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Where have you been Dr Smith?

6 October 2006

Where have you been Dr Smith?

Environment Minister David Benson-Pope today welcomed National’s belated endorsement of the government’s environmental policies.

“You have to wonder where Nick Smith and the National Party have been all this time and whether they have really sorted out their differences within their caucus.

“The National Party has borrowed extensively from the government's Sustainable Water Programme of Action with its focus on water quality and water allocation, right down to the very detail of "transferable consents”.

“On waste, National has acknowledged the achievements of the government's New Zealand Waste Strategy. Can the government now expect support from National on further waste minimisation initiatives?

“On air quality, National has acknowledged the importance of the government’s new air quality standards and appears to have done a u-turn, now supporting the long agreed implementation targets.

“National now supports the government’s increased funding for DoC, but had a track record in government of underfunding conservation.

“On recreation, National has mimicked the government’s policies, yet Nick Smith refused to front up at the government’s Recreation Summit where all the key players were gathered for the first time.

“National has some explaining to do to be credible. Do they really intend to privatise water?

“They also need to explain their sudden u-turn on the logging of indigenous forests. Remember the West Coast Dr Smith?

“Does National really expect to persuade the public that they are truly concerned with environmental issues, and that this is not just a politically expedient attempt to “greenwash” themselves - when they have copied their strategy outright from the British Tory party?

“As to the RMA, when their MPs have called for it to be "gutted" and National has consistently opposed every improvement made to the Act by this government, how is it they now believe it is the cornerstone of environmental protection?

“I welcome the fact that National now seems to have entered the 21st century and appear to have accepted that we have some very real environmental issues to deal with.

“I look forward to Dr Smith and his caucus walking the talk and fronting up to the issues they have ignored for so long,” said Mr Benson-Pope.

ENDS

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