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Funding Boost For Ministry For The Environment

Pre-Budget announcement on 9 May 2001

This year's Budget will provide a more secure funding base for the Ministry for the Environment to undertake its wide range of environmental policy work, the Minister for the Environment, Marian Hobbs, announced today.

“In recent years, thanks to the short-sightedness and lack of commitment to the environment of the previous government, much of the Ministry’s funding was short-term and committed to particular projects," Marian Hobbs said. "The Ministry’s overall budget was facing a significant decrease over the next two financial years. This would have reduced its capacity to provide advice.

"It would also have jeopardised important long-term work such as promoting excellence in implementing the Resource Management Act and developing a national system of environmental performance indicators.

“The Ministry will now be resourced to continue such projects, with an additional $6m1 in the 2001/02 year plus a further $2m in the following year. This will give the Ministry a total budget for core policy work of $25.6m in the new financial year.”

The priority areas in the Ministry for the Environment’s work programme are:

- developing a framework for waste management, including hazardous waste management, waste minimisation and waste data monitoring

- coordinating the Government’s response to the Royal Commission on Genetic Modification

- providing advice on biodiversity issues and developing a national policy statement on biodiversity

- participating in the “whole of government’ climate change programme to deliver the policy advice, communications and consultation process necessary to enable New Zealand to ratify the Kyoto Protocol and meet other international obligations

- promoting excellence in implementation of the Resource Management Act 1991, and completing legislative amendments.

“A key element of the Ministry’s work programme is promoting good practice in local government activities under the Resource Management Act,” the Minister said, in a statement for the launch of the Government's 'Eco 2001' package.

“The Ministry is working in partnership with local government and relevant professional organisations to provide guidance to councils and share information widely. This will help to achieve consistency between different councils as well as to improve practice around the country.

“Related to that is the continuing work to establish an effective national system of monitoring what is happening in our environment. The Ministry is working with local government to establish a national system of environmental performance indicators,” the Minister said.

“The information gathered through the programme is essential to tell us if current systems of environmental management are being effective in improving the state of our environment.

“Funding for the Ministry’s legal assistance programme will be continued in the new financial year to ensure that community, iwi and hapu groups can have adequate legal and technical advice when participating in Environment Court cases. Grants to help community groups give advice and education about resource management matters will also be continued.

The Minister said that Vote Environment funding will provide financial support of $450,000 to the New Zealand Landcare Trust. The trust provides a national network of landcare and community group facilitators who help small community-based projects that promote sustainable land management.

Ends


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