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Mallard: Maintaining a clean green New Zealand

Hon Trevor Mallard
Minister for the Environment

29 April 2008 Speech Notes

Embargoed until: 7.35am

Maintaining a clean green New Zealand

Environment Minister Trevor Mallard's speech at the launch of 'Love NZ – Recycle with Care' brand at YHA Wellington City


It is wonderful to be here this morning. Youth hostels are a great meeting point for people from all over the world who share a passion for exploring places that are new to them and bringing their cultures and experiences to New Zealand.

But our overseas visitors not only bring their cultures and experiences, they bring certain expectations as well.

They come to experience the ‘100% pure’ environment we’re famous for. So, New Zealand as a country, and tourism as an industry, must go the extra mile to live up to these expectations and prove we are committed to sustainability and being eco-friendly. Being clean and green and 100 per cent pure is priceless positioning for New Zealand on the international stage and we must keep it this way.

Our goals and expectations for the tourism sector are laid down in the New Zealand Tourism Strategy 2015 that was launched late last year. It has environmental sustainability at its heart, because without a commitment to sustainability, tourism in New Zealand will not prosper.

It is good to see that the tourism sector has committed to taking a leadership role in protecting and enhancing the environment.

Good work is already happening.

Air New Zealand last month launched an Environmental Trust that its customers can contribute to by offsetting the emissions from their flight. InterCity has gone into the CarbonZero programme of Landcare Research and will be a carbon neutral coachline.

All over New Zealand, other tourism operators, large and small, are working to make their businesses sustainable and eco-friendly.

And that brings me to why we are here today.

Backpackers are generally an environmentally conscious lot. Having recycling facilities in backpacker accommodation around the country will ensure tourist's expectations to do the right thing for the environment are met.

I would like to congratulate the Youth Hostel Association for being the first business in New Zealand to trial the use of the government’s Love NZ – Recycle with care brand for its recycling facilities.

The government’s Recycling in Public Places Initiative was launched as a partnership between central and local government. It aims to have 600 recycling bins installed in tourist areas throughout New Zealand by 2010. Love NZ – Recycle with care recycling bins have recently been established in Kaikoura, the Far North and Wellington and more are underway.

It is fantastic that our initiative is now being picked up by businesses. This is exactly what we were hoping for when we started the initiative. We have a win-win situation here.

The Youth Hostel Association and Wellington Youth Hostel in particular, is a leader in adopting sustainability practices and I congratulate them for the example they set for others to follow.

And I am confident that others will follow. Being sustainable is not only good for the environment, it also makes good business sense. The interest the Ministry for the Environment has had from business to take up the Love NZ – Recycle with care brand for recycling facilities is proof of this.

New Zealand's hosting of World Environment Day on June 5 this year is another opportunity for us to demonstrate to international audiences our commitment to sustainability and the initiatives we have in place to help fight climate change.

All eyes will be on us and our environment, and initiatives like Love NZ promote our dedication to keeping our country clean and green.

I congratulate YHA Wellington City for actively promoting sustainability and hope that one day, tourists will be on the look out for those ‘Love NZ' recycling bins at visitor hot spots, and find the sight of them as common as the red NZ Post mail boxes. This is a challenge that I would like to lay down to the tourism industry, as well as other industries.

Thank you.


ENDS

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