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Sustainable development, key to new industries

Details of the government's new economic and regional development strategies will be announced tomorrow. These strategies will be based on the concept of sustainable development.

Economic Development Ministers Jim Anderton and Phillida Bunkle today released a cabinet paper on sustainable development.

"Sustainable development means meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs," Minister of Economic Development Jim Anderton said

"This is the first time the government has taken environmental and social factors into account alongside purely economic ones. This approach will integrate social environmental and economic issues," Associate Minister of Economic Development Phillida Bunkle said.

"This means that development which ignores the essential needs of the poorest people or erodes the quality of our environment is not sustainable development.

"Sustainable development is about increasing New Zealand's wealth in ways that do not harm the environment. Wealth producing industries that enhance the environment such as the possum industry are exactly the kind of sustainable environmental and economic developments we are looking at," Phillida Bunkle said

Sustainable development involves:
 Thinking broadly about costs and benefits, not merely separating issues into economic, environmental and social compartments
 Considering long term effects as well as short term ones
 Assessing indirect as well as direct effects
 Taking extra care when developments might be irreversible.

"Sustainable development means a major shift in government policy. Previous governments have only worried about short term economic gain which has often been at the expense of the environment or jobs.

"This approach realises that growth does not always trickle down, sustainable development must address human needs directly," Jim Anderton said.

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