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More systematic approach still needed – ECO

Media Release - Wellington - Thursday 15 June 2000

Environment and Conservation Organisations of NZ P O box 11-057, Wellington. Tel 04-385-7545, email: eco@reddfish.co.nz

Environmental Spending Welcome: more systematic approach still needed – ECO

Today’s Budget is a welcome relief for the environment and conservation, but some of its environmental measures are only afterthoughts. There should have been a carbon charge to help climate stability, says Cath Wallace, spokesperson for ECO, the national alliance of organisations with a concern for the environment. "We are pleased, but the government still needs to get more systematic in its approach to the environment.

"We had hoped that the government would take its commitment to the future further with the introduction of a greenhouse gas pollution charge. There is no sign of the use of economic policy instruments to send signals throughout the economy to discourage environmental bads.

"The marine environment has more attention than ever before which is great – but there is a danger that Oceans policy reforms will be taken over by the Ministry of Fisheries which is not environmentally competent though it is now trying.

There is no sign that the Department of Conservation (DoC) and the Ministry for the Environment (MfE) will have the added capacity they desperately need to foot it on the Oceans Strategy reform work with the Ministry of Fisheries. The Ministry of Fisheries has a large increase in its policy capacity – some of the funds should be given to DoC and MfE.

"The $15million Green Party initiatives package is good news, especially the funding for environmental legal aid, for community environment centres and for environmental reporting - but it is a late add-on. New funding for DoC and conservation awareness, for energy efficiency measures and regulations, and for pollution reduction are all very worthwhile: but the Greens’ package seems to have forgotten the sea and the need to protect the marine environment.

The biodiversity and biosecurity package announced last week ($187m over five years) were also very welcome. But where are policy instruments to send systematic messages to people?

ECO will do an assessment of the Budget to see how far the government has got with their commitments to the Vote for the Environment Charter, a portfolio of measures promoted by the major environment and conservation organisations.

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For further information contact Cath Wallace, 04-473-5713 (w) 04-389-1696 (h)


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