MfE’s launches long-term, non-binding environmental goals

MfE’s ‘A Generation from Now’ environmental goals 

On the heels of its Environment Aotearoa 2015 Report, New Zealand’s Ministry for the Environment has published a set of long-term goals for improving air, land, atmospheric, freshwater, and marine environments. 

New Zealand’s Secretary for the Environment, Vicky Robertson, launched the ambitious ‘A Generation from Now’ goals this morning, November 26, at the Aotea Centre in Auckland. 

A panel comprising Vicky Robertson, Dr Jarrod Walker, Senior Marine Scientist at Auckland Council, Sir Stephen Tindall, Co-Founder of The Tindall Foundation, Dr Marie Brown, Senior Policy Analyst at Environmental Defence Society, and Stephen Town, Chief Executive for Auckland Council, fielded tough questions from the floor, relating to the report and the follow up goals. 

Key questions focused on how the data produced in the Environment Aotearoa Report 2015 will translate into robust environmental management policies; how duplication by Auckland Council and the Ministry for the Environment (MfE) will be avoided, without cutting budgets; whether the data and reporting meets OECD standards; and how to avoid inaction arising from climate science deniers. 

Responding to some of these questions, Ms Robertson stressed that the goals are intended to focus minds on key environmental issues and trigger a conversation on how these issues can be resolved. 

The goals are not binding and in some cases, working groups and plans have yet to be established. Ms Robertson emphasised that the purpose of the goals is to stimulate discussion about how to achieve them, rather than to trigger debate about their degree of accuracy. “Whether the targets are right or wrong doesn’t really matter; their purpose is to kick off a rich internal conversation”, she explained. 

She noted a shift in policy focus toward addressing domestic climate change, resilience, adaptation and mitigation, and the need for greater understanding around “who pays” for natural hazards such as sea level rise. 

The panel stressed that the report and goals provide a platform for collaboration and engagement, supporting a collective process for improving New Zealand’s environmental stewardship. 

RMLA’s President Maree Baker-Galloway welcomed both the Report and the long-term goals set out by the Ministry for the Environment: “The RMLA sees potential for touchstones such as the Environment Aotearoa 2015 Report and the ‘Generation from Now’ goals to assist decision-making with a more consistent, long term focus”. 

To view the ‘A Generation From Now’ goals, please click here or visit: 


To view the Environment Aotearoa Report 2015, please click here or visit: 



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About RMLA

Founded in 1992, the Resource Management Law Association (RMLA) is a multi-disciplinary membership organisation Association with over 1100 members including lawyers, planners, environmental managers, scientists, engineers, architects, local authority and central government officers. The RMLA seeks to promote within New Zealand an understanding of resource management law and its implementation; excellence in resource management policy and practice; resource management processes which are legally sound, effective and efficient; and which produce high-quality environmental outcomes.