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Details needed in National’s Environment Policy

Wellington – Monday 7 September 2008

More details needed in National’s Environment Policy

The National Party needs to give more details on what it proposes to do on climate change, the emission trading regime, the Resource Management Act and the Department of Conservation, the Environment and Conservation Organisations said today.

ECO spokesperson, Cath Wallace, said National’s principles on climate change gave no direction as to whether they would improve or water down the Emission Trading legislation and give further subsidies to business.

“The only additional information was reported in the NZ Herald where National’s Environment Spokesperson, Nick Smith, was promoting further fuel subsidies for the fishing industry.

“There also appears to be contradictions between National’s Environment Policy and its Energy Policy, which would remove the moratorium on new base load thermal generation. The removal of the moratorium would see more coal and gas burnt in New Zealand which is contrary to the environment policy objectives of reducing emissions.”

“While welcoming National’s commitment for emission reductions target by 2050, it was crucial that interim targets by 2020 were also adopted to ensure the New Zealand economy moved away from its fossil fuel dependence.”

Cath Wallace welcomed National’s commitment to introduce a National Policy statement on Biodiversity under the Resource Management Act. She urged National to develop ecosystem based Oceans Policy and to implement greater controls on the fishing industry’s environmental impacts.

“National’s proposals in its Outdoor Recreation Policy to make recreation as or more important than conservation would damage conservation and species protection. National’s commitment to greater weed and pest control in its conservation policy would be undermined by the creation of more exclusive recreational hunting areas.”

“Deer, goats, tahr, and pigs are all threats to New Zealand’s indigenous biodiversity and it is crucial that there is on going control to reduce there numbers.”

Cath Wallace said National needs to be clearer on its proposals for an Environmental Protection Agency, fast tracking infrastructure projects, and amending the Resource Management Act. Are they proposing to reduce public participation in resource consents, already over 95 percent of consents are non-notified.

ECO noted that National needs to be clearer on its commitments to protection of the marine environment.

Notes: 1. ECO – the Environment and Conservation Organisations was established in 1972 and represents 63 groups with a concern for the environment.

ENDS

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