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Environment struggles with Winston’s diplomat win

Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage’s announcement today is another broken promise from a Government which continues to prove it is unable to back it up its unrealistic claims from Opposition, National’s Conservation spokesperson Sarah Dowie says.

“The $81.3 million increase over four years is a 4.6 per cent increase and barely more than inflation - and it’s less than what National put up. National’s 2017 Budget committed more than $107 million to DOC – the largest funding injection in its history.

“While the Greens claimed in Opposition that DOC’s budget needed to at least double to meet what it called the biodiversity crisis, this announcement is one twentieth of that.

“It’s another broken promise from a party that claims to be environmentally minded but has no mind for backing that up. It’s clear the Greens have been sidelined by their coalition partners and have struggled to gain more investment in the environment because almost a billion went to Winston’s diplomats.

“While DOC’s budget grew by 20 per cent under National, our conservation interest is in outperforming, rather than outspending our political opponents. We also need to be smart about it. For example our partnership approach also helped secure more than $100 million of private sector investment in nature.

“And National made significant progress. Our Battle for Our Birds efforts ramped up 1080 use seven-fold from 100,000 to over 700,000 hectares a year and we saw strong growth in endangered bird numbers. During our watch takahē numbers grew by 52 per cent, kakapo by 64 per cent, and kōkako by 130 per cent - a massive improvement.

“And Predator Free 2050 was one of the largest and most ambitious conservation efforts in New Zealand’s history.

“National does welcome the further increased investment in pest control, something we dramatically increased during our nine years in government under constant criticism from NZ First. NZ First promised to reduce the use of 1080 and needs to explain to its supporters why in Government it’s allowing efforts to continue to ramp up.

“Clearly there is much more coming from the Greens in this Budget – NZ First's tally is currently $4.9 billion, and the Greens are only sitting at $80 million,” Ms Dowie says.

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