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CORANZ Rates Political Parties On Outdoors and Environment

CORANZ Rates Political Parties On Outdoors and Environment

NZ First ranks as the political party most attuned to New Zealanders love of outdoor recreation and the environment, while National ranks bottom equal with the Maori Party. That is the result of an election charter “question and answer” independent survey by the Council of Outdoor Recreation Associations of New Zealand (CORANZ). Seventeen questions relating to outdoor recreation and the environment were put to all parties.

Of parties currently in Parliament NZ First, on 94 out of 100, was well ahead of United Future, (76) followed by Labour (64) and then the Green Party (58).

National, ACT and Maori parties failed to respond with answers despite a reminder after closing date. Of parties not in Parliament the Outdoors Party scored 76 and Opportunities 64

CORANZ co-chairman Bill Benfield said NZ First showed a strong empathy with most issues and on big issues like a population policy showed a willingness for public debate on “bigger issues.".

Another topic which recently emerged among economists was replacing the old monetary-based GDP with a wider ranging Genuine-Progress-Indicator (GPI) embracing a fuller quality of life by measuring not just economic, but also social and environmental factors.

“NZ First welcomed debate on the two subjects of population and GPI which was positive whereas both Labour and National rejected them,” said Bill Benfield, CORANZ co-chairman.

The Green Party scored well in some areas but overall polled below its potential because of disagreement with charter points such as recognising deer and trout as valued wildlife and sporting species and another, being supportive of eco-toxins.

“They unfortunately are still hung up on the anti-introduced phobia. Illogical because humans are introduced as are sheep, cattle, potatoes and petunias,” commented Bill Benfield.

Big game management (i.e. deer, chamois, tahr, wapiti etc) as practised in every other country was totally rejected by the Green Party.

However a main discussion point and a disappointment to the assessment panel was National as the major party of government and its failure to respond at all.

Another judge CORANZ co-chairman Andi Cockroft added that National were even sent a reminder after deadline. Similarly the Maori Party while at least acknowledging the reminder, also did not respond.

“It’s extremely disappointing because much of the current outdoor recreation-environment debate naturally centres around government policy since the National Party has headed government for the last nine years,” said Andi Cockroft.

Voters could draw their own conclusions he said.
“Did National just not rank outdoor recreation and the environment highly, or did they consider the government had too much to answer for, particularly around issues like “dirty rivers”, gutting of the RMA, sea fisheries mismanagement, foreign ownership, toxic substances and more far-sighted issues looming like a population policy and discarding the monetary based GDP for a Genuine Progress Indicator embracing economic, social and environmental measurements?”

Commenting on the Maori party’s lack of response he said it would have been fitting for Maori because of their oft-stated cultural empathy with the environment. The Maori party had been part of the National-led government and had some measure of responsibility for policy and decision making around fisheries, degraded rivers, foreign ownership of high country and other issues.
Both CORANZ co-chairmen urged all New Zealanders and particularly those who enjoyed the outdoors, to vote.

“It’s imperative and it’s urgent because each three years between elections sees a slide downhill in terms of the environment and outdoor recreation.”

It has been estimated a million New Zealanders enjoy the outdoors in one form or another such as sea or freshwater fishing, hunting, shooting, tramping, 4 wheel driving, mountain biking and others sports. A Horizon survey a few years back revealed fishing had five times more participants than rugby.
“Outdoor recreation is not a small self-interested sector but the major sporting activity for Kiwis,” said Andi Cockroft.

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