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Biodiversity reporting by New Zealand local authorities: the current state of play

Annika Schneider (Department of Accounting, University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand)
Grant Samkin (Department of Accounting, University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand)
Howard Davey (Department of Accounting, University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand)

Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal

ISSN: 2040-8021

Article publication date: 28 October 2014

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to establish whether local authorities in New Zealand report biodiversity-related information and to examine the vehicles through which it is communicated.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper uses a keyword search to identify biodiversity reporting across a wide range of data sources, including local authority websites, formal accountability documents, environmental reports, environment and biodiversity management strategies, plans and policies.

Findings

Biodiversity-related information was contained in range of documents. Reporting ranged from no mention of the term in existing statutory accountability documents (Annual Plans, Annual Reports, Long-Term Plans [LTPs] and District Plans/Regional Policy Statements), through to a comprehensive stand-alone biodiversity Annual Report and stand-alone biodiversity strategies. Regional and unitary authorities were more likely than territorial authorities to prepare and report biodiversity-related information to stakeholders. There is currently no consistent framework or method to guide local authorities in the presentation of biodiversity-related information. The lack of consistent, comparable information hinders the ability of stakeholders to assess local authority performance in the sustainable management of biodiversity in their district or region.

Research limitations/implications

While this study does not consider quality of reporting, or reporting trends over time, it provides a picture of the “current state of play”. This provides a starting point from which further research into the preparation and reporting of biodiversity information by local authorities can be conducted.

Originality/value

This paper represents the first of its kind within a New Zealand context. It provides an initial insight into whether local authorities prepare and report biodiversity-related information and where this information is presented.

Keywords

Citation

Schneider, A., Samkin, G. and Davey, H. (2014), "Biodiversity reporting by New Zealand local authorities: the current state of play", Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, Vol. 5 No. 4, pp. 425-456. https://doi.org/10.1108/SAMPJ-10-2013-0043

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited