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Labour's rhetoric on waste fails to match reality

Nicky Wagner MP
National Party Associate Environment Spokeswoman

21 November 2006

Labour's rhetoric on waste fails to match reality

The Labour Government's rhetoric on reducing waste going into landfills does not match the reality, says National Party Associate Environment spokeswoman Nicky Wagner.

"Helen Clark told the Labour Party annual conference that 'we can now move to minimise, if not eliminate, waste to landfills'. However, Labour is making a complete hash of this goal."

The evidence includes:

* Criticism from the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment that the lack of progress on the Government's waste strategy 'undermines the whole process of democratic engagement with government'.

* The Environment Ministry producing 101kg of publications per staff member in 2005-06, up from 41kg in 2002-03.

* A mere 24 government departments churning out more than 26,000 glossy copies of annual reports this year - enough to reach four times the height of the Beehive.

* A buried report commissioned by Recycling Operators New Zealand and funded by the Environment Ministry showed the success of the voluntary packaging accord was justified by unreliable statistics.

"The report found unresolved issues around reliability of statistics and said they should not be used to justify the Packaging Accord's success," says Mrs Wagner.

"This is typical of the Government's inaction. They make claims that they are going to reduce waste going into landfills, and all the evidence shows the opposite.

"The Ministry for the Environment is the agency charged with reducing waste in New Zealand, but it has trebled its own waste in the last four years. Labour is totally hypocritical on the environment. Here they are telling everyone else how to reduce waste while doing nothing themselves.

"The Government pays lip service to the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment but ignore him when he tries to hold them to account for the lack of progress on the National Waste Strategy and expresses his lack of confidence in national waste data.

"And the Government talks of reducing waste but then produces thousands of expensive, glossy annual reports."

ENDS


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