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National Will Show Leadership On Environment

2 July 2002

National Will Show Leadership On Environmental Issues

New Zealand needs a Government focussed on practical issues like land erosion, water quality and pests rather than pseudo-green issues like genetic modification, cannabis liberalisation and opposition to free trade, said National Leader Bill English today in announcing National's Environment and Conservation policy.

"National's top environmental priority is protecting our water, soil and native species. We cannot market New Zealand as 100% Pure when so many of our waterways are polluted, when so much soil is being lost to erosion and when species like our Kiwi are on the road to extinction.

"These huge issues need a Government that's prepared to work with farmers and not lecture them, and a Government that's prepared to put serious money into helping landowners in the transition to sustainability.

"This is why National will progressively sell Landcorp down over ten years and invest the half billion dollars in practical projects which will improve the environment.

"National is serious about improving water quality. Too many of our rivers, lakes, estuaries and aquifers are becoming seriously polluted. The longer we delay, the harder it will be to fix. National will establish a Royal Commission of Inquiry into freshwater resources and ecosystems to tackle this difficult problem.

"New Zealand wastes too many resources at the dump and some of our landfills are a disgrace. We will introduce national environmental standards for landfills that must be met by 2010. We will work with councils to provide a kerbside recycling service in all towns over 5000 people, and re-focus the EECA to become a Zero Waste Authority to work with industry on reducing waste.

"National will show leadership in conservation by establishing nine marine reserves in the next parliamentary term. Despite the Labour/Alliance/Green Government criticising National's previous record of 13 reserves in nine years, the Government has failed to create a single new marine reserve this term.

"Labour has given up environmental leadership to the Green Party whose extremism gives environmental politics a bad name. Our focus on practical issues like water quality and waste makes National the mainstream environmental party," says Mr English.

Ends

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