Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment

Last updated

Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment
Te Kaitiaki Taiao a Te Whare Pāremata
PCE 20 Forum Three Commissioners.jpg
New Zealand's first three Parliamentary Commissioners for the Environment (from left): Helen Hughes (1987–1997), Dr Morgan Williams (1997–2007), Dr Jan Wright (2007–2017)
Agency overview
JurisdictionNew Zealand
HeadquartersReserve Bank Building, 2 The Terrace, Wellington, New Zealand
Annual budgetTotal budget for 2019/20 [1]
Vote Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment
Agency executive
  • Simon Upton, Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment

The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (Te Kaitiaki Taiao a Te Whare Pāremata in Māori) is an independent Officer of the New Zealand Parliament appointed by the Governor-General on the recommendation of the House of Representatives for a five-year term under the Environment Act 1986. [2] The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment replaced the Commission for the Environment, a Government agency which was formed in 1972.



The Commissioner is one of three officers of Parliament (the Ombudsmen and the controller and auditor general) who are independent of the executive and who may review activities of the executive government and report directly to Parliament. [3]

The Commissioner's role is to review and provide advice on environmental issues and the system of agencies and processes established by the Government to manage the environment. [4] The primary objective of the office is to contribute to maintaining and improving the quality of the environment in New Zealand through advice given to Parliament, local councils, business, tangata whenua, communities and other public agencies.

The Commissioner may:


NamePortraitTerm of office
1 Helen Hughes PCE 20 Forum Three Commissioners (cropped) - Helen Hughes.jpg 1987–1996
2 Morgan Williams Morgan Williams QSO (cropped).jpg 1997–2007
3 Jan Wright Jan Wright, 2007.jpg 2007–2017
4 Simon Upton Simon Upton 01 crop.jpg 2017–present

Related Research Articles

Politics of New Zealand Unitary parliamentary representative democracy

The politics of New Zealand function within a framework of a unitary parliamentary representative democracy. The structure of government is based on the Westminster system, and the legal system is modelled on the common law of England. New Zealand is a constitutional monarchy, in which Queen Elizabeth II is the sovereign and head of state.

Politics of Niue Political system of Niue

Politics of Niue takes place in a framework of a parliamentary representative democratic dependency, whereby the Chief Minister is the head of government, and of a non-partisan system. Niue is self-governing in free association with New Zealand and is fully responsible for internal affairs. New Zealand retains some responsibility for external affairs, in consultation with Niue. The Niue Constitution Act 1974 (NZ) vests executive authority in Her Majesty the Queen in Right of New Zealand and the Governor-General of New Zealand. The constitution specifies that in everyday practice, it is exercised by a Cabinet of the Premier of Niue and three other ministers. The premier and ministers must be members of the Niue Assembly, the nation's legislative assembly. The Judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature.

Public sector organisations in New Zealand wikimedia list article

Public sector organisations in New Zealand comprise the state sector organisations plus those of local government.

Administrator of the government Government officer

An administrator in the constitutional practice of some countries in the Commonwealth is a person who fulfils a role similar to that of a governor or a governor-general.

New Zealand Parliament Unicameral legislature of New Zealand

The New Zealand Parliament is the unicameral legislature of New Zealand, consisting of the Queen of New Zealand (Queen-in-Parliament) and the New Zealand House of Representatives. The Queen is usually represented by her governor-general. Before 1951, there was an upper chamber, the New Zealand Legislative Council. The New Zealand Parliament was established in 1854 and is one of the oldest continuously functioning legislatures in the world. It has met in Wellington, the capital of New Zealand, since 1865.

New Zealand House of Representatives Sole chamber of the New Zealand Parliament

The House of Representatives is the sole chamber of the New Zealand Parliament. The House passes laws, provides ministers to form Cabinet, and supervises the work of government. It is also responsible for adopting the state's budgets and approving the state's accounts.

The Environment Agency (EA) is a non-departmental public body, established in 1995 and sponsored by the United Kingdom government's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), with responsibilities relating to the protection and enhancement of the environment in England.

Resource Management Act 1991

The Resource Management Act (RMA) passed in 1991 in New Zealand is a significant, and at times, controversial Act of Parliament. The RMA promotes the sustainable management of natural and physical resources such as land, air and water. New Zealand's Ministry for the Environment describes the RMA as New Zealand's principal legislation for environmental management.

The Electoral Commission is an independent Crown entity set up by the New Zealand Parliament. It is responsible for the administration of parliamentary elections and referendums, promoting compliance with electoral laws, servicing the work of the Representation Commission, and the provision of advice, reports and public education on electoral matters. The commission also assists electoral agencies of other countries on a reciprocal basis with their electoral events.

The Ministry for the Environment is the public service department of New Zealand charged with advising the New Zealand Government on policies and issues affecting the environment, in addition to the relevant environmental laws and standards. The Environment Act 1986 is the statute that establishes the Ministry.

The Australian Intelligence Community (AIC) and the National Intelligence Community (NIC) or National Security Community of the Australian Government are the collectives of statutory intelligence agencies, policy departments, and other government agencies concerned with protecting and advancing the national security and national interests of the Commonwealth of Australia. The intelligence and security agencies of the Australian Government have evolved since the Second World War and the Cold War and saw transformation and expansion during the Global War on Terrorism with military deployments in Afghanistan, Iraq and against ISIS in Syria. Key international and national security issues for the Australian Intelligence Community include terrorism and violent extremism, cybersecurity, transnational crime, the rise of China, and Pacific regional security.

Constitution of New Zealand Uncodified national constitution

The constitution of New Zealand is the sum of laws and principles that determine the political governance of New Zealand. Unlike many other nations, New Zealand has no single constitutional document. It is an uncodified constitution, sometimes referred to as an "unwritten constitution", although the New Zealand constitution is in fact an amalgamation of written and unwritten sources. The Constitution Act 1986 has a central role, alongside a collection of other statutes, orders in Council, letters patent, decisions of the courts, principles of the Treaty of Waitangi, and unwritten traditions and conventions. There is no technical difference between ordinary statutes and law considered "constitutional law". In most cases the New Zealand Parliament can perform "constitutional reform" simply by passing acts of Parliament, and thus has the power to change or abolish elements of the constitution. There are some exceptions to this though – the Electoral Act 1993 requires certain provisions can only be amended following a referendum.

Governor-General of New Zealand Representative of the monarch of New Zealand

The governor-general of New Zealand is the viceregal representative of the monarch of New Zealand, currently Queen Elizabeth II. As the Queen is concurrently the monarch of 15 other Commonwealth realms, and lives in the United Kingdom, she, on the advice of her New Zealand prime minister, appoints a governor-general to carry out her constitutional and ceremonial duties within the Realm of New Zealand.

Public Service Commission (New Zealand)

The Public Service Commission (PSC), called the State Services Commission until 2020, is the central public service department of New Zealand charged with overseeing, managing, and improving the performance of the State sector of New Zealand and its organisations.

Official Information Act 1982 Act governing freedom of information in New Zealand

The Official Information Act 1982 is a statute of the New Zealand Parliament which creates a public right of access to information held by government bodies. It is New Zealand's primary freedom of information law and an important part of New Zealand's constitutional framework.

Environmental Health Officers are responsible for carrying out measures for protecting public health, including administering and enforcing legislation related to environmental health and providing support to minimize health and safety hazards. Environmental Health Officers keep our water, food, air, land, facilities and other environmental factors safe of health hazards, whether biological, chemical or physical. They also address the related factors that impact behaviours. Environmental Health Officers assess and control environmental factors that can potentially affect health, to prevent disease and create health-supportive environments. Environmental determinants of health play a major role in a community’s overall health and well-being, and thus Environmental Health Officers are essential in improving population health outcomes and reducing the burden of disease.

New Zealand Government Central government of New Zealand

The New Zealand Government is the central government through which governing authority is exercised in New Zealand. As in most parliamentary democracies, the term "Government" refers chiefly to the executive branch, and more specifically to the collective ministry directing the executive. Based on the principle of responsible government, it operates within the framework that "the Queen reigns, but the government rules, so long as it has the support of the House of Representatives". The Cabinet Manual describes the main laws, rules and conventions affecting the conduct and operation of the Government.

The Controller and Auditor-General is an Officer of the New Zealand Parliament responsible for auditing public bodies. John Ryan began his seven-year term as Controller and Auditor-General on 2 July 2018. The Deputy Controller and Auditor-General is Greg Schollum. Their mandate and responsibilities are set out in the Public Audit Act 2001. They are appointed by the Governor-General on the recommendation of the House of Representatives.

Executive branch of the government of Puerto Rico Chief executive body of Puerto Rico

The executive branch of the government of Puerto Rico is responsible for executing the laws of Puerto Rico, as well as causing them to be executed. Article IV of the Constitution of Puerto Rico vests the executive power on the Governor—whom by its nature forms the executive branch.

Judiciary of New Zealand

The judiciary of New Zealand is a system of courts that interprets and applies the laws of New Zealand. It has four primary functions: to provide a mechanism for dispute resolution; to deliver authoritative rulings on the meaning and application of legislation; to develop case law; and to uphold the rule of law, personal liberty and human rights.


  1. "Total Appropriations for Each Vote". Budget 2019. The Treasury. Retrieved 8 June 2019.
  2. "Environment Act 1986 No 127 (as at 01 August 2008), Public Act – New Zealand Legislation". New Zealand Government. 1 August 2008. Retrieved 1 May 2012.
  3. Wilson, John (31 October 2011). "6. The state sector and Crown entities – Nation and government". Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
  4. Statistics New Zealand (1996). New Zealand Official Yearbook 1996. Statistics New Zealand, Wellington.