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Report highlights gap between rhetoric and reality

Hon Dr Nick Smith MP National Party Environment Spokesman

31 January 2008

Environment report highlights gulf between rhetoric and reality

New Zealand is going to have to significantly lift its environmental performance if it is to live up to its 100% Pure branding image, says National's Environment spokesman, Nick Smith.

Dr Smith is commenting on the release today of the first State of the Environment report in 10 years.

"This report shows our water quality is poor and has deteriorated, our greenhouse gas emissions are growing at record rates, that we are becoming more unsustainable in our energy use, and that we are deforesting large tracts of land.

"This State of the Environment report is a nail in the coffin of Labour's plans to seek re-election on a sustainability theme. It shows that after eight years of a Labour Government, the state of the environment is getting worse, and there is a huge gulf between Labour's rhetoric and its record on sustainability.

"National sees good quality environmental reporting as crucial to lifting New Zealand's performance. Ten years is too long between reports and that is why we want them five-yearly.

"The report also needs more detail. For instance, it should rank our lakes and rivers, and state which are improving and which are deteriorating, so we can focus on addressing the problem areas.

"National also wants to give this environmental reporting more credibility by having it undertaken by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, in the same way that the independent Auditor-General produces public financial reporting".

ENDS

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