Environmental watchdog says NZ must do more for ocean's health

Parliament's environmental watchdog has criticised the Government's report on the state of New Zealand's clean green brand.

Dr Jan Wright says the government needs to be clearer on what it's going to do to help fix these concerns. Source: 1 NEWS

Commissioner Jan Wright says it doesn't identify the most pressing environment issues.

She released her commentary on the Government's first State of the Environment report, which was published last year.

She doesn't feel it goes far enough in addressing climate change concerns.

New Zealand is the guardian of one of the largest areas of ocean in the world, and she wants the Government to create more marine protected areas.

"We have very little of the ocean that we're responsible for in no-take marine reserves and we have to do a lot better than that," she said.

Environment Minister Nick Smith said they were working on it.

"That's why we're working on a further bill to reform New Zealand's marine protected area system.

The independent report also says oceans are acidifying and getting warmer because of climate change, and that's threatening some marine life.

Dr Wright wants the Secretary for the Environment to respond to her comments, detailing how to solve the issues she's raised.

"We'll look at those as recommendations and see if we can improve that over time," Vicky Robertson said.

"It's been the first one so I'm looking forward to looking at that."