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Speech:Hasler - Packaging Advisory Council

Speech Notes
Hon Marie Hasler
Associate Minister for the Environment
Packaging Advisory Council of New Zealand
Annual Awards Presentation
7.15pm, Wednesday 23 June 1999
Maritime Museum Auckland

Good evening everyone.

Mr Paul Halford, President and Mr John Webber, Executive Director, Packaging Council of New Zealand; distinguished guests and award winners. A special welcome to members of the Packaging Council, which is going from strength to strength since its inception in 1992, and also to potential new members who are with us today.

I am delighted to be here to present these awards in recognition of the efforts you are all making to ensure packaging is more environmentally sustainable.

It is reassuring to see the work being done by the council, with its emphasis on the environmental performance of packaging.

The council has a unique relationship with Government through the accord process established between our two parties and local government in June 1996.

The accord itself is the result of an understanding by Government that sees the commercial sector voluntarily address adverse environmental issues when it comes to packaging. We have the Packaging and Advisory Group to thank for this initiative.

Government is pleased to note a significant increase in the current membership and support for the council which began in the latter part of last year. I urge those companies that are not yet members to support the council.

I strongly support the council's efforts to promote desirable forms of packaging, both as Associate Minister for the Environment and as a Westie - in 1993 Waitakere became the first city in New Zealand to adopt Agenda 21, the international agenda for the 21st century that sets out to address serious global issues of social inequities and environmental degradation.

This awards programme is a most worthwhile initiative. The awards aim to recognise and reward manufacturers, and those who use packaging, who take into account the environmental effects of the products they are using.

Several companies have made these awards possible and I would like to thank them for this work and acknowledge them now.

The Supreme Award is sponsored by Waste Management NZ Ltd; the Innovation in Design Award by 3M New Zealand Ltd; the Systems Award by Coca-Cola Amatil (NZ) Ltd; the Plastic Award by Astron Plastics Ltd; Polarcup (NZ) Ltd, has sponsored the Paper Award; ACI (NZ) Glass Manufacturers, the Glass Award; Steel Can Recycling the Steel Award; and New Zealand Can Ltd the Aluminium Award.

Your support for these awards is certainly appreciated.

In this fast-paced global world it would be all too easy to overlook our environment and forget its importance to us all. Unfortunately, our unique biodiversity is suffering daily.

The clean, green image which New Zealand has enjoyed for so long is in danger of becoming a myth if we don't act now.

Everyone has a part to play, and at all levels.

To this end I would like to make mention of the joint Government and Packaging Council initiative to produce a comprehensive educational resource.

This resource more clearly defines the role and benefits of packaging in a modern society as well as the need for those in the packaged goods industry and other sectors, to act in an environmentally responsible way.

This programme is for students at all levels in our schools and will use the Internet as a tool. After being trialed later this year, The New Zealand Package resource will be available in the new millennium - the 2000 school year.

Reduce, reuse, recycle these are initiatives individuals and organisations, such as those represented here, can do at both the macro and micro level.

Last week I had the privilege of meeting some 50 high school students attending a Green to Go Environmental Seminar in Waitakere.

I was very impressed with the on-the-ground projects they were involved with, such as cleaning up local streams, and the issues they covered including the ozone hole, reducing waste in schools, saving water and genetically modified food.

These young people had put a video and print material together so they could take their ideas to other students and teachers back in their own schools.

They were all advocates of reduce, reuse and recycle - sound environmental practises. Money can be saved by following these steps and this makes good business sense.

In April this year I inspected the paper recycling operations, at Penrose, of Paper Reclaim Limited and Carter Holt Harvey Limited. The work being done is most impressive.

I look forward to visiting the recycling and manufacturing facilities of other packaging materials in the near future.

Congratulations to all award winners here tonight and to those whose initiatives were put forward for consideration. While we can only have one winner for each category, I believe as a result of your hard work and care, the overall winner must be the environment.

Thank you all once again.

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