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Greens acknowledge environmental ambassador

7 December 2001

Greens acknowledge environmental ambassador

Green Party Co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons today expressed her shock and sorrow at the death of environmental campaigner, outstanding sportsman and great New Zealander Sir Peter Blake.

She acknowledged his achievements in bringing the Americas Cup to New Zealand and his work with the Cousteau Society and as the first New Zealander to become a Special Envoy to the United Nations Environment Programme.

"Sir Peter used the profile and mana gained from his remarkable sporting achievements to raise awareness about the declining health of our oceans, on which he has spent so much of his life.

"His expedition to the Antarctic documented collapsing sea ice and raised awareness of global warming. His recent expedition to the Amazon highlighted the loss of this forest of planetary importance, and the pollution of freshwater which accompanies forest destruction.

"Given his special relationship with the sea, Sir Peter's warnings about the despoiling of our oceans and their declining bird and marine life struck a chord with ordinary people. He was an environmentalist with the common touch and that meant his message could reach a wider audience," said Ms Fitzsimons.

"While many countries around the world now have in place substantial environmental protections for their land, the plight of our oceans lags far behind. This is partly because there have not been the advocates for the oceans and their creatures that there have been for forests and wildlife on land. Sir Peter was such an advocate and his potential contribution was just beginning.

"On behalf of the Green Party I acknowledge Sir Peter's vision, energy and leadership in the service of New Zealand and the planet and I pass on our deepest sympathies to his family."

ENDS


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