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No Healthy Economy without a Healthy Environment

No Healthy Economy without a Healthy Environment

Labour recognises that we cannot have a healthy economy without a healthy environment, says Environment spokesperson Moana Mackey announcing Labour’s environment policy.

“New Zealand’s economy has been built on the back of the enormous environmental wealth we collectively enjoy as a nation. Labour’s environment policy aims to ensure the long-term sustainability of these industries so that future generations will continue to be able to benefit from these natural advantages.

“Issues like water quality and climate change require long-term thinking and planning. The current Government’s ‘sugar-hit’ approach to economic development has resulted in decisions being made for short-term economic gain which have the potential to cause long-term environmental damage. It’s time to get our economy, and our environment, back on to a sustainable footing and this will be a priority for an incoming Labour Government.

“New Zealand needs to transition away from our heavy reliance on fossil fuels to a high-tech low-carbon economy that creates jobs by taking full advantage of our wealth of renewable resources and the expertise and potential in existing and emerging industries and technologies. This is not a ‘nice-to-have’ as the current Government would have us believe. This is about future-proofing our economy.

“We also have a window of opportunity to leverage our natural strengths in a world that will soon be crying out for low-carbon solutions. Already we are being overtaken by countries like Denmark which have identified the significant economic potential that exists for countries that can provide those clean technologies, goods, and services.

“It is crucial that New Zealanders have confidence in the regulation that is in place to ensure sustainability and environmental protection are paramount in the pursuit of economic development opportunities and that communities are able to play a meaningful role in democratic decision-making processes.

“Labour does not support the National party’s proposed Resource Management Act (RMA) reforms which would gut the principles of the Act and destroy more than 20 years of case law. However we do support any process improvements to reduce delays and costs and would work with local government to develop best practice use of the Act. We will investigate better integration between RMA processes and other legislation, and greater use of National Policy Statements and National Environmental Standards.

“We also want to ensure the RMA remains fit for purpose and while over 95% of RMA consents are processed on time, and less than 1% are declined or appealed, the Act has been amended so many times that we believe it is appropriate to pause for a stocktake. We want to ensure the Act’s purpose and principles are still being met. As such Labour would convene a representative expert panel to evaluate the collective outcome of amendments made to the RMA since it was passed in 1991 and to advise on how to ensure the Act remains world-leading and fit for purpose, “says Moana Mackey.

“Labour is committed to protecting our natural environment for the benefit of all New Zealanders now and into the future. “

ENDS

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