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Clean Up NZ Week overcomes loss of govt help

Press Release

11 June 2008

For immediate use

Clean Up New Zealand Week overcomes loss of government help

New Zealand’s biggest public participation event, Clean Up New Zealand Week, has been rescued by ten corporate sponsors who have stepped up to support it after the Ministry for the Environment declined to part-fund it.

The clean-up, which attracted 1.3 million volunteers last year, runs from 5th to 12th September 2008.

Keep New Zealand Beautiful chief executive officer, Barry Lucinsky, says the event’s future was touch-and-go for a while but corporate sponsors such as Fonterra, which has provided the bulk of the money required, have saved it. In previous years the Ministry for the Environment had provided half of the required $200,000 needed to run the Clean Up Week.

“The Ministry for the Environment has completely rejected all applications for funding, including a personal approach to the Minister for the Environment, the Hon. Trevor Mallard, Mr Lucinsky says.

“The ministry told us KNZB Clean Up Week should become self-sustaining and that corporate partners should take a more active role in KNZB. We motivated 1.3 million volunteers last year to clean up the country. If that’s not something that enhances our sense of belonging, pride in our country and darned necessary work then I don’t know what else we can do to get the attention of bureaucrats and prove we are worthy of their help,” he says.

“When we resurrected Keep New Zealand Beautiful and Clean Up New Zealand week a few years ago we were teetering on the edge of the precipice that defunct organisations fall into. The Ministry for the Environment encouraged us to hang in and then suddenly kicked us out into thin air. I don’t dispute their right to deny further funding but an easing off rather than a kick in the rear might have been easier to cope with.”

Mr Lucinsky says while government departments and ministers are still feeling good about hosting Word Environment Day, they need to realise that when the speeches are over and the cucumber sandwiches have all been eaten that we still have a country crying out for clean-ups on a daily basis.

“The feel-good words have been reported back to the United Nations but my organisation of volunteers stills heads out daily into the country lanes, suburban streets and polluted beaches and streams and sees that we need more than grand words to make us clean and green,” he says.

Keep New Zealand Beautiful is close to deadline to order 750,000 bio-degradable plastic bags and that was crucial to it being able to stage Clean Up Week.

Press Release

“Without money to pay for the bags there wasn’t going to be a clean-up, Mr Lucinsky says. “Committing to buying the bags was our point of no return.”

Mr Lucinsky says Keep New Zealand Beautiful is grateful for past help from the Ministry for the Environment but he’s still stung by their sudden refusal to help.

“As we build up to hosting the Rugby World Cup you ask the Tourism Ministry how concerned they are at the world discovering we’re not so clean and green after all, when tens of thousands of fans tour here. Triple treats of graffiti, litter and polluted waterways await them. We need help now to tackle this, not wait for bureaucrats to hold a committee meetings and ceremonies without actually helping to fix the problem.”


ENDS

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