Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

Environment Specialist Calls for National Agency

Media Release
26 August 2004

Environment Specialist Calls for National Agency

New Zealand Lacks Institutional Arrangements for Progress

One of the key architects of New Zealand’s resource management laws says it’s time to consider taking responsibility for environmental protection away from the Government and handing it to an independent national board.

Guy Salmon, a third generation conservationist and international advisor on environmental policy, says New Zealanders have high aspirations for environmental protection but are being let down by a series of Governments failing to provide direction and clarity for regional councils.

Speaking at Lincoln University’s annual State of the Nation’s Environment address, Salmon said New Zealand must question why it consistently fails to reach its environmental goals and why other nations, such as the Nordic countries, are consistently more successful.

“It’s not a question of culture or one country having a superior set of environmental values to the other,” he said. “National environmental attitudes in Sweden, Denmark and Finland are very similar to our own, but the Nordic countries are much better at actually achieving their environmental goals, while achieving high levels of investment and wealth creation at the same time.”

Salmon said the difference rested in the institutional framework and the delegation of responsibilities to implement national objectives.

“In Sweden the role of the parliament is to set a small number of high level objectives to achieve over an extended time frame – such as making all rivers fishable by 2020. Implementation of those goals is then the responsibility of an independent administration, led by a Board which is at arms’ length from Ministers.”

He said New Zealand should consider a similar system. “I believe we would make much more progress towards our environmental goals if we had a national body, like the Environmental Protection Agency of Sweden, to provide consistent leadership and standards. Currently there is not enough direction being given to regional councils and there’s a fuzziness and variability in the regional plans.

“The result is a lack of clear standards and too many applications going to discretionary hearings – which is a major cause of complaint from the business sector. On the other hand, the environmental sector is frustrated that the RMA is not particularly effective at improving environmental protection.”

He said regional councils were reluctant to take a stronger regulatory approach, with most favouring voluntary compliance for fear of alienating their major stakeholders. But in the Nordic states there was much greater acceptance of strong regulations.

2

“I would like our regional councils to also consider a middle ground – something in between the hands-off voluntary approach, and outright regulation – an approach called persuasive policy. Regional councils need to develop a greater range of incentives, especially in the rural sector. A couple of regional councils, particularly in Waikato and Taranaki, are using some of these measures and achieving significantly better outcomes.”

Salmon also challenged the leaders of policy groups to work together more constructively. “The Nordic societies seem to be attuned to consultation and debate, and are less inclined to walk away from the negotiating table. Again that’s not about culture - it’s about management style and leadership.”

About the Lincoln University State of the Nation’s Environment

The Isaac Centre for Nature Conservation introduced the annual State of the Nation’s Environment addresses in 1998 to fill a gap in sustainability reporting. This event is believed to be an international “first”. The concept was lifted from the traditional political leaders’ “state of the nation” addresses that typically deal with political, economic and budgetary matters. Speakers have included the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Ministers for the Environment and Conservation and the CEO for the Ministry for the Environment. The aim is to provide a commentary on the 'state' of the environment and discuss progress.

About Guy Salmon

Guy Salmon is a third-generation conservationist, who co-founded the Native Forests Action Council in 1975. He led the native forest conservation movement in many successes, culminating in the abolition of the Forest Service and creation of the Department of Conservation in 1987. Later, as chief executive of the Maruia Society (now the Ecologic Foundation), he broadened his environmental interests.

Guy has represented environmental interests on policy working parties for successive governments, notably on the reform of the government’s environmental administration system, the development of the Resource Management Act, and the development of policies on forestry, climate change, electricity markets, energy efficiency, and land transport. His Board memberships have included the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority, Landcare Research Ltd, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Environmental Advisory Committee. www.ecologic.org.nz

End

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Peters/Ardern Triumph

There are a lot of good reasons to feel joyful about this outcome. It is what so many young voters – the best hope for the country’s future – wanted.

Far more important than the implications for the Economy Gods ( is the dollar up or down? ) last night’s outcome will also mean many, many vulnerable New Zealanders will have a better life over the next three years at least.

Yet the desire for change was in the majority, across the country..>>>More


Reaction

Labour on its agreement |Peters: Post-Election Announcement Speech | Greenpeace “cautiously hopeful” about new Government | ACT - Madman on the loose | E tū ecstatic | Chamber welcomes the outcome | Greens on their joining Govt | EDS welcomes new govt | Immigrant groups worry | Feds ready to engage new coalition government | Labour Ministers of the Crown announced

 

Climate: Increasing Greenhouse Emissions Hit NZ

New Zealand is seeing impacts of excess greenhouse gas emissions in our climate and oceans, according to the latest national report from the Ministry for the Environment and Stats NZ about the state of the atmosphere and climate…More>>

ALSO:


Wellington.Scoop: Arrests At Blockade Of "Weapons Expo"

“We encourage people in Wellington to get down to the Westpac Stadium now for a day of awesome peace action. There will be plenty of food, music and activities to keep us sustained through the day.” More>>

ALSO:

Rorschach Restructuring: PSA Taking Inland Revenue To Court Over Psychometrics

The Public Service Association will be seeing Inland Revenue in Employment Court over its intention to psychometrically test employees reapplying for their roles at the department as part of its controversial Business Transformation restructuring plan. More>>

ALSO:

Nuclear Disarmament: Nobel Peace Prize 2017 Awarded To ICAN

Congratulations from iCAN Aotearoa New Zealand to international iCAN, the other iCAN national campaigns and partner organisations, and the countless organisations and individuals who have worked so hard for a nuclear weapons-free world since 1945. More>>

ALSO:

Expenses: Waikato DHB CEO Resigns

An independent inquiry has identified that Dr Murray had spent more than the agreed $25K allocated for relocation costs, and other unauthorized expenses involving potential financial breaches of the chief executive’s obligations. More>>

ALSO:

Wellington.Scoop: Sad About The Trolley Buses?

The Regional Council’s MetLink is today spending money to tell us that it really loves Wellington’s trolley buses, even though they’re all being taken off our roads by the end of this month. More>>

ALSO:

Post-Election: Preliminary Coalition Talks Begin

New Zealand First will hold post-election preliminary discussions in Wellington with the National Party tomorrow morning and the Labour Party tomorrow afternoon. More>>

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election