Finding official information and statistics

Finding official information

What New Zealand or international legislation or regulations govern polystyrene in packaging?

Official information enables New Zealanders to participate more fully in the affairs of the country and promote the accountability of Ministers of the Crown and officials, thereby promoting good governance in New Zealand.

In plain English, official information is:

The laws, rules and regulations published by official bodies that impact on our lives and businesses.

For a comprehensive list of all New Zealand's laws, the best site is New Zealand Legislation. It provides links to the Waste Minimisation Act 2008 No 89. In this Act, the Ministry of the Environment encourages (and in certain circumstances requires) people and organizations involved in the life of a product to share responsibility for:

  • ensuring effective reduction, reuse, recycling or recovery of products
  • managing environmental harm arising from the product when it becomes waste

What else is there?

To find government information for NZ on a particular topic, it is easy to do an Advanced Google search, restricting the url to those that contain As an example:




The above search locates the Ministry of the Environment, information on packaging for export from New Zealand Trade & Enterprise,  and the "New Zealand Packaging Accord 2004", an agreement between brand owners, retailers, importers, manufacturers, recyclers and local government, which ran for five years. Tracing through to the Packaging Council of New Zealand website you can access information on the 'Code of Practice for Packaging Design, Education and Procurement' and the ‘Packaging Product Stewardship Scheme'.

One of the problems with polystyrene is getting rid of it.

Searching Google for waste and limiting it to sites containing helps to find organisations working in this area, and also "The New Zealand Waste Strategy - Towards Zero Waste and a Sustainable New Zealand".

What about international laws and regulations? What if Criterion wants to export to Canada or Europe?

The Library's Law databases should help here.

Canadian legislation is available from the Canadian "Justice Laws" site, but searching for packaging or polystyrene finds nothing useful. Will using to find Canadian government sites in a Google site-specific search work?  It does: Canada has a "National Packaging Protocol" which is very similar to New Zealand's and is a good place to start. 

And to search for the same keywords over European Union sites try a Google site-specific search for .eu.

Internationally, the "EPS International Recycling Agreement" has been signed by New Zealand and over 30 other countries.