Climate change

This collection pulls together all our resources – performance audit reports, blog posts, guidance documents, submissions to decision-making or standard-setting agencies – for auditors, public organisations, and the public, about climate change.

The Auditor-General has a strong interest in making sure that public organisations approach all their climate change-related activity – including governance, planning, risk management, data collection, and reporting – with integrity. Doing so will help ensure that public organisations are able to provide New Zealanders with transparent, meaningful, and understandable information about the organisation’s responses to, and how it is affected by, climate change. It will also facilitate the public sector’s effective and efficient transition to a lower carbon economy.

The Auditor-General’s expectations for public organisations are:

  • that governing bodies and senior management teams monitor climate change risks and closely oversee the climate change activity, data, and reporting of their organisation;
  • that emissions information is measured and reported clearly – the information must be credible, comparable, transparent, as well as understandable;
  • that emissions targets, actions, achievements, progress, and the terminology used are well considered, accurate, and honest (that is, no deliberate or inadvertent “greenwashing”); and
  • that reporting on the expected effects of climate change on a public organisation is based on a robust assessment (including risks and opportunities) of the effects on its activities and assets.

Where appropriate, the Auditor-General expects:

  • robust planning for how a public organisation will strengthen the resilience of its communities and infrastructure;
  • transparent reporting of spending and achievements from specific climate change funding; and
  • appropriate monitoring of a public organisation’s performance in meeting its stated targets.

Although identifying, managing, and reporting on climate targets, outcomes, and progress is new and, at times, difficult, it is arguably one of the most important challenges facing New Zealand’s public sector.

The Auditor-General recognises that meeting this challenge will require collaboration, innovation, and a shared commitment to high-quality climate change reporting. We welcome hearing from other parties who might be working toward similar goals.

Accounting for climate change

10 May 2024: We have produced a guide to considering the implications of climate costs, risks, and uncertainties in your financial reporting.

Author portrait picture How climate-related matters affect financial statements

Recent weather events – including the Auckland floods and Cyclone Gabrielle in 2023 – have highlighted the need for organisations to prepare for and mitigate the effects of climate change, including reducing their greenhouse gas emissions. Sagar Adhau discusses the implications of climate change in financial reporting.

Author portrait picture We monitor and measure what matters

Associate Director Amy Hamilton already cared about climate change and the part our business units can play to address it. Now that she’s about to have her first child, the work is even more important. While Amy’s midwife monitors the health of her baby, it's up to us to monitor the health of our environment.

Author portrait picture Responding to a changing climate

Sector Manager Kristin Aitken from our Local Government team delves into some of the terms used by councils and experts in their efforts to address the effects of climate change. She also takes a look at what councils are already doing, and what they need to consider for their next long-term plans.