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Greens welcome independent national environmental reporting

18 August 2011

Greens welcome independent national environmental reporting

The Green Party today welcomed the Government’s proposal to move national environmental reporting to the independent Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, as the Greens proposed in 2008.

“National environmental reporting must be objective and independent from the Government of the day, so we welcome this Government’s move to have our State of the Environment Reports conducted by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment,” said Green Party Co-leader Russel Norman.

“The need for independent environmental reporting and auditing was highlighted when the Greens revealed in 2008 that the 2007 State of the Environment Report had been censored by having its final chapter suppressed.

“The 2007 State of the Environment Report was written by the Ministry for the Environment, which suppressed the thirteenth and final chapter because it made the politically unpalatable assertion that pastoral land-use intensification was 'arguably the largest pressure today on New Zealand's land, freshwaters, coastal oceans and atmosphere. The thirteenth chapter only saw the light of day when the Greens released it.

“In response to this abuse of power the Green Party called for the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment to be in charge of the preparation of the next report.”

Dr Norman said that the public deserved to be told the truth about the state of our environment even when it was politically inconvenient for the Government of the day.

“We look forward to engaging with the Government in a cross party way on this proposal. The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment is an officer of Parliament, not a Government agent, and changes to the role need to have broad cross party support.

“We also wish to clarify the resourcing issues so that the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment can do the next State of the Environment Report without undermining the broader role of the office as our environmental watchdog.”

ENDS

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