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Silencing Environmental Voices With Budget 2024 - More Motivation For Protest

Greenpeace is slamming the Government for slashing funding for government environmental agencies and initiatives in Budget 2024.

Budget 2024 includes cuts to funding for the Department of Conservation, the Ministry for the Environment, Environmental Legal Aid, and the Climate Change Commission, and Greenpeace says these funding cuts provide four more reasons to join the March for Nature on June 8.

Greenpeace Aotearoa Executive Director Russel Norman says "By systematically silencing environmental agencies with these funding cuts, Nicola Willis is enabling the Luxon Government’s ongoing war on nature.

"Without enough funding, these agencies cannot respond to the anti-nature policies this Government keeps throwing at them. The Department of Conservation has a statutory responsibility to advocate for nature even if the Government doesn’t like it. The Climate Commission has the job of providing independent advice on climate policy, advice the Government usually doesn’t want to hear. Environmental Legal Aid helps environmental groups to challenge the Government in court.

"For good measure, Willis is cutting funding to environmental evidence and data collection, so it will be harder to document the impact of the government’s policies.

"Already, the Ministry for the Environment doesn’t have enough time to respond properly to significant pieces of legislation - including the fast-track approvals bill, which could be used to consent mining on conservation land or seabed mining off the coast of Taranaki. Removing funding from already understaffed and overworked environmental agencies is only going to make that worse."

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Greenpeace is also concerned by the number of environmental programmes that have had funding removed under this Budget, including the removal of freshwater programmes and the climate emergency response fund. The community partnership funding and the waste minimisation funding have also been slashed.

Some of the income from the waste levy is to be diverted to contaminated sites remediation, no doubt getting ready for the downstream results of the fast track bill.

The organisation has called a ‘ March for Nature’ on the 8th of June in Auckland, in opposition to the fast-track bill and the Government’s broader "war on nature".

"No one wants to see the forests and oceans of Aotearoa turned into open-cast mines, rivers and lakes turned into sewers or precious wildlife condemned to extinction," says Norman. "People across the country are angry about the fast-track bill, and about the Luxon Government’s wider attack on nature. And on June 8th, we’ll be marching in the streets of Auckland to make our opposition heard."

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