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Greens back call for environmental rights

5 December 2013

Greens back call for environmental rights

New Zealanders are asking for the preservation and protection of New Zealand’s environment and resources to be a constitutional priority, according to today’s final report by the Constitutional Advisory Panel on New Zealand’s ‘Constitutional Conversation’, the Green Party said today.

The report, New Zealand’s Constitution, summarises public submissions and stories from the nationwide ‘Constitutional Conversation’, and makes recommendations to the Government regarding the next steps for New Zealand’s constitutional set-up.

“New Zealanders have sent a clear message that it’s time for a constitutional commitment to environmental rights,” Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman said today.

“This report shows there is strong support for affirming the rights of the environment itself, as well as recognising as a human right the right to a clean and healthy environment for all of us.

“New Zealand is one of only 16 countries that do not recognise the right to a healthy environment in their constitutional set-up. It’s time New Zealand made the same commitment.

“Our iconic coastal, mountain, forest and river landscapes are part of our identity as New Zealanders. We depend on nature as the basis for life, for good health and for our economy, so we need to protect it.

“Young people in particular voiced their support for environmental protection. This isn’t surprising as protecting our environment for future generations will ensure that they and their children enjoy the same privileges that we have now.

“It’s also great to see the strong recommendation in the report for the Government to develop a national strategy for civics and citizenship education in schools and in the community, and to see the importance of Te Tiriti o Waitangi affirmed as a founding document of New Zealand.

“New Zealanders have had their say and now it’s time for the Government to respect this robust public consultation process and seriously consider these recommendations. The Government shouldn’t set up a consultation process if it just intends to ignore the resulting recommendations when it doesn’t like them, as we saw earlier this year with the MMP Review process,” said Dr Norman.

Report available at: http://www.ourconstitution.org.nz/

ENDS

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