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Green Budget Package far reaching

Green Party Co-Leaders Jeanette Fitzsimons and Rod Donald today said they were pleased to announce the Greens' Budget Package - a series of measures totalling $15 million.

The list of the initiatives included in the Green Party Budget package is on the following page. Announcements regarding the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority and complementary health therapies were made on Sunday and Wednesday this week respectively.

Ms Fitzsimons and Mr Donald described the package as 'modest' in monetary terms but said the initiatives could make a real difference. They said they were pleased with the Green Party's input into the new Government's first budget and said the party had negotiated their initiatives by working co-operatively and constructively.

The Government has allocated $15 million from contingency funding for the initiatives. All initiatives have now been agreed to by the relevant ministers and the package of measures will go before Cabinet for final approval soon.

Mr Donald and Ms Fitzsimons said they were pleased some ministers had incorporated other Green proposals in their base line budgets. Trevor Mallard, for example, adopted the Green bid for environmental programmes in schools and teachers colleges and $250,000 is provided in Vote Education for this.

Both leaders said the overall package added significant value to the Government's budget and said the initiatives were an example of MMP in action. "The Government values our support and we have a mature and mutually beneficial relationship that works.

"We are very confident that the initiatives we have negotiated will yield positive results in all of the areas," they said.

Both leaders stressed that negotiations with the government were positive and there was never any suggestion of refusing to support the Government's budget at any stage.

ends

Green Party Budget Package

The Green Party initiatives are as follows:

* $4 million to fund stop-smoking programmes for low income New Zealanders;

* $3 million for the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority to implement the Greens' energy efficiency legislation;

* $2.75 million to step up biosecurity - increased inspection of containers and used cars;

* $2.5 million for DOC to run conservation awareness programmes;

* $1 million for environmental legal aid;

* $730,000 for pilot work on alternative national accounts and business environmental reporting;

* $300,000 for the development of a domestic organic certification scheme;

* $300,000 for grants of up to $50,000 to assist community environment centres;

* $235,000 for scoping work on a pesticide reduction programme

* $150,000 to establish a Ministerial Advisory Committee on complementary and alternative health therapies;

* $35,000 to contribute to the industry / government working group on organics.

Details of these initiatives are available by request from the Green Party media office.

Contact: Paul Bensemann (04) 470 6679 or 021 214 2665 Gina Dempster (04) 470 6723 or 021 1265 289 Jonathan Hill (04) 470 6719 or 021 1265 289

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