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NZ Fails Enviro Exam

DATE: 10 February 2008


NZ Fails Enviro Exam

Possibly the most significant report in contemporary New Zealand history, the Environment New Zealand 2007 report, was released in December 2007. This report summarises the physical well-being of NZ’s land, water, air, plants and animals and measures the impact of transport, energy, waste, and our consumption on the environment. Effectively it grades the country on a host of critical environmental factors.

How did we do?

The Dominion Post proclaimed “Enviro report paints stark picture”. That alone should clue you in on the fact that we didn’t do well.

The report states that New Zealand has “experienced one of the highest species extinction rates in the world, due to the loss of habitats and the introduction of pest plants and animals.” Specifically, nearly 2500 bird, plant and other species are under threat and all of the indicator species have decreased significantly in the past 30 years, including the kiwi. Climate change is expected to magnify the threat.

Furthermore, groundwater sources, freshwater swimming spots, and declining water quality emerged as major environmental problems with a fifth of monitored groundwater being too contaminated to drink.

In short, we failed - and we failed so badly that if it had been an NCEA grade, it’s likely we would be held back a year to repeat our studies until we learned to get things right!

“Manukau City also fails the enviro exam” says Royal Forest & Bird South Auckland Chair, Dene André. He says that “At a local level, Manukau City fares no better than other regions of the country – possibly worse in fact. Most of the threatened species in Manukau have been wiped out long ago, for instance there are no kiwi in the City at all. Every year we lose more bush and more streams, our air and water quality decline a little further, and pest plants and animals grow in number.”

Mr Andre notes that “there’s no environmental consultation in Manukau City and the Council has traditionally favoured development over consultation.” He cites the example of MCC’s failure to back a predator proof fence at Murphy’s Bush as one example of how Manukau fails the enviro exam.

Environment Secretary Hugh Logan says “… the report highlights the need to continue to protect and reinforce New Zealand’s environmental standing and our clean green reputation. This report will form an important basis for improving those areas which the report shows need attention.”

A copy of the report can be found at: http://www.mfe.govt.nz/publications/ser/enz07-dec07/index.html


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