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State of the Environment Must be Assessed Annually

State of the Environment Must be Assessed Annually says Maori Party Tariana Turia, Environment Spokesperson for the Maori Party

Thursday 31 January 2008

Environment Spokesperson for the Maori Party, Tariana Turia, has today
welcomed the Ministry of Environment’s Report on the state of the environment.

“The Mâori Party believes in the efficient use of water, the conservation of energy and the need for active environmental management> ” said Mrs Turia.

“This massive report will assist us all in assessing the state of degradation our natural world is experiencing, and provide us with a strong basis to invest in the wellbeing and future good health of the environment”.

“It is, however, disturbing to realise that Government has accorded the environment of such little significance that a status report is only produced once every ten years” said Mrs Turia. "We would think, for real progress to be made, an annual national report is essential".

"You can't talk up the importance of climate change and then virtually ignore environmental issues" challenged Mrs Turia.

“As custodians over the lands, mountains, waterways, and air space within each tribal area, whanau and hapu have looked after the environment to the best of their ability so all can benefit” said Mrs Turia. “But we also believe this is a responsibility that all must share in, in terms of making sound decisions about household consumption, waste generation, transport options, or energy use”.

“The report points out that over 50% of all New Zealanders suffer poor air quality from emissions from wintertime home heating and road traffic” said Mrs Turia. “This is a huge concern for us because of its relation to respiratory or cardiac diseases, diseases in which Maori are grossly over-represented”.

“There are also some glaring gaps in knowledge in the report, such as uncertainty about the extent of contaminated sites from the impacts of past industrial, domestic or agricultural use (including timber treatment, or the use of DDT in sheep dips)” said Mrs Turia.

“We are pleased to now be able to evaluate the progress being made in addressing such vital areas as congestion, noise and air pollution, recycling, household consumption, fossil fuel use, the impacts of more intensive forms of farming such as fertiliser use, and the all precious water quality”.

“It provokes us all to look at ways of reducing our impacts on the environment, to think creatively about energy use as global demand outstrips supply, to take bold action to increase our global warming awareness” said Mrs Turia.

“We need to be proactive in responding to resource depletion and pollution, in maintaining improved water supply and sewage treatment systems, in following responsible land and water management practices” said Mrs Turia.

“We must continue to call for public transport, to clean up our precious waterways, to keep our environment healthy, safe and intact for everyone”.

"And as we apply our Genuine Progress Index we recognise we cannot continue to delay having the 'polluters pay' - polluters who enjoy huge profits at the expense of the environment." ended Mrs Turia.


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