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Business, Government fail to grasp clean, green

5 August 2002

Business, Government fail to grasp clean, green opportunity

Green co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons today welcomed a new report from the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment saying New Zealand risks losing its economically valuable 'clean green' image unless it moves towards more sustainable development.

"As this report notes, our clean green international reputation exists more by good luck than by good management. Unless we develop a genuine commitment to sustainable development we risk losing this huge economic advantage for good," said Ms Fitzsimons.

"As Dr Morgan notes, New Zealand is 'very, very light on environmental taxes' and as a result there is too much pollution and waste in New Zealand."

The Green Party has campaigned at the last two elections on shifting some tax off income and enterprise and on to waste, pollution and scarce resources.

"Modest taxes on carbon dioxide, toxic substances, tonnes of waste to landfill and equalising taxes on petrol and diesel could remove all income tax on the first $5000 for everyone," said Ms Fitzsimons.

The Green Party made a substantial submission to the McLeod tax review arguing for this restructuring of tax revenue. http://www.treasury.govt.nz/taxreview2001/Subs1/TheGreenPartyofAotearoaNewZealand.pdf

"How many more voices will it take before Government and business accept that if we want OECD living standards we have to adopt OECD tax structures?" asked Ms Fitzsimons.

Ms Fitzsimons welcomed comments from Dr Morgan that quantitative economic growth can become uneconomic if its benefits to people today are outweighed by damage to the ecosystems needed to sustain future generations.

"This is exactly what the Greens have been saying for the last 30 years. It is not rocket science - rather it is simply about taking a more long-term view of the decisions we make today," she said.

"We are disappointed that the Labour Government has backed down on its promise to produce a sustainable development strategy before the Johannesburg summit and the Greens will really be pushing the Government hard on issues of sustainability over this next parliamentary term."

Ends

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