The Government plans to legislate next year for regular reports on the national state of the environment.
A report from the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment says New Zealand is the only country in the developed world not to have done so.
Only two reports on the state of the environment have been issued, one in 1997 and another three years ago.
They were both ad hoc, their findings were not directly comparable and they were criticised for a lack of independence from the Government.
Commissioner Jan Wright says it's time such reports were done regularly and independently, possibly by the new Environmental Protection Authority.
Environment Minister Nick Smith says he wants to create an Environmental Reporting Act as soon as he finishes fully defining the powers of the new agency later this year.