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Big boost for Conservation in new Green policy

12 September 2008

Big boost for Conservation in new Green Party policy

A $100 million boost for the Department of Conservation features prominently in the Green Party's Conservation policy. The policy is designed to significantly increase New Zealand's commitment to protecting our precious natural environment, Conservation Spokesperson Metiria Turei says.

"At a time when the Department of Conservation is coping with higher costs, more land to manage and increased pressure from development, they were forced to axe 56 jobs. So the Department of Conservation needs a significant funding boost, and strong Government backing. This is the ideal way to cap off Conservation Week," Mrs Turei says.

Government leadership on conservation will be cemented by increasing DoC funding by $100 million immediately, elevating the status of the Conservation Minister in Cabinet, doubling pest control funding, and providing additional funding for conservation research and monitoring.

The Green Party has signalled its commitment to protecting New Zealand's biodiversity and natural habitat with a package that protects wetlands, prevents mining and big hydro dams on conservation land, makes sure exotic forestry doesn't lead to biodiversity loss, and ensures ecological protection with renewable energy projects.

"At a time when we are struggling to just stabilise the health of our natural heritage, let alone restore it to a healthy state, our precious species and places continue to be lost to development. We need to fully protect the biodiversity and habitat that is part of who we are, provides clean air and water, and underpins our clean green identity," Mrs Turei says.

"The Green Party is concerned at the added but unnecessary threats of some renewable energy proposals - including wind - and proposes industry codes of practice backed by regulation to ensure the ecological footprint is minimised. Some proposals, such as the Mokihinui hydro dam, should be inherently unacceptable."

And the Green Party will also protect New Zealand's marine environment by including environmental protection in fisheries, marine reserves and marine mammals protection legislation, empowering DoC's marine conservation unit, and banning or severely restricting fishing methods with significant by-catch of threatened and non-target species to protect our marine mammals, seabirds and fish species.

* For a full list of the Green Party's conservation policy go to www.greens.org.nz/conservation

ENDS

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