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Spending Puts Taranaki In The Green

Taranaki Regional Council media release
24 July 2008
For immediate release

Spending Puts Taranaki In The Green

A new study has found that Taranaki is investing much more money to ensure it stays clean and green – much to the satisfaction of the region’s environmental watchdog.

The economic study found a near 250% increase in environmental capital investment in five years and the Taranaki Regional Council says this shows such spending is now firmly a mainstream concern for industry, agriculture and community organisations.

“All sectors in Taranaki have clearly taken on board the need to be environmentally responsible, which is a good sign for the future,” says the Council’s Chief Executive, Basil Chamberlain. “Taranaki people value the quality of our region and accept the sustainability concept that our economic development is tied to environmental investments.”

The Business and Economic Research Limited (BERL) economic study was commissioned by the Council for its five-yearly State of the Environment Report, due for publication late this year. BERL made a similar study for the 2003 State of the Environment Report.

Comparing environmental spending in 2002/2007 with the previous five years, the latest study found:

• Capital investment in environmental improvements totalling $216.7 million, up from $91.1 million.
• Annual operating costs of $41.8 million, up from $28.8 million.
• Total spending on the environment conservatively estimated at $85.1 million a year, up by 28% from $57.1 million a year.
• Industry was the biggest capital investor at $109.1 million, up from $62 million.
• Community organisations invested $88.1 million, well up on the previous $24 million.
• Agricultural investment totalled almost $20 million, up from $5.1 million. Agriculture was the major contributor to surface water quality management and land management.

The study’s authors, Jiani Wu and Kel Sanderson, suggests that operating costs did not rise as sharply as capital investment because some projects in the energy sector are still being developed or are not yet operating at full capacity.

The authors sent a survey form to 160 companies and organisations in Taranaki, of which 111 responded. They also used figures supplied by the Taranaki Regional Council, updated with a range of price indices.

The study does not include spending by central Government, including the Department of Conservation, or the investment and annual spending on community facilities by the region’s Councils.

“The conclusions of this study are conservative estimates but they do give a useful indication of the magnitude of environmental spending, and the increase that has occurred in the past five years,” says Mr Chamberlain.

“It shows that it’s not just by good luck that we generally enjoy a quality environment in Taranaki. Serious work and serious money are going into keeping it that way.

“While much of this spending is simply a matter of complying with the law, much of it is not – such as the proactive riparian protection work by many of the region’s farmers. “

The report was accepted by the Taranaki Regional Council’s Policy and Planning Committee today (Thursday, 24 July 2008) and is available on the Council’s website, www.trc.govt.nz as a 160kb pdf download: http://www.trc.govt.nz/environment/pdf/enviro+investment.pdf


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