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NZ signs up to better protection for ozone layer

22 June 2001 Media Statement

NZ signs up to better protection for ozone layer

New Zealand has taken another step to protect the ozone layer by signing up to the latest amendment to the Montreal Protocol, Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Phil Goff and Environment Minister Marian Hobbs announced today.

“New Zealand wants to maintain momentum on ozone layer protection issues and the Montreal Protocol is a very effective international agreement," the ministers said.

“The ozone layer was expected to be fully recovered by 2050. It now appears that global warming may slow the rate of repair by some decades.

“Providing New Zealand and the other signatories follow through with it, the ozone layer should gradually repair itself over the next century. This is a serious issue for the whole world and there is absolutely no room for complacency.”

The Beijing Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer was registered with the United Nations earlier this month.

The protocol was first signed in 1987 and ratified by New Zealand the following year. It has been amended a number of times as countries agreed to increasingly firm restrictions on production and trade of those substances.

The Beijing amendment adds bromochloromethane, which is little used in New Zealand, to the list of products controlled by the protocol. Bromochloromethane was once widely used as a fire and explosives suppressant. Its use has been largely discontinued in New Zealand because of its toxic properties.

The amendment also extends restrictions on trade in ozone depleting substances with countries not party to the protocol. The ministers said the purpose of the restriction is to encourage countries not party to the protocol to sign up.

“New Zealand is committed to this protocol. While this latest amendment has little effect for New Zealand, our signing shows our commitment to restoring the ozone layer to the rest of the world,” they said.

“Because the changes may affect some Pacific Island countries, New Zealand is assisting Pacific Island countries work towards ratification of the protocol through its overseas aid programme.”

New Zealand is among the first to ratify the amendment, the provisions of which come into effect between 2002 and 2004.

ENDS

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