Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment

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Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment
Te Kaitiaki Taiao a Te Whare Pāremata
PCE 20 Forum Three Commissioners.jpg
New Zealand's first three Parliamentary Commissioners for the Environment (from left): Helen Hughes (1987–1997), Dr Morgan Williams (1997–2007), Dr Jan Wright (2007–2017)
Agency overview
JurisdictionNew Zealand
HeadquartersReserve Bank Building, 2 The Terrace, Wellington, New Zealand
Annual budgetTotal budget for 2019/20[1]
Vote Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment
Agency executive
  • Simon Upton, Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment

The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (Te Kaitiaki Taiao a Te Whare Pāremata in Māori) is an independent Officer of the New Zealand Parliament appointed by the Governor-General on the recommendation of the House of Representatives for a five-year term under the Environment Act 1986.[2] The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment replaced the Commission for the Environment, a Government agency which was formed in 1972.


The Commissioner is one of three officers of Parliament (the Ombudsmen and the controller and auditor general) who are independent of the executive and who may review activities of the executive government and report directly to Parliament.[3]

The Commissioner's role is to review and provide advice on environmental issues and the system of agencies and processes established by the Government to manage the environment.[4] The primary objective of the office is to contribute to maintaining and improving the quality of the environment in New Zealand through advice given to Parliament, local councils, business, tangata whenua, communities and other public agencies.

The Commissioner may:

  • investigate any matter where the environment may be, or has been adversely affected;
  • assess the capability, performance and effectiveness of the New Zealand system of environmental management; and
  • provide advice and information that will assist people to maintain and improve the quality of the environment.


Commissioners for the environment[edit]

Parliamentary commissioners for the environment[edit]

Name Portrait Term of office
1 Helen Hughes PCE 20 Forum Three Commissioners (cropped) - Helen Hughes.jpg 1987–1996
2 Morgan Williams Morgan Williams QSO (cropped).jpg 1997–2007
3 Jan Wright Jan Wright, 2007.jpg 2007–2017
4 Simon Upton Simon Upton 01 crop.jpg 2017–present


  1. ^ "Total Appropriations for Each Vote". Budget 2019. The Treasury. Retrieved 8 June 2019.
  2. ^ "Environment Act 1986 No 127 (as at 01 August 2008), Public Act – New Zealand Legislation". New Zealand Government. 1 August 2008. Retrieved 1 May 2012.
  3. ^ Wilson, John (31 October 2011). "6. The state sector and Crown entities – Nation and government". Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
  4. ^ Statistics New Zealand (1996). New Zealand Official Yearbook 1996. Statistics New Zealand, Wellington.
  5. ^ Lambert, Max (1991). Who's Who in New Zealand, 1991 (12th ed.). Auckland: Octopus. p. 41. ISBN 9780790001302.

External links[edit]