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Why not wholly independent reporting, Minister?

Maryan Street
Environment Spokesperson

8 August 2013

Why not wholly independent reporting, Minister?

Amy Adams’ announcement of the government’s intention to establish an ‘in-house’ environmental reporting system is a back-down by National on its promise to have truly independent reports, says Labour’s Environment spokesperson, Maryan Street.

“Nick Smith promised five yearly ‘State of the Environment’ reports before the 2011 election, with legislation making them a requirement to be passed last year.

“Amy Adams has done her very best to eliminate the proposal and has come up with a watered down version instead.

“While regular updates of statistics are useful, they do not provide truly independent reporting on the state of the environment, something a member’s bill, sponsored by my colleague Grant Robertson and currently in the ballot, would require from the Parliamentary Commissioner of the Environment (PCE).

“Labour recognises that the Commissioner will have an audit function in this new reporting regime and we welcome that.

“It would be better, however, if the office of the PCE were resourced sufficiently to do the reports itself, because the Commissioner is an independent Officer of Parliament.

“Collecting data will be useful but insufficient if a report does not have the weight to change decisions about the environment.

“A departmental report will be useful but quite possibly not forceful enough. It would not be appropriate, for example, if the Minister were to choose the indicators which were to be measured and reported on.

“Just which measures are chosen to report on needs to be decided independently too,” said Maryan Street.


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