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Environment not a priority for National

14 September 2005

Thin policy confirms environment not a priority for National

National's incredibly thin environment policy demonstrates that they do not rate the environment as a priority, Green Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons says.

"I find the brevity of their policy quite surprising, our threatened species and local communities deserve better. Have the Nats got nothing to say on water and air quality, contaminated sites or environmental education?

"Last month the non-partisan 'Vote for the Environment' campaign, led by ECO, Forest and Bird and Greenpeace, questioned all the parliamentary parties. The Nats failed the test, scoring a paltry 43 percent, and seeing this newly published policy it is easy to see why.

"Their headline proposal of matching local funding for mainland islands is a good idea, but $7 million will go nowhere. Is that really all they can spare because of their tax cuts? Just one mainland island, Maungatautari, costs twice their proposed annual budget.

"Community work schemes to enhance the environment have been proved to cost more than they deliver for the environment. It costs DOC more to supervise and equip an untrained young person than they deliver in work achieved. This sounds more like a way of punishing the unemployed than a way of enhancing the environment. If the Nats want real environmental protection work done, they should give DOC more funds so they can employ, train and retain permanent staff."

ENDS

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