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Sustainable development at the heart of Govt

14 September 2005

Labour puts sustainable development at the heart of government

Labour is committed to putting sustainable development at the heart of government planning and policy-making, Prime Minister Helen Clark and Environment Minister Marian Hobbs said today at the launch of Labour's Environment Policy.

"Sustainable development means fostering a clean and healthy environment alongside economic growth and social opportunity'," Helen Clark said.

"New Zealanders value clean air, open spaces, and good water quality. These underpin our Kiwi lifestyle, help set us apart from other countries and are essential for economic growth.

"Under Labour's leadership the government has worked closely with local government, the community and business to protect and enhance our environment. This approach has given us such programmes as the Clean Streams Accord, the Packaging Accord and the Urban Design Protocol – all of which ultimately will affect our lives in a positive way."

Marian Hobbs said Labour would continue the programme of national environmental standards.

"The 14 air quality standards introduced over the last 12 months were the first under the Resource Management Act which was passed 14 years ago," Marian Hobbs said. "They will save lives as polluted air is reduced.

"We will build on these to ensure all New Zealanders can enjoy clean air and good water quality. We will also introduce national instruments to address fair and equitable allocation of water.

"We have made good progress in the last six years but there is still much to be done. For example:

- Reducing, reusing and recycling waste
- Cleaning up contaminated sites
- Making our cities more liveable
- Ensuring the improvements to the Resource Management Act are put into practice
- Improving environmental monitoring and reporting

"Labour believes that local communities through their councils should be involved in resource decisions but there's plenty of room for improving decision-making processses and we will work with local government to achieve that."

ENDS

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