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Coalition Throws Down The Environmental Gauntlet

Vote for the Environment Charter Launch today Thursday 4 July 2002

Vote for the Environment Campaign
PO Box 11-057, Wellington. Phone/Fax (04) 385 7545
eco@reddfish.co.nz www.environmentvote.org.nz

The Vote for the Environment Campaign today released its comprehensive portfolio of preferred environmental policies, the Environmental Charter, for the 2002 Election. This is the fifth election which the groups have produced a Charter and challenged all political parties to adopt it.

The Campaign is a coalition of environmental groups comprising Environment and Conservation Organisations (ECO), Federated Mountain Clubs, Greenpeace New Zealand and the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society.

“The policies are also intended to inform the public, candidates and officials what constitutes good policies to improve New Zealand's environment and for us to play our part in international environmental matters."

The Campaign is non-partisan and seeks to gauge where each political party stands on a range of environmental issues through the distribution of the Charter and accompanying Questionaire.

"We have developed policies that reflect the fact that New Zealand is really a large underwater continent with a few dry bits: we have to treat the oceans and our impacts on them quite differently than we have”, says Cath Wallace of ECO.

“This means controlling the damage done by fishing, mining and pollution, doing environmental impact assessments for activities affecting the marine environment, getting at least 20% of the marine environment into marine reserves, retaining government control of fisheries management and research and giving the public much more say.”

"The recent floods in the Thames and Waikato area and the life and hundreds of thousands of dollars lost in them demonstrate all too vividly why New Zealand has to pull its weight in climate change agreements. We must not only ratify Kyoto this year but adopt a meaningful carbon equivalent charge during the term of the incoming government.”

Greenpeace Campaign Manager Glyn Walters said Climate change and genetic engineering are the critical environmental issues in this election. “Any political party that does not seriously address them is burying its head in the sand.”

“The coalition wants all political parties to commit to eliminating human sources of dioxin and to implement the Stockholm Convention by 2005. Waste incineration of any kind should be banned by 2004."

"New Zealand needs clean production, with source reduction and phase-outs of polluting waste materials as key policy goals."

"Nuclear waste shipments through New Zealand waters should be prohibited and legislation be enacted to exclude the nuclear industry from sponsoring sporting events here."

Forest and Bird spokesperson, Barry Weeber said pest control and the funding of the Department of Conservation are critical issues if New Zealand is to avoid the third wave of extinctions of our indigenous species.

“We are proposing an extra $50 million/year for DoC to help protect forests and other ecosystems from the ravages of pests and weeds.”

The groups have a website to provide information on political parties’ policies, commitments and past performance. This information will be distributed to the members of the organisations involved and to the public.

For further information contact: Cath Wallace, ECO (04)463-5713 (work) or (04)389-1696 (home). Glyn Walters, spokesperson for Greenpeace (09)630-6317 or 021-772-661 Barry Weeber, Forest and Bird (04)385-7374 or 025-622-7369

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