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Independence essential in environmental reporting

Independence essential in environmental reporting

Revelations that Government officials suppressed parts of the recently-released State of the Environment report add weight to calls for such reports to be prepared by the independent Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, says National’s Environment spokesman, Nick Smith.

“It is of serious concern that a critical chapter in this report – on the impacts of agriculture – was deleted. These issues are real and need addressing, and Labour is mistaken if it believes they can be swept under the carpet.

“This doctored report highlights the concerns National has about the neutrality of the Environment Ministry that last year saw repeated political interference in the appointment of key staff and the resignation of the Minister and the Chief Executive.

“Accurate and frank environmental reporting is as important as financial reporting. New Zealand’s public finances are reported by the independent Auditor-General, and the same integrity should be brought to environmental reporting by having the task performed by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment.

“National will introduce a new Environmental Reporting Act that will increase the frequency of reporting from ten years to five and ensure that the report is prepared independent of the Government of the day.”


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