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Time for Green thinking on the economy

6 October 2008

Time for Green thinking on the economy

It is time for Government to set its sights on a Green economy to ensure there will be jobs for New Zealanders, that food will be affordable and it won't be out of people's reach to get around, the Green Party says.

"Today's opening of the books reinforces the Green view that Government cannot continue to function in an economy that is short-sighted and based on unsustainability," Co-Leader Russel Norman says.

"With the PREFU itself predicting that the price of petrol at the pump will rise, now is not the time for Government to be embarking on a reckless spending spree of new motorway projects that there will be no need for. Now is the time for Green-thinking, for spending the money that is planned for motorways on large scale investment in more public transport like buses and trains, so that people can get around when petrol becomes even more expensive.

"Now is not the time for Government to go through with its plan to pour half a billion dollars into more bureaucrats for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Instead, it would be smarter to invest some of that money into extending the Buy Kiwi Made programme to keep New Zealanders in work because everyone is buying local," Dr Norman says.

"We really need to question whether now is the time to be borrowing to pay for tax cuts we just can't afford. It also brings into question the wisdom of borrowing $2 billion per year so that we can invest it in overseas share markets via the New Zealand Super Fund. Surely now is the time to consider suspending some of that borrowing until the government's accounts improve.

"We should also be taking much bigger steps to cut our greenhouse emissions so that our Kyoto liability doesn't cripple us further. The PREFU predicts the Kyoto liability will be $500m but if we reduce our emissions we can help save the environment and save money at the same time.

"There are also some local community actions that can help. Supporting farmers markets and helping New Zealanders set up vegetable gardens are also steps we can take to help people access healthy affordable food for their families while supporting Kiwi growers.

"Programmes such as the $1 billion Green Home Insulation Fund, agreed to as part of the Emissions Trading Scheme negotiations, will reduce the cost of keeping homes warm for New Zealanders into the future. This and the energy efficiency gains in recent legislation, are examples of how Green thinking has already helped to future-proof the New Zealand economy. It's now time for more," Dr Norman says.


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