Parliament

Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 

Sustaining the environment in a growing economy


Sustaining the environment in a growing economy


By Marian Hobbs


Too many people assume that economic growth equals damage to the environment. It doesn't have to. You can have a healthy economy and a healthy environment - and that is what this government is aiming for.


I will be releasing a programme of action for sustainable development in New Zealand soon. The focus will be on the practical application of the sustainable development approach to certain key issues, including: freshwater quality and allocation, energy use, sustainable cities, and youth development.


They are all complex issues requiring innovative approaches, collaboration across government and with other sectors and, most importantly, that we need to address now.


Imagine 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 better.
People will have many job opportunities, because of a growing economy underpinned by a land with its rivers, lakes and air, surrounded by the Pacific Ocean that is as healthy as it is now, if not better.


That vision is called sustainable development and we need to see it in the context of our changing population. Over the next 50 years we will continue to have a small population that will be older, more ethnically diverse and more mobile. Our labour market will be affected by the increasing average age of the workforce and an increasingly global market for labour and technology. These trends mean that our young people will be of paramount importance to the economic and social well being of New Zealand.


Our future prosperity will be determined by how well we use our human, physical, natural and social assets while benefiting from a small population. If we are to make a difference for the future then we have to take a long-term view. We are going to have to better integrate social, environmental, cultural and economic aspects into our policy making. Instead of risking these becoming an add-on at the end of the process, we are going to integrate them from the start.


In practice you will see ministers contributing to issues outside their immediate portfolio areas. A sustainable development approach will require us to take a broader view on issues and to look for linkages to add value for the outcomes. The approach is consistent with a number of initiatives already underway to ensure we are achieving greater co-ordination across issues.


Our freshwater resources are under increasing pressure from a changing agricultural landscape, and demands for clean water for our cities, towns and industry.

Clean abundant water has been a key element of economic prosperity, human health, environmental values and cultural identity. We must ensure adequate, clean fresh water is available for all, and that is allocated sustainably, efficiently and equitably.

I recently launched the Canterbury Strategic Water Study that helps us to understand better the region's needs. The aim of the study was to draw together information on the total supply of fresh water in Canterbury, the current and future demand for water, and to identify the water bodies that are under the most pressure for out-of-stream use.

The study represents a significant step in helping the whole community understand the issues. An educated community is an empowered community.


Sustainable development is an approach to decision-making rather than an end in itself. The full environmental, social, cultural and economic opportunities and consequences of decisions affecting current and future generations must be considered.


In August I attended the World Summit on Sustainable Development, in South Africa. The summit centred on progressing key issues for developing countries including access to clean water and renewable energy.


The government is committed to ensuring New Zealand is at the forefront of international efforts to be economically, socially and environmentally sustainable. Our programme of action builds on our international commitments but focuses on a sustainable development approach. It will set out where the government is headed and include a set of principles to guide policy development and action for the priority areas.


Sustainable development is about people. It is an approach that will help us to find solutions that provide the best results for the environment, the economy and our increasingly diverse society. Everyone has a role to play and the best results will depend on collaborative action. Our success in the modern world depends on it, as does the well being of future generations.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Veronika Meduna: The Kaikoura Rebuild

A Scoop Foundation Investigation

Friday will be a big day for people north of Kaikōura – and for hundreds of construction workers who are racing to reopen State Highway 1 in time for the holiday season.

By the afternoon, the South Island’s main transport corridor will be open to traffic again, more than a year after a magnitude 7.8 earthquake mangled bridges and tunnels, twisted rail tracks and buried sections of the road under massive landslides. More>>

 

BPS HYEFU WYSIWYG: Labour's Budget Plans, Families Package

“Today we are announcing the full details of the Government’s Families Package. This is paid for by rejecting National’s tax cuts and instead targeting spending at those who need it most. It will lift 88,000 children out of poverty by 2021." More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Defence Spending, Alabama, And Dolly Parton

The spending lavished on Defence projects to meet the risks that could maybe, possibly, theoretically face New Zealand in future is breath-taking, given how successive governments have been reluctant to spend even a fraction of those amounts on the nation’s actual social needs. More>>

ALSO:

Members' Bills: End Of Life Choice Bill Passes First Reading

The End of Life Choice Bill in the name of David Seymour has been sent to a select committee for consideration by 76 votes to 44. It is the third time Parliament has voted on the issue in recent decades and the first time such a Bill has made it over the first hurdle. More>>

ALSO:

State Sector: MPI Survives Defrag Of Portfolios

The Ministry for Primary Industries will not be split under the new government, but will instead serve as an overarching body for four portfolio-based entities focused on fisheries, forestry, biosecurity and food safety. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Vulnerable Kids, RNZ Funding, And Poppy

The decision to remove the word ‘vulnerable’ from the Ministry for Vulnerable Children could well mark a whole shift in approach to the care of children in need... More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages