New Zealand - Country Commercial Guide
Environmental Technologies
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New Zealand’s environmental health is supported by legislation to help improve its climate footprint.  New Zealand’s domestic target are for all greenhouse gases except for biogenic methane – methane from agriculture and waste – to reach net zero by 2050 and for a 24% to 47% reduction below 2017 levels of biogenic methane emissions by 2050, including a 10% reduction by 2030.  New Zealanders are generally proud to be living in a “clean, green” country and helping to lead global climate change initiatives.  The Sustainable Business Council has determined that local businesses are investing and prioritizing sustainability. 

New Zealand’s environmental policy is influencing investment decisions particularly in New Zealand’s transport and energy sectors.  Eco-friendly technologies are integral to the Government’s climate change policies.

Recognizing local government faces significant challenges for managing drinking water, stormwater and wastewater services, the New Zealand government is progressing with reforms so that the three waters services from July 2024 will be provided by ten publicly owned specialized water service entities.  Known as the Three Waters Reform program, the nationwide infrastructure investment is estimated to range between US$75 -US$100 billion. 

The Three Waters Reform Program has four key outcomes:

  • safe, reliable drinking water
  • better environmental performance of wastewater and stormwater services
  • efficient, sustainable, resilient and accountable multi-regional water and sewage services
  • making it affordable for future generations

Table: Environmental Technology data





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Unit: USD Millions

Source:  Source:   Global Trade Atlas (GTA)

Leading Sub-Sectors

               AUT:  Electric Vehicles

               ENG:  Energy efficient/smart energy appliances and technologies

               ENV:  Wastewater technologies


Transport: The government has a goal that, where practicable, its vehicle fleet will be emission-free by 2025/26.  This aligns with the government’s priority to become a net zero emissions economy by 2050. In general, big boosts are required in renewably powered public transport across the country and New Zealand needs more comprehensive and affordable access to car-sharing schemes.

New Zealand is well placed to benefit from electric vehicles because more than 80% of electricity is generated from renewable sources and there is enough supply for widespread adoption of EVs. However, there is still a need for an improved national charging-station network.

Water:  New Zealand currently has 351 water treatment plants, 45,000 kilometers of water supply pipes and 240 wastewater treatment plants and the same length of waste and storm water pipeline.  More than half of New Zealand’s wastewater treatment plants need to be reconsented over the next 10 years. These upgrades are expected to be significant and costly due to increased community and cultural expectations since treatment plants were first consented decades ago. There is also a wider water infrastructure requirement to cope with disruptive events (such as natural disasters), respond to on-going stresses (such as climate change) and meet the needs of New Zealanders (such as from land intensification).

Agriculture and livestock are significant contributors to New Zealand’s economy however they also produce about half of New Zealand’s total greenhouse gas emissions. So, there is a need to identify ways to lower agricultural emissions, while continuing to produce high-value, high-quality food and fibers. This will require a combination of changes to on-farm practices and land use, as well as advancements in research and technology.

Other priority areas that New Zealand can benefit from, and which could lead to new business opportunities include:

  • Greater investment in solar and wind power
    • Encouraging infrastructure that allows adaptation to climate change, as well as facilitating the reduction of emissions.
  • Better home insulation
  • More efficient home appliances


Trade Event:  Water New Zealand hosts an annual conference and exhibit.  The next Water New Zealand Conference & Expo takes place from October 17-19, 2023, in Wellington.

New Zealand Government agencies active in this sector:

New Zealand private organizations active in this sector: