Ministry for the Environment (New Zealand)

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Ministry for the Environment
Manatū Mō Te Taiao
Agency overview
JurisdictionNew Zealand
Headquarters8 Willis St,
Wellington 6011
Annual budgetVote Environment
Total budget for 2019/20
Ministers responsible
Agency executive
  • James Palmer, Chief Executive and Secretary for the Environment

The Ministry for the Environment (MfE; Māori: Manatū Mō Te Taiao) is the public service department of New Zealand charged with advising the New Zealand Government on policies and issues affecting the environment, in addition to the relevant environmental laws and standards. The Environment Act 1986 is the statute that establishes the Ministry.


Functions assigned by Section 31 of the Environment Act 1986 include advising the Minister for the Environment on all aspects of environmental administration, obtaining and disseminating information, and generally providing advice on environmental matters. Since 1988, the Ministry of the Environment has coordinated New Zealand's interdepartmental policy response to climate change.[3]

The Environmental Protection Authority was set up in 2011 to carry out some of the environmental regulatory functions of the MfE as well as other government departments.

The Ministry for the Environment administer a number of environmental funds:[4]

  • Waste Minimisation Fund
  • Environmental Legal Assistance Fund
  • Contaminated Sites Remediation Fund

It runs the Green Ribbon Awards, which have been given out by the Minister for the Environment since 1990.[5]

The Ministry owns the Environmental Choice New Zealand ecolabel,[6] but it is administered independently by the New Zealand Ecolabelling Trust.[7]

In 1997 the Ministry released New Zealand's first State of the Environment report.[8] This was followed up in 2008 by a second report titled Environment New Zealand 2007.[9] Chapter 13 of this report was removed before final publication but was leaked to the Green Party. After news media reported the existence of the omitted chapter, the Ministry placed the contents on its website.[10]

As stated, the Ministry for the Environment was established under the 1986 Environment Act which was implemented to encourage preventive measures for the protection of the environment.[11] The Ministry for the Environment was established to ensure broad thinking about the environmental issues that plague our world and continue to do so even more severely in the 21st century. The measures the ministry for the environment take time to consider and focus on include intrinsic values of ecosystems, including principles of the Treaty of Waitangi, values people place on the environment, needs of future generations and sustainability of natural and physical resources.[12]

As a response to the ministry for the environment, in 1991 the Resource Management Act was passed to enforce resource sustainability and environmental protection on a legal platform[13].However, in 2023 the government is repealing the Resource Management Act to enhance new laws into this reform as a way of managing the environment and the pressing issue of climate change.[14]


The Ministry serves two portfolios and four ministers.[15]

Hon David Parker Lead Minister (Ministry for the Environment)
Minister for the Environment
Hon James Shaw Minister for Climate Change Associate Minister for the Environment (Biodiversity)
Hon Peeni Henare Associate Minister for the Environment

List of ministers for the environment[edit]


  National   Labour

No. Name Portrait Term of office Prime Minister
1 Duncan MacIntyre 9 February 1972 8 December 1972 Marshall
2 Joe Walding 8 December 1972 10 September 1974 Kirk
3 Whetu Tirikatene-Sullivan 10 September 1974 12 December 1975 Rowling
4 Venn Young 12 December 1975 12 February 1981 Muldoon
5 Ian Shearer 12 February 1981 26 July 1984
6 Russell Marshall 26 July 1984 17 February 1986 Lange
7 Phil Goff 17 February 1986 24 August 1987
8 Geoffrey Palmer 24 August 1987 2 November 1990
9 Simon Upton 2 November 1990 3 October 1991 Bolger
10 Rob Storey 3 October 1991 29 November 1993
(9) Simon Upton 29 November 1993 10 December 1999
11 Marian Hobbs 10 December 1999 19 October 2005 Clark
12 David Benson-Pope 19 October 2005 27 July 2007
- David Parker
27 July 2007 31 October 2007
13 Trevor Mallard 31 October 2007 19 November 2008
14 Nick Smith 19 November 2008 21 March 2012 Key
- Chris Finlayson
21 March 2012 2 April 2012
15 Amy Adams 3 April 2012 6 October 2014
(14) Nick Smith 8 October 2014 26 October 2017
16 David Parker 26 October 2017 present Ardern

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Total Appropriations for Each Vote". Budget 2019. The Treasury.
  2. ^ a b "Ministerial List". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Retrieved 16 November 2020.
  3. ^ Ratnasiri; et al. (12 June 1996). "Report on the in-depth review of the national communication of New Zealand". UNFCCC. Retrieved 15 July 2012.
  4. ^ "Sources of funding for projects and participation". Ministry for the Environment. 14 February 2011. Retrieved 1 March 2011.
  5. ^ "The Green Ribbon Awards". Ministry for the Environment. 15 April 2011. Retrieved 5 June 2011.
  6. ^ "About Environmental Choice New Zealand". Environmental Choice New Zealand. Retrieved 19 July 2020.
  7. ^ "The New Zealand Ecolabelling Trust". Sustainable Business Council. Retrieved 19 July 2020.
  8. ^ The State of New Zealand’s Environment 1997 Archived 9 October 2009 at the Wayback Machine, Report Ref. ME612, Ministry for the Environment, Wellington, New Zealand.
  9. ^ "State of Environment New Zealand report welcomed". New Zealand Government. 31 January 2008. Archived from the original on 17 October 2008. Retrieved 30 January 2008.
  10. ^ "Ministry stands by decision to drop conclusion chapter Media release: 11 February 2008". Ministry for the Environment. 11 February 2008. Archived from the original on 2 April 2008. Retrieved 28 March 2008.
  11. ^ "Environment Act 1986". New Zealand Legislator. New Zealand Government. Retrieved 14 June 2023.
  12. ^ "About the Ministry for the Environment". Ministry for the Environment. New Zealand Government. Retrieved 13 June 2023.
  13. ^ "Resource System management reform". Ministry for the Environment. New Zealand Government. Retrieved 13 June 2023.
  14. ^ "Resource System management reform". Ministry for the Environment. New Zealand Government. Retrieved 13 June 2023.
  15. ^ "Summary of Ministers and Cabinet portfolios". Ministry for the Environment. Retrieved 16 November 2020.


  • Wilson, James Oakley (1985) [First ed. published 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1984 (4th ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. OCLC 154283103.

External links[edit]