Bay of Plenty Regional Council has today welcomed the release of Environment Aotearoa 2019 by the Ministry for the Environment.

The report highlights the most pressing environmental issues New Zealand is facing and outlines nine priority issues in need of attention.

These issues are:

·        Our native plants, animals and ecosystems are under threat.

·        Changes to the vegetation on our land are degrading soil and water.

·        Urban growth is reducing versatile land and native biodiversity.

·        Our waterways are polluted in farming areas.

·        Our environment is polluted in urban areas.

·        Taking water changes flows which affects our freshwater ecosystems.

·        The way we fish is affecting the health of our ocean environment.

·        New Zealand has high greenhouse gas emissions per person.

·        Climate change is already affecting Aotearoa New Zealand.

Regional Council’s Integrated Catchments General Manager Chris Ingle said all of these issues are already recognised by Council and many are already in our current work plan. In some cases the regional council will need government agencies to take a lead, as we do not have legislated mandates to respond in all of these areas.

In particular, he said the Regional Council has put considerable time and funding into working with our communities to improve the water quality in Bay of Plenty waterways and was continuing work on improving the biodiversity of our region.

“We are also currently consulting on our Annual Plan for 2019/20 which directly includes a question on what the community would like us to focus our Climate Change work on, which is one of the nine priority issues,” he said.

The report was prepared by the Ministry for the Environment and Stats NZ.

He said next steps for the Regional Council are to take a deeper look at the report and for Council to decide if further action is required in addition to its current work programme to help address the issues it highlights.

For further media information, please contact or call Matt Hunt on 0800 884 880.