Outcome Four: Value is sustainably derived from the natural environment

New Zealand’s natural environment is important to our sense of identity and has great cultural and recreational significance. It also supports much economic activity.

Outcome Four progress bar

MBIE’s role is to help New Zealand transition to a low-carbon economy while managing the impact on the future of work and workers. It is also our job to work with scientists and innovators to develop technologies that will more efficiently manage natural resources.

Energy intensity, or the amount of energy used to produce each dollar of GDP,  continued to improve. However, there is considerable scope for further improvement with New Zealand the sixth most energy-intense economy in the OECD and an energy intensity 18% higher than the OECD average.

The development of electric vehicles (EVs) is a potential mitigation to greenhouse gas emissions in New Zealand. According to the Ministry of Transport, New Zealand is well placed to benefit from electric vehicles. Utilities companies are increasing infrastructure investment in anticipation of higher adoption of new technologies (and likely  requirements for peak-time charging).

One aspect of the lockdown was significantly reduced traffic volumes as people stayed at home, and goods were not transported around the country as much. This led to New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions dropping considerably during Alert Level 4.

What we’re working towards

Performance measure Indicator Current trend Desired trend Commentary
Reduce net greenhouse gas emissions (using levers that MBIE has available) Net greenhouse gas emissions Decrease
New Zealand’s net greenhouse gas emissions (including land use, land-use change and the forestry sector) were 55,468 kilotons (kt) carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-e) in 2018. This is a small drop since a high of 56,931 kt CO2-e in 2017.
Increase sustainability of New Zealand’s energy system Percentage of total primary energy supply (TPES) coming from renewables Decrease
In 2019, the percentage of TPES from renewable energy sources (including hydro, wind, geothermal, solar, woody biomass, biogas and liquid biofuels) was 39%, slightly lower than in the previous year when it was 40%.
Increase efficiency of New Zealand’s energy system Energy intensity (based on mega joules per dollar of GDP in real 2009/10 prices) Decrease
Energy intensity in the year to March 2019 was 2.35 mega joules , down from 2.39 mega joules in the year to March 2018, used per dollar of gross domestic product (GDP) (in real 2009/10 prices), continuing a long downward trend.