Under the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA), councils must undertake SOE monitoring in order to "effectively carry out their functions". Or simply put, to check if desired environmental results are being achieved, e.g. meeting an environmental standard or guideline.
New Zealand's regional and unitary councils routinely collect environmental data (e.g. for water quality, air quality) as part of their SOE monitoring. This SOE monitoring data is used to: 1) detect changes in environmental conditions and trends, including their significance; and 2), to detect changes in the state of the environment following the implementation of council plans and strategies. Council SOE monitoring is done to serve both council and national environmental reporting needs (see State of the Environment (SOE) reporting).