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Confusion compounds over conservation pledge

Hon Dr Nick Smith MP
National Party Conservation Spokesman
8 November 2007

Confusion compounds over conservation pledge

It is extraordinary that Conservation Minister Steve Chadwick is at odds with Director-General Al Morrison over a key Labour conservation pledge after only a few days in the job, says National Party Conservation spokesman Nick Smith.

In answer to a question on the National Policy Statement under the Resource Management Act on biodiversity, new Conservation Minister Steve Chadwick yesterday told Parliament: ‘There is no dispute about that being a priority. We will undertake to commit to our policies as we stated in our manifesto, and I will be working on that, as I have already said.’

Department of Conservation Director-General Al Morrison this morning contradicted that statement at the Local Government and Environment Select Committee, saying it was not a priority and would not be completed because he and the department had confidence councils did not need a National Policy Statement. This is the same view as in the OECD report on New Zealand this year that stated: ‘Government recently decided not to proceed with a National Policy Statement on Biodiversity.’

“This issue matters because a National Policy Statement is the best hope of addressing the loss of hundreds of thousands of hectares of indigenous habitat that is causing the death of millions of native birds and plants.

“Labour’s track record on sustainability issues is to promise much and deliver little, as has occurred on biodiversity, climate change, water quality and oceans. The Prime Minister’s flagship ‘sustainability agenda’ has no credibility if promises from 1999 are not completed.

“New Zealanders who love their native birds and plants want a definitive statement from the Government on when it will deliver on its election promise.”

ENDS

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