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Environment Commissioner shouldn't play politics

The New Zealand
Climate Science Coalition

The Coalition is a not-for-profit, membership-based organization dedicated to climate science and has no political affiliation. We take a science and evidence-based approach to climate change issues.

Media release (immediate) 30 August 2006

Environment Commissioner should resign if he wants to play climate politics

If the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (PCE), Dr Morgan Williams, wishes to engage in climate politics, he should immediately resign his post rather than hang on until next year. This today from Rear Admiral Jack Welch, chairman of the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition, which has been described in the latest PCE newsletter as being "the group in denial over climate change."

"The PCE's own website says that as an officer of Parliament, the Commissioner's job is to hold the Government to account for its environmental policies and actions", said Admiral Welch. "The PCE is one of three offices of Parliament, along with the Controller and Auditor General and the Ombudsmen. The other two are not known for slagging non-governmental organizations that question official policy, and the Environment Commissioner goes beyond his brief when he attacks such an organization as ours.

"This is especially galling when Dr Williams has demonstrably failed to provide objective and impartial advice as to what climate change policies would be in the best interests of current and future generations of New Zealanders. It is precisely because politicians and officials have widely failed New Zealanders in this respect that non-governmental climate scientists decided to band together in our coalition to oppose misinformation and advocacy from taxpayer-funded agencies in order to have a better informed public debate in relation to climate change. If the office of the PCE is not capable of representing the interests of New Zealanders at large it should be disbanded."

"We call on Dr Williams also to make it absolutely clear that his smear when he says in the latest PCE newsletter 'In today's climate change debate, petroleum companies are funding 'think tanks' to create scepticism", does not in any way refer to the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition, which is a voluntary group of concerned scientists and other citizens who challenge the validity of the science on which New Zealand's current climate policies are based, and who are funding their activities from their own pockets."

Rear Admiral Welch said in the same issue of the PCE newsletter, Dr Williams has announced he will not seek a third term but will stay on until the celebrations of the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the office which was set up under the Environment Act 1986, and currently costs in excess of $2 million to administer.

"If Dr Williams wants to attack organisations like ours, in default of his obligation to hold the Government to account, he should do so as a private citizen, and resign his position as PCE forthwith," said Rear Admiral Welch.


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