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April 20th, 2015
Environmental Monitoring Standard Initiative Wins Award

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April 20, 2015—Bay of Plenty Regional Council, along with other councils, NIWA, contributing energy companies and the Ministry for the Environment, has been recognised for its work in developing National Environmental Monitoring Standards (NEMS).

The NEMS Steering Group initiative won the ‘Building organisational capability’ award at the SOLGM Local Government Excellence Awards in Wellington last Thursday (April 16).

The five-strong judging panel was impressed by the steps the group had taken to promote use of the standards and develop sector understanding of the standards, saying the work was a shining example of capability building at the system level. The panel also said the development of these standards was an extremely successful cross-governmental approach to developing environmental standards that was unique and had been internationally recognised.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council Data Services Manager Glenn Ellery is delighted with the win. “This award reflects the effort all steering group partners and various working party members have put into developing these environmental monitoring standards, to create consistency in data collection and reporting across New Zealand.”

Since the early 1990s central government funding has not been readily available for environmental monitoring, and local government’s efforts have increased significantly to fill the need. This has resulted in a growing divergence though the country in the way environmental data measurements are taken, processed and archived. 

Following a 2011 Local Government Environmental Monitoring Group proposal, the Resource Management and Regional Chief Executives groups decided to develop NEMS standards, and the steering group was formed. Its vision is that a set of standards and guideline documents are established to drive the provision of consistent, high-quality, robust environmental data that can be used and reported with confidence at a local, regional and national level.

As of March 2015, the steering group comprises the Bay of Plenty, Greater Wellington and Horizons Regional Councils, Auckland Council, Tasman and Marlborough District Councils, Environment Canterbury, the Ministry for the Environment and NIWA.

SOLGM – the Society of Local Government Managers – is a national member organisation that supports managers in local government and is committed to promoting professional excellence in all areas of the sector. It has been running the awards for 25 years.

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