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Ministry must turn the leaf on Carbon's book

25 May 2006

Ministry must turn the leaf on Carbon's book, say Greens

Barry Carbon's unfortunate legacy as CEO of the Ministry for the Environment, symbolised so eloquently by his farewell book, should not detract from the significant work ahead for the Ministry, says Green Party Environment Spokesperson Nandor Tanczos.

"The comparison between 'Gentle Footprints, Boots 'n All' and the real work of the Ministry such as updating the 1997 State of the Environment Report is like that between a pair of Winnie the Pooh fun boots and size 12 red bands.

"Under Barry Carbon's watch some significant parts of the work program were dropped and the Ministry suffered from a bad case of Pollyanna syndrome, such as over the Packaging Accord and its voluntary approach to waste reduction.

"The new possibilities represented by a new Minister and a new CEO bodes somewhat better for the future.

The Green Party yesterday questioned the use of hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxpayers' money to produce the Gentle Footprints book, which failed to adequately address the issues facing the New Zealand environment and instead encouraged complacency towards the serious problems faced.

"In the future I would certainly hope that, rather than waste money producing this pretty, but essentially useless, book, the Ministry for the Environment might use its resources for producing a follow-up to the 1997 State of the Environment Report.

"The value in reports like the 1997 one come from continuity so that regular updates can highlight trends and changes over time. We should have had another State of the Environment report in 2002, five years after the initial one. It's now been nine years since the original and a follow-up is four years overdue. "We may not like everything it says, but an honest and frank assessment of the environment, good and bad, is exactly what New Zealanders need. I look forward to the opportunity to work cooperatively with David Benson-Pope to addressing the real issues," Nandor says.

ENDS

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