New Zealand joined all the other Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) developed nations Thursday when the government announced it would begin producing an annual environmental report.
Environment Minister Amy Adams said the government would mandate a report that would give New Zealanders environmental information that was "credible, robust and independent."
"This new environmental reporting system will, for the first time, give us a robust, independent basis on which to track how we are performing compared to our trading partners, and will facilitate international benchmarking and comparability," Adams said in a statement.
"Where possible, the system will be aligned with international reporting, such as the OECD Green Growth indicators."
The proposed environmental reporting system would include information on five key environmental domains -- air, climate and atmosphere, freshwater, marine and land -- with biodiversity as a connecting theme.
One environmental domain report would be released every six months and a comprehensive synthesis report covering all environmental domains would be released every three years.
The secretary for the environment and the government statistician would be mandated to produce regular environmental reporting at arm's length from the government of the day, she said.
The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (PCE) would provide expert commentary and independent opinion on the quality of the underlying data and robustness of the analysis, as well as the substance of the report and any concerns it might raise.
However, the opposition Green Party said the report should be compiled by the PCE rather than the Ministry for the Environment to avoid politicization.
"The PCE reports to parliament while the Ministry for the Environment reports to the environment minister, this difference is important," Green Party environment spokesperson Eugenie Sage in a statement.
"New Zealand is the only country in the OECD which does not have legislation establishing independent state of the environment reporting yet we promote New Zealand as '100 Percent Pure.' Robust, truly independent state of the environment reporting is crucial to making that image real."