Environmental Performance

The Department continued to develop and improve its ability to monitor its operational impact on the environment during the 2004/05 financial year. With 20 existing prisons, 139 Community Probation Service centres, eight Psychological Service offices, 5,110 FTE staff, 6,961 prisoners and 11,800 hectares of land under the Department’s management, relevant environmental issues including waste management, energy and water efficiency, land and stock management and river and stream protection were assessed to ensure adherence to environmental best practice.

Environmental best practice was also adopted in the assessment and selection of new prison sites and in detailed environmental impact reports. The reports provided the Department with an assessment of the potential impact of the new corrections facilities on relevant environmental matters, such as site ecology and air and water quality.

The Department’s operations have been guided by the Environmental Risk Analysis conducted during the 2003/04 financial year. The impending implementation of an Environmental Management System has enabled the Department to measure and audit environmental performance. An agreement with the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority assisted the Department in determining appropriate energy efficiency targets and initiatives, which are detailed in the 2005/06 Statement of Intent.

National Environmental Strategy
The Department continued to progress in 2004/05 the development of its National Environmental Strategy, which will guide the Department’s policy with respect to its environmental performance, particularly in:

  • identifying areas requiring improved environmental management and performance
  • developing and prioritising a portfolio of key initiatives aimed at improving the Department’s environmental management and performance
  • guiding the development of the Department’s Environmental Management System, including site environmental development plans, environmental policies and standards
  • integrating the Environmental Management System with existing strategies and programmes that will assist the Department in improving its environmental management and performance.

Environmental Management System
The Environmental Management System enables the Department to plan, implement, monitor and review its environmental performance in a manner that is consistent with recognised national and international environmental standards. The system was also developed in order that environmental values and sound environmental practices could be integrated into the Department’s core business processes and day-to-day management.

The Department has carried out a range of environmental management activities to protect valuable resources on leased and owned property, and has also enhanced capability and achieved cost savings. Waste management, energy and water efficiency, land and stock management, coastal marine, river and stream protection issues are constantly assessed to ensure adherence to environmental best practice.

The Environmental Management System is based on ISO standard 14001 and provides the following benefits:

  • ensuring sustainable use of prison facilities
  • legal compliance
  • reduced business and environmental risks and liabilities
  • reduced costs through standardising management processes
  • economical use of resources
  • demonstrating due diligence in managing environmental risk
  • positive recognition and support from the Government and the community
  • demonstration of commitment to effective environmental management.

Summary of Performance within the Environmental Dimension

  • Twenty new solar heating systems were installed in self-care units in early 2005.

  • Infrastructure design/supply criteria has reduced water use from 650 to 450 litres per prisoner per day.

  • The Department’s overall CO²  emissions were reduced by 25 percent.

  • Over 300 check meters (water, electricity and gas) have been installed in prisons.

  • Renewable energy sources have provided an additional 3 percent of total energy use.

  • Undertook a formal commitment to the Ministry for the Environment’s Govt3 programme.

  • Received a Leadership in Operational Sustainability award.


Environmental Performance
Table 17 illustrates the categories, aspects and indicators of the Environmental Dimension included within this Sustainable Development Report.

TABLE 17: Environmental Performance Indicators






Energy sources used



Renewable energy sources



Total water usage



Water recycling and reuse


Emissions, Effluents and Waste

Total amount of waste by type and destination



Water sources and habitats affected by discharges



Environmental best practice

Leadership in Operational Sustainability Award
In August 2005, the Department was presented with a Leadership in Operational Sustainability award by the Ministry for the Environment. Over a period of several years a variety of wide-ranging sustainability measures were instituted by the Department as part of its energy strategy that focused on:

  • minimising CO²  emissions
  • development and maintenance of an energy database with a monitoring and targeting system
  • development of a customised training programme in energy management for property managers.

As a consequence of the above, energy use per prisoner in corrections facilities decreased by 8.5 percent between 2002 and 2005, and CO²  emissions decreased by 33 percent. A new solar water heating initiative has commenced, which is a joint venture with the Energy Efiiciency and Conservation Authority. Additionally, the Department undertook:

  • a formal commitment to the Ministry for the Environment’s Govt3 programme
  • energy and environment audits on all its sites
  • piloted waste audit at key sites
  • incorporated sustainable development and life cycle costings into the Department’s Asset Management and Maintenance Planning Strategy.

Department of Corrections and the Govt³   Programme
Govt³   is a programme for agencies to improve the sustainability of their activities. Govt³  aims to work with agencies to give practical effect to the Government’s sustainability policies, such as the Sustainable Development Programme of Action, the National Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy, the Climate Change Programme and the New Zealand Waste Strategy. Govt³  is led by the Ministry for the Environment’s Sustainable Industry Group, in partnership with the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority, the Ministry of Economic Development and the State Services Commission, and other agencies as appropriate.

The Department adopted sustainable development and environmental improvement programmes in order to help reduce financial and environmental impacts over the medium to long-term, particularly in respect of waste, water, energy and building design. As a result of internal audits, reviews and monitoring systems, the Department has established a strong position with respect to its sustainability.

Physical changes continue as a result of new systems and initiatives. Energy savings have been made, water saving initiatives have been  introduced, legal compliance has improved and waste is being reduced, reused, recovered, recycled and disposed of in a legally compliant manner.

In formalising a commitment to the Govt³  programme, the Department will add value to its operations because:

  • the Govt³  programme provides the Department with a means to demonstrate its progress
  • participation in the programme highlights the Department’s commitment to the Sustainable Development Programme of Action 2003 and the implementation of government policy
  • the Department will be able to access resources provided by the Govt³  programme
  • the Department will be able to benchmark its management and performance against other government departments and agencies.


The Department continued working towards achieving the targets highlighted in its five-year Energy Management Strategy approved in December 2002, which includes the permanent reduction of energy consumption by 15 percent by 2008. Further energy-related targets will be progressed within the context of the Department’s National Environmental Strategy and managed under the Environmental Management System.

Energy-related Achievements
The following were energy-related achievements during the 2004/05 financial year:

  • direct energy use did not increase while prisoner numbers increased by 6 percent
  • energy use/intensity fell by 6 percent per prisoner between 2004 and 2005
  • the Department’s overall CO² emissions were reduced from 19,384 tonnes in 2003/04 to 15,420 tonnes in 2004/05, a reduction of 25 percent
  • CO² production (tonnes) fell by 33 percent per prisoner between 2004 and 2005
  • Head Office electricity/intensity reduced by 26 percent per square metre between 2002 and 2005.

Energy Sources Used and Renewable Energy Sources
The Department monitors the sources and quantity of energy that it uses, and continues to improve its ability to provide such monitoring. The Department also considered the viability of more environmentally efficient energy sources within its operations, including solar power. Reducing energy use and utilising renewable energy sources is the most cost effective means to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. A list of the energy sources used during the 2004/05 financial year is included in table 18 below.

TABLE 18: Energy Use


kWh (energy units)

kWh (energy units)

Public Prisons















Wood (renewable)



Solar (hot water)



Head Office




Probation and Offender Services








The Department’s approach to water management included consideration of:

  • the most environmentally friendly sources of water
  • the efficient use of water within its facilities and farming operations by identifying areas of unnecessarily high water usage
  • environmentally efficient ways to manage water discharged from its facilities and farming operations.

Water-related Achievements
The following were water-related achievements during the 2004/05 financial year:

  • installed over 300 check meters to ensure end-users are aware of water consumption levels
  • developed water use databases
  • adopted water conservation measures with design and construction teams
  • used native plants and trees that required less water and maintenance
  • recycled rain water for irrigation purposes
  • monitored water discharges under consents.

Water Usage and Water Recycling and Reuse
The Department has developed a system by which it can reliably determine the amount of water used within its operations. The system enables the Department to identify areas where savings can be made through the use of the recycling or reuse of water. The Department has also explored options to collect greywater and storm-water for re-use in its farming operations through irrigation.

Table 19 indicates the total water used by the Department for 2004/05.

TABLE 19: Water Usage


m³  per annum




Note: no data is available for 2003/04, because check meters were being installed in that year.


The Department’s approach to emissions, effluents and waste included consideration of:

  • the assessment of CO2 emissions
  • the incorporation of solar hot water systems
  • the incorporation of centralised recycling
  • the incorporation of three-way recycling bins
  • the relocation of stock during wet seasons to minimise effluent run-off into water sources
  • using catchment areas near water sources for forestry rather than farming to minimise stock effluent run-off.

Total Waste by Type and Destination
A recent waste audit at two of the larger facilities has provided the Department with the categories and volumes of waste produced. This data will be used to design and implement national waste minimisation initiatives. The analysis will also assist the Department in 2005/06 and subsequent financial years to identify areas for improvement with respect to the extent of nonrecyclable waste and waste that is disposed of at landfill sites. Refrigerants located in compressors/chillers have been replaced with ozone-friendly products by ‘No Loss’ certified contractors.

Water Sources and Habitats Affected by Discharges
The Department treated all waste-water and storm-water in accordance with discharge consent requirements imposed by relevant regional councils. Interception traps were used in stormwater systems to collect accidental discharges of chemicals, fuels and other hazardous substances to minimise the risk of discharges to local water sources and habitats. The Department is conscious of the potential harmful affects to water sources and habitats close to its facilities, and draws upon water source and habitat information provided in environmental impact reports, including those prepared when considering new facilities.

Table 20 illustrates the CO²  emissions (tonnes) produced by the Department during the financial year.

TABLE 20: CO²  Emissions 2004/05




Reduction (%)

Public Prisons



3,670 (18.9)

Head Office



8 (4.4)

Probation and Offender Offices



61 (12.4)




3,739 (18.6)


New Zealand’s native biodiversity is unique, born of long isolation as small islands in a vast ocean. The high percentage of endemic species (those found nowhere else in the world) make New Zealand’s native bio ersity both special and highly vulnerable.

Environmental Best Practice
The Department of Corrections utilised environmental best practice during the assessment and selection of new prison sites and the commissioning of detailed environmental impact reports. The reports provided the Department with an assessment of the potential impact of new corrections facilities on relevant environmental matters such as site ecology and air and water quality. The Department’s approach to biodiversity included consideration of:

  • where there was a risk to ecosystems and habitats of products used in daily operations reaching such areas, then biodegradable options are specified
  • where there is a potential for more than minor effect, then construction zones are provided with sediment run-off catchment ponds
  • avoiding development in or adjacent to protected and sensitive areas, the designation process robustly addresses any potential conflicts to ensure that effects are less than minor.