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Auckland Growth Issues: Population policy needed

· Auckland Growth Issues: Population policy needed
· The ongoing urban sprawl issue in Auckland highlights the need for a population policy and an effective Sustainable Development Strategy says Forest and Bird.
· “Encouraging population growth is resulting in huge environmental pressures in Auckland”, says Eric Pyle Forest and Bird’s Conservation Manager. “The Government does not seem to be giving much thought to the impacts of immigration policies that are resulting in increased growth in Auckland and in an increase in New Zealand’s ecological footprint.”
· “It’s not an issue of who comes here or where they came from, it’s a question of how many people there should be in New Zealand”, says Mr Pyle.
· Forest and Bird is disappointed that the Government’s recently released sustainable development strategy did not specifically address population growth. “We know that ongoing population growth results in impacts on the environment such as air pollution caused by traffic congestion in Auckland”, says Mr Pyle. “On the one hand we have national policies that encourage population growth and on the other hand we have few national policies to manage the impacts of that growth. This makes little sense”.
· “The Government needs to stimulate a debate on population policy and develop clear actions under the Sustainable Development Strategy that address the size of New Zealand’s ecological footprint”, says Mr Pyle.
· Notes for editors
· This issue was covered extensively on Morning Report this morning.
· What can the Government do? The Government needs to stimulate a debate on population growth covering: Population growth scenarios for New Zealand. Currently New Zealand’s population is approaching four million, what size of population do we want? Population spread. How do we want the population spread around New Zealand? Current policies encourage growth in the Auckland region – should we allow this to continue? What influence can the Government bring to alter growth patterns? Addressing the impacts of population growth. What needs to be done to ensure that the impacts of growth are addressed, e.g. what adjustments are needed to transport policy?
Impacts of urban sprawl Urban sprawl results in: Storm water pollution (a major environmental issue in Auckland). Increased traffic congestion Loss of wetlands and native vegetation.

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