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Government hiding bad news in changes

Government hiding bad news in changes to environmental reporting

The Government's decision to delete air and water quality from this year's social report shows that it is trying to hide a deterioration in both areas on its watch, says Labour's Environment spokesperson Charles Chauvel.

"Page 6 of the 2010 Social Report, released yesterday, says that the Government has decided to delete 'air quality and drinking-water quality' from the report because it considers 'they have limitations which reduce their usefulness as social indicators'. The Government also claims that the information is available elsewhere,” Charles Chauvel said.

"The reality is that under this Government, both air and drinking water quality requirements have been relaxed - the former by Nick Smith as Minister for the Environment; the latter by Tony Ryall as Minister of Health.

“If their measurement had been included in this year's social report, both would have shown a significant deterioration in quality.

"These were the only indicators in the Physical Environment domain of the social report, and their measurements are not easily found elsewhere.

"It's bad enough that the Government has made deliberate decisions that kiwis should have to put up with dirtier air to breathe and less pure water to drink. It's even worse to try to hide this information from the public by deleting it from the most accessible, regular place where it's reported", Charles Chauvel said.

"Labour will require, by statute, regular and reliable social and environmental reporting that gives kiwis an honest picture. We'll also make progress on improving air and drinking water quality. On both these fronts, the current Government is failing badly, and is now trying to cover up that failure,” Charles Chauvel said.


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