The landmark report, Environment Aotearoa 2015, by the Ministry for the Environment and Statistics New Zealand, identified a decline in water quality and a rise in soil compaction problems linked with farming as one of the biggest concerns.
The report also revealed many indigenous plants and animals are at risk of extinction — and the risk is rising.
Of the country’s 2378 indigenous vascular plants, 235 are threatened with extinction and 683 are “at risk”.
Seventy-two percent of freshwater fish are “at risk” or threatened, as are more than 80 percent of New Zealand’s living bird species and 90 percent of lizard species.
Forest and Bird advocacy manager Kevin Hackwell described the report as sobering reading.