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Environment is a focus for government

Environment is a focus for government

Tomorrow's third anniversary of Labour's return to Parliament'sTreasury Benches (on November 27) is a fitting time to register the importance the government has placed on achieving a cleaner, 'greener' environment, Environment Minister Marian Hobbs told a public meeting in Northcote tonight.

Labour undertook to protect and enhance the environment with an active and coordinated approach to its policies. The government is now finalising a plan to ensure New Zealand grows without degrading the environment. "Since becoming minister we have increased the environmental vote including increased funding for the Ministry for the Environment, the Environment Court, the clean up of contaminated sites and environmental education as well as working with local government and community groups to achieve sustainable communities," Marian Hobbs said. The meeting was organised by Northcote MP Ann Hartley and Labour List Member Helen Duncan for Marian Hobbs to report on last August's World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg.

The conference brought a new level of focus and debate to the challenges facing the world, Marian Hobbs said.

"New Zealand went to Johannesburg with a number of specific priorities," she added. "The big ones were energy, oceans, poverty eradication, Small Island Developing States and using trade as an engine of sustainable development.

"Our future prosperity will be determined by how well we use our human, physical, natural and social assets while benefiting from a small population.

"Achieving sustainable development will depend on the extent the skills and ability of our children and their children will match the opportunities available to them here in New Zealand."

Marian Hobbs described sustainable development as "a future where people grow up in a peaceful, safe society; where they enjoy good health and a stimulating education. It is a future where there is as good a standard of living as we currently enjoy in New Zealand, if not even better.

"Imagine a future where people will have many job opportunities, because there is a growing economy. And underpinning that economy will be a land with its rivers, lakes and air, surrounded by the Pacific Ocean, that is as healthy as it is now, if not in a better condition."

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