Because the functions of the Commissioner are broad – and there are many environmental issues worthy of investigation – choices about future work need to be made carefully.
Projects that add value to Members of Parliament and the wider public are prioritised, leading the Commissioner to seek out areas that have been neglected or where his independence can enable progress. At the same time, the Commissioner needs to be able to respond to compelling concerns that develop with little notice.
Subject to such contingencies, a number of future areas of work are either underway or under consideration.
The marine area is New Zealand’s largest environmental domain and is under pressure from fishing, climate change and land-based sources of pollution. Building on the investigation into estuaries, opportunities for further work in the marine realm and how it is best managed are under consideration.
The efficient and effective performance of environmental agencies and decision-making systems is essential for securing good environmental outcomes. While these are analysed to some extent in most reports and advice provided by the Commissioner, dedicated reviews of central and local government machinery will be considered from time to time.