obtained from the Ministry for the Environment."