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Greens release secret enviro report 13th chapter

Greens release secret 13th chapter of enviro report; call for independent oversight of future reports

Green Media Release 10-2-08

The Green Party today revealed the existence of a damning unpublished thirteenth chapter to the state of the environment report released by the government ten days ago.

For our Video Media Release, see - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3i6MQvalN2s

The thirteenth chapter was originally intended to be published as part of the report but was pulled some time towards the end of last year. The Greens are calling for future state of the environment reports to be under the direction of the independent Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment to ensure that they are, and are seen to be, independent from the government of the day.

“Chapter 13 states some inconvenient truths about the causes of environmental decline in New Zealand – causes such as dairy intensification, increased car use, and consumption. And it makes some inconvenient recommendations for action such as national environmental regulation and more public transport. Moreover it warns our economy is threatened by our poor environmental performance,” says Dr. Russel Norman, Green Party Co-leader.

“Chapter 13 points to industrial dairy as the largest cause of environmental decline in New Zealand. The Chapter says that land-use intensification, particularly pastoral land-use intensification, is ‘arguably the largest pressure today on New Zealand’s land, freshwaters, coastal oceans and atmosphere.’ (p.4, emphasis added)

“Remarkably, there are four chapters on pressures on the environment in the published report, but land-use intensification is not one of them, even though the unpublished 13th chapter fingers it as the largest of all pressures on the environment. The published report was toned down to avoid pointing to the real causes.

“The authors of Chapter 13 call for national regulation of environmental standards (p.11), which would cover water quality, something National and Labour have failed to do for years.

“Chapter 13 also identifies growth of vehicle kilometres travelled as a major driver of environmental decline – urban air quality, road run-off into rivers, and greenhouse emissions.

“But the Chapter does not accept that the Government is doing enough to address this problem and says that public transport must be expanded as current measures won’t be enough. (p.15) This is in contradiction the Government who tell us they are doing enough for public transport, even while building $2.3billion motorways.

“Chapter 13 also issues a stark warning that we are jeopardising our economic future by undermining our clean and green brand (pp.2-3,13). New Zealand could gain significantly from the rise of green consumerism but if our environmental performance continues to decline then our economy is in danger.

“The content of Chapter 13 certainly will upset some powerful lobby groups and some of the government’s own policies are challenged in the chapter. So it is hardly surprising that it was pulled.

“We need to ensure that future state of the environment reports both appear to be and actually are independent of the government of the day, which is why the Greens are calling for the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment to be in charge of the preparation of the next report.”

For our extended video analysis of Chapter 13, see - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dirF7y3Lrr0


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