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National admits plans to return to the 1990s

14 September 2005

National admits plans to return to the 1990s

National's promise to reduce the Environment Ministry to a policy-only agency would return us to the parlous environmental situation that existed when Labour took office six years ago, Environment Minister Marian Hobbs said today.

"Then we had a Ministry which provided only policy. Today we have an engaged agency – one that works with local government, business, industry and the community – to create a better environment for us all," Marian Hobbs said.

"The list of environmental improvements that would not have been made if the Ministry for the Enviroment was purely a policy ministry is very long. Just a few include:
- 77 tonnes of hazardous waste collected from farms and safely disposed of
- The Dairying and Clean Streams Accord signed and implemented
- The Packaging Accord negotiated to reduce packaging waste
- Dangerous aluminium dross removed from Bluff sheds
- Mapua clean up technology developed, clean up begun, and international companies now interested in the technology
- Guides on dump stations and septic tanks published and reprinted to meet huge demand
- Urban Design Protocol signed and implemented
- The 'Making Good Decisions' councillor training programme, which has now certified more than 500 councillors
- Plans to clean up Lakes Taupo and the Rotorua Lakes, developed in partnership with the local community.
- The Best Practice Planning Website and extensive training sessions for resource management practicioners

"The science work the ministry does is extremely helpful for councils managing their environments," Marian Hobbs continued. "The award winning Landcover database and Marine and River Environments Classification System are examples of this.

"Nick Smith's proposals are really a return to the dark old days of the 1990s when, as a matter of principle, Simon Upton avoided any intervention in environmental issues.

"It is also concerning that National's embarrassing Environment Policy doesn't spell out Nick's intentions for the Environment Ministry. These plans came out only under questioning. Either Mr Smith made up the policy on the spot or it's another National Party plan they decided the public didn't need to know."

ENDS

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