The Government is to hold public meetings on setting a target to reduce the country's greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.
It intends to table the target at the next round of international climate change negotiations in Germany in August.
Climate Change Minister Nick Smith says the 2020 target is a decision with major implications for the environment and economy.
He says it needs to be realistic so the economy is not put at risk, and must also be achievable so the country does not risk its international reputation by failing to deliver.
The European Union plans to cut emissions by 20% from 1990 levels by 2020, and by 30% if other developed nations follow suit.
Greenpeace is encouraging the New Zealand Government to set a 2020 target of at least 40% below 1990 levels.