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Greens issue sustainability challenge to Govt

4 December 2007

Greens issue sustainability challenge to Government

The Green Party is congratulating the Government on its new sustainability website, but is issuing its own sustainability challenge to the Prime Minister.

Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons says she is already doing all the things on the Government's tip sheet, but has entered her own pledge to use the stairs at Parliament rather than the lift as much as possible.

"I'd like to give New Zealanders another tip for sustainability: work for a Government that will make the big sustainability decisions, like how we use coal and what happens to the world's forests.

The Greens will also be working to make the Government as sustainable as it wants every New Zealander to be.

"It's great that the Government is asking New Zealanders to start their own compost bin, but it is a bit off when its own restaurant Bellamy's doesn't, dumping tonnes of food waste into the landfill each year.

"It's important that New Zealanders learn what they can do individually to be more sustainable. But there are some huge sustainability issues where the Government is not leading the way. My sustainability challenge to the Government is: * Include greenhouse emissions from coal mining in the Emissions Trading Scheme. The Government plans to give the industry a permanent exemption. * Shift a significant part of the transport budget out of new motorways and into public transport and cycling facilities. * Stop Government owned companies clearing forest land for dairy farming which leads to a huge increase in emissions. * Stop the import of tropical timber from illegal and unsustainable logging in South East Asia and the Pacific where forests and whole ecosystems of endangered species are being systematically destroyed. * Ensure Government does all the things they are asking individuals to do on the tip sheet.

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"Recycling of waste is an important step towards reducing energy use, but Parliament must surely be one of the worst offenders when it comes to recycling, especially the mountains of paper waste generated, used on one side only, which simply ends up in the bin.

"A few years ago the water carafes and glasses in Select Committee rooms were replaced with water coolers using electricity all day and night, and disposable plastic cups.

"Recently, the Green Party Parliamentary office was issued with a new dishwasher with an energy rating of two-and-a-half stars out of a possible six - a worrying example of how much emphasis is actually placed on sustainability."


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