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Former National candidate slams Nat's policy

Hon Marian Hobbs
Minister for the Environment

15 September 2005 Media Statement

Former National candidate slams Nat's policy


A former high profile National Party List candidate has attacked National's environmental policies, particularly its plans for the Resource Management Act and intention to divert funds to pay for tax cuts, Environment Minister Marian Hobbs said today.

Guy Salmon, number 20 on National's 2002 election List and Executive Director of the Ecologic Foundation, says National is taking a more extreme position on the RMA and on environmental matters generally this election. These include
no carbon tax to implement Kyoto, the threat to withdraw from the Protocol, air quality standards to be reviewed and environmental legal aid to be abolished

Marian Hobbs said this is further evidence that National lacks commitment to the environment and is hiding its real intentions from the public.

Writing in the Ecologic Magazine Guy Salmon says: "National's policy to rewrite Part II of the (Resource Management) Act now seeks to clear the way for projects that would not be approved under the Act at present, because their environmental impacts are too high…….The effect of National's proposed changes would be to lower the current standards of environmental protection that the (Environment) Court generally applies, or to enable them to be over-ridden, or both."

Guy Salmon also points out that last election National promised a $500 million Sustainability and Eco-Restoration Fund to be financed by the sale of state-owned Landcorp Farms.

"This election, Landcorp's farms are still intended for sale but there is to be no sustainability fund. Instead the proceeds will largely go into tax cuts," he wrote.

He goes on to lambaste National for putting property rights before the environment and raises the spectre of farmers and developers being given carte-blanch to "erode the land, to pollute water or to destroy nationally significant indigenous vegetation or wildlife habitats."

Salmon says: "National's proposal to change this amounts to an intention to give farmers new rights to damage the environment."

"This is yet another damning indictment of National prepared to sell out New Zealand's environment in the name or property rights and making a fast buck," Marian Hobbs said.

National's environment spokesman, Nick Smith, hailed Guy Salmon's candidacy in 2002 as signalling a very different brand of environmental leadership. Mr Salmon said at the time he had been assured "the party leadership is going to back making National a much greener party".

"So much for National's leadership aspirations," Marian Hobbs said. "We face a stark choice on Saturday. National intends to put property rights and profit ahead of the environment.

"Labour wants to protect our environment and its ability to provide a living for our farmers while managing it in a way that looks after our indigenous plant and animal life and preserves it for future generations."

ENDS

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