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National scraps crucial environmental report

29 October 2012

National scraps crucial environmental report

The National Government has decided to stop producing the essential five-yearly State of the Environment Report, the Green Party revealed today.

“The Government is keeping New Zealanders in the dark about what is happening to the environment and what the problems are by stopping publication of this report,” Green Party environment spokesperson Eugenie Sage said.

In answer to a written parliamentary question from the Green Party, Environment Minister Amy Adams revealed that the Ministry for the Environment’s (MFE) regular five yearly State of the Environment report due in December 2012 will not be produced. Instead of a comprehensive national level report, the Ministry is releasing simple “report cards” on a patchy, ad hoc, occasional basis.

“The National Government does not want people to know how it has undermined the environment with its pro-irrigation, anti-climate, and pro-mining policies,” Ms Sage said.

“New Zealanders love our rivers, lakes, wild lands and coast and want them well cared for and protected.

“People who want to know what is going on will have to trawl through individual report cards and hope to find the most up-to-date accurate information instead of being able to access a single comprehensive document.

“We need accurate, reliable and regular national level reporting to highlight environmental pressure points and priorities for action.

“State of the Environment Reports set benchmarks for the overall health and quality of New Zealand’s environment and allow us to measure how we are doing.

“The Ministry releases report cards on selected indicators but these lack the breadth of a proper national level State of the Environment Report,” said Ms Sage.

The Ministry described the report as a ‘one stop shop’ of accessible, relevant environmental information which can be used as a basis for decision-making.

“The new report cards don’t cover all of New Zealand. There is no freshwater data from regions such as West Coast, Tasman, Auckland in the recent MFE report cards on recreational water quality,” said Ms Sage.

“National even appears to be ashamed of what the patchy, limited information in the report cards shows, given that the Minister did not even put out a press release when six report cards were uploaded on the Ministry’s website recently.”

For more information:

Written Question 09130(2012)

Question: In what month in 2012 will the Ministry for the Environment be releasing the 2012 State of Environment report ?
Portfolio: Environment
Minister: Hon Amy Adams
Date Lodged:16/10/2012
Answer Text: The Ministry for the Environment will not be producing a consolidated State of the Environment report in 2012. The Ministry is continually tracing environmental performance through the National Environmental Reporting Programme, which began in 2008. This programme provides report cards on 22 core environmental indicators, which are the same indicators as those used in the State of the Environment 2007 report. Report cards ensure that key indicators are reported using quality data in a timely, efficient manner and at a frequency relevant for the indicator, rather than arbitrarily every five years. In 2012, six indicator updates have been released, including: • Air quality (particulate matter PM10) • Stratospheric ozone • Recreational water quality in New Zealand • Household consumption expenditure • Solid waste disposal • Greenhouse Gases (emissions and removals)
Date Received:25/10/2012

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