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Minister to meet Australian colleagues

16 April 2008 Media Release

Conservation Minister to meet Australian colleagues

Conservation Minister Steve Chadwick today travels to Australia to participate in ministerial council meetings and discuss ways that New Zealand and Australian governments will face environmental challenges.

“This is an excellent opportunity for my Australian colleagues and I to examine crucial conservation, climate change and sustainability issues facing both countries,” Steve Chadwick said.

Steve Chadwick will represent the government’s Conservation and Environment portfolios at meetings in Melbourne of the Environment Protection and Heritage Council (EPHC), the Natural Resource Management Ministerial Council (NRMMC) and a joint meeting of ministers of the NRMMC with the Primary Industries Ministerial Council.

“These meetings provide the first opportunity for me to meet my Australian counterparts, and explore possibilities for further development of the strong links that exist between New Zealand and Australia.”

The Minister will also hold a bilateral with Hon Peter Garrett AM MP, Australian Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts.

“We will discuss our joint approaches to international whaling issues. New Zealand has a long and proud tradition of promoting the conservation of whales, and our tourism industry is evidence to the benefits of protecting these marine mammals.

“While the Councils mainly focus on Australian business, they debate many issues that are relevant to New Zealand, and provide opportunities to share experience and management approaches.

“The most immediate outcome of these meetings will be an even closer working relationship between New Zealand and Australia on conservation issues, the basis of which will ultimately benefit our environment.”

Background information

The Councils were formed by the Australian Government in 2001, continuing a long tradition of similar meetings for which New Zealand was admitted full membership in July 1989. Since then, New Zealand’s Ministers of Conservation and Environment have participated in these meetings. They comprise Australian Federal and State ministers within associated portfolio groupings and their counterpart New Zealand Ministers. The councils meet twice a year to consider tools for providing consistency in policy and implementation across Australia’s Federal, state and territory jurisdictions, and to reduce administrative overheads.

The EPHC and NRMMC address matters relating to protection of the environment and natural, indigenous and historic heritage issues. Issues of particular interest to New Zealand include those of biosecurity, coastal and marine conservation, climate change, air quality, and waste minimisation and management. There will be an update on Australian climate change directions over the next 12 months and discussion of the whole of government policy response to climate change.

ENDS

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