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Spotlight on Govt’s poor environmental record

Nick Smith MP
National Party Environment Spokesman

5 June 2008

Putting a spotlight on Govt’s poor environmental record

The Government’s record on environmental protection is out of step with its hosting of World Environment Day, says National’s Environment spokesman, Nick Smith.

“Labour’s rhetoric on carbon neutrality, sustainability, and 100% Pure New Zealand, is contradicted by its legacy of deforestation, increasing greenhouse gas emissions, degraded waterways, and biodiversity loss.

“It is particularly ironic that the central focus for Environment Day this year is ‘Towards a Low Carbon Economy’, when New Zealand’s carbon emissions have been growing at one of the fastest rates in the developed world.

“Today is also Arbour Day, yet our recent record on tree planting is appalling. A chainsaw massacre has been underway since 2004 with the loss of 12 million trees in the past four years. This contrasts with the record from 1951 to 2004 when New Zealand planted millions of trees every year.”

Dr Smith says New Zealand’s environment is also in serious trouble when it comes to water, with both international and national reports showing severe deterioration in the water quality of our lakes and rivers.

“We have an archaic system for allocating water and the Government’s Water Programme of Action has stalled in addressing these problems.

“We are also losing ground on protecting our native species with 4,500 hectares of indigenous biodiversity being lost each year and 847 native species at risk of becoming extinct.

“New Zealand is a long way from living up to its 100% pure branding. World Environment Day should be about focussing our efforts on the practical policies that will make a real and positive difference to New Zealand’s environment.”


ENDS

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