The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment will become responsible for five yearly reports on the state of New Zealand's environment under a proposed Environmental Reporting Act.

In a discussion paper published by the Ministry for the Environment (Measuring Up: Environmental Reporting) the Government states that New Zealand is in a "poor position to provide hard evidence that its clean, green brand is justified", and that it is one of only a few OECD countries without a legislative basis for national state of the environment reporting.

It is intended that the improved environmental reporting will provide a strong evidence base within the Ministry to support policy-making and international reporting obligations. Regulation making power in the RMA is also proposed to be expanded to improve the consistency of the state of the environment monitoring statistics at the local level.

Submissions on the discussion document are due by 18 October 2011.