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Forest & Bird welcomes Labour environment policy

Forest & Bird welcomes Labour environment policy but seeks more detail

Independent conservation organisation Forest & Bird welcomes the Labour Party’s new environment policy announcements, and supports the party’s view that the quality of New Zealand’s environment is integral to the country’s economic wellbeing.

But Advocacy Manager Kevin Hackwell says the policy announcements made by Deputy Leader David Parker are missing key details. Kevin Hackwell is disappointed they don’t preclude the continued sell-off of the rights to mine and frack on conservation land, and the rights to drill for oil and gas in some of New Zealand’s deepest waters.

“We are pleased that Labour says it won’t subsidise the oil and gas sector any longer. But its policy appears to allow the continued search for new reserves in some of our best parks and in our deep seas to continue,” Kevin Hackwell says.

“If Labour is taking climate change seriously it would realise that its fossil fuels policy is at odds with the party’s overarching policy statements on sustainability and climate change.

“The science tells us the world can only burn a third of the proven reserves of fossil fuels, if we are to keep global warming to a two degree average. Therefore there is no point in New Zealand drilling for more of the world’s riskiest deep sea oil, or allowing oil and gas exploration and coal mining in some of our most important conservation areas.”

Kevin Hackwell says Labour’s policies on strengthening freshwater protection by requiring any increases in the intensity of land use to be controlled rather than permitted as of right are in line with the recommendations of the Land and Water Forum.

“Introducing a price for the commercial use of water was also one of the possible tools that the Land and Water Forum considered. This could be used to ensure efficient use of water and to provide funds to help manage and restore water quality.

“On another note, it’s good to see the promises to increase the number of frontline staff to replace those lost from the Department of Conservation since 2008, and to not block the department from advocating for indigenous biodiversity protection beyond the public conservation estate,” Kevin Hackwell says.

Ends

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