Where angels fear to tread
Where angels fear to tread
Green Media Release 30-1-08
Today the Prime Minister promoted her Government as being on the side of the angels when talking up environmental sustainability. But when it comes to taking the action required the Government still ‘fears to tread’, says Dr. Russel Norman Green Co-Leader, and sometimes it’s not foolish to rush in, it’s courageous.
“The Government is still living in fear of the roading lobby instead of showing the courage and leadership needed for sustainable transport.
“The Prime Minister hinted at a further $1.15 billion new motorway project in her speech. More roads lead to more traffic and more greenhouse emissions. If we are to reduce our spiralling greenhouse emissions then we need more public transport, cycling and walking.
“The Government is still living of fear of Federated Farmers. Instead of having the courage to put a price on agricultural greenhouse emissions, the Government is giving $1 billion in taxes to the industrial dairy sector to subsidise its greenhouse emissions in the middle of a dairy boom.
“The Government is still living in fear of the free trade lobby, instead of empowering consumers with mandatory country of origin labelling of food. If the Prime Minister wants consumers to make ethical choices then make it easy for them with labelling.
“We need the Prime Minister to show the courage to upset these powerful lobby groups if we are to make real progress on sustainability.
“The announcement of two initiatives aimed at young people, the B4 school health checks and raising the education leaving age to 18, come from good intentions, but are meaningless if we don’t address the root causes of the problems – poverty and lack of affordable and secure housing.
“While the Prime Minister did one better than John Key yesterday – she actually identified that today’s young violent criminals were the children of the Mother of All Budgets - like John Key she failed to offer the real solutions – raising the minimum wage, lifting benefits to a decent level, and investing in affordable housing.
“While $9 million maybe enough to identify problem kids, it’s totally inadequate for providing a meaningful helping hand.
“It is unclear whether the Prime Minister means to make staying in education till 18 mandatory, if so the Greens oppose this as we believe that some young people gain more benefit from being in the workplace, than forcing them to be at school.
“If this Government is really going to be on the side of the angels then we need to see more action and less rhetoric.”
A video response to The Prime Minister’s speech can be found on the Green website later today.