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Report calls for everyone to take action

MEDIA RELEASE

Environment Report calls for everyone to take action
For immediate release on 31 January 2008

“Achieving a sustainable New Zealand is the responsibility of all New Zealanders,” Local Government New Zealand President Basil Morrison said today after the release of the Ministry for the Environment’s 2007 Environment New Zealand Report.

“This report includes information to enable better decision-making and provides a call to action for everyone to tackle the issue of sustainability with greater urgency.

“The main issues are not new to councils. They already have strategies in place to improve on key environmental indicators. However, reversing the downward trends, particularly in the areas of water quality, air quality and biodiversity, cannot be solved by local government alone. Councils have to establish ongoing partnerships with central government, industry and community groups to create solutions that achieve national and local level outcomes. They also have to take the lead in deciding how to balance community well-being with economic realities at a local level,” says Mr Morrison.

A key finding of the report is that the rate of consumption of goods and services by New Zealand households continues to grow as our population increases and our economy grows.

“The report shows households make a bigger impact on our ecological footprint than people realise. As individuals we can turn this around by making wise choices about what we consume, paying attention to the sustainability of these products and services, and in the case of tangible waste, how we dispose of it.

“Local Government New Zealand and councils have been working with industry to address household waste and consumption through initiatives like recycling and the Packaging Accord, which aims to reduce the proportion of packaging in our total waste. Councils also work with their communities on issues like climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and with landowners on protecting biodiversity on private land.”

Mr Morrison said that councils will continue existing sustainability programmes and will work closely with central government, industry and communities to respond to the report’s findings.

ENDS

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