Government to review weather forecasting systems, potentially shaking up MetService, NIWA rivalry

The review would focus on improving the system.
The review would focus on improving the system. Photo credit: Newshub.

The Government has announced it will review weather forecasting, potentially shaking up a long-running rivalry between MetService and NIWA.

In a statement, State Owned Enterprises Minister Duncan Webb confirmed Treasury and the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment would begin the review from September, returning a final report in February 2024.

He said Metservice and the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) - which are both state-owned - were critical agencies in weather forecasting.

The review would focus on improving the system, taking climate change and infrastructure into account.

"A connected weather forecasting system that is integrated with our understanding of flooding impacts on communities and our nation's infrastructure is essential," he said.

"Our systems should reflect the interrelationship between climate science, forecasting, hydrology, and coastal hazards to help us better plan for, and respond to weather events."

The system has been reviewed numerous times. In 2006, an independent panel recommended merging the two organisations, but ministers rejected the advice.

MetService is a state-owned enterprise largely focused on providing weather forecasting and analysis, including to businesses, transport, and infrastructure sectors.

NIWA is a Crown Research Institute which carries out scientific research aimed at sustainable environmental, atmospheric and aquatic resource management including increasing knowledge and understanding of climate and the atmosphere.