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Extra Green Budget Initiatives Welcomed

Forest and Bird has congratulated the Labour/Alliance Coalition and the Green Party on the additional funding announced in the budget today for biosecurity, energy efficiency and climate change, conservation and environmental legal aid.

Forest and Bird's Deputy President Bill Gilbertson said the $13.15 million was a useful addition to the $187 million biodiversity package previously announced.

He said the $2.7 million for increased inspections for containers would improve the interception of alien pests.

"This is a useful interim initiative but significantly greater funding for biosecurity is required if we are to start winning battles against alien pests."

Mr Gilbertson said the $1 million boost for environmental legal aid was tremendous news.

"Environmental groups have been sorely disadvantaged when defending the environment against major developments by well-resourced corporates. This has severely compromised the intent of the Resource Management Act as the legal case for protecting the environment has often not been brought before decision-makers. If the legal aid fund is well managed it could help fund environmental participation in more than fifty resource management cases a year."

Mr Gilbertson also welcomed the extra $3 million funding for energy efficiency.

"The Energy Saver Fund which improves the energy efficiency of low-income earners' housing will improve the health and wellbeing of people in need and will help the environment at the same time."

Forest and Bird said the Labour/Alliance Government should be commended on placing the priority on the environment in the budget.

"We also applaud the positive role of the Greens who have worked constructively to reinforce the budget's environmental focus", said Mr Gilbertson.

Contact: Bill Gilbertson (04) 385-7374 or Kevin Smith (04) 385-7374 work or (04) 934-2473 home

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