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Frosty reception should await Smith at OECD meeting

26 September 2016

Frosty reception should await Smith at OECD environment meeting

Environment Minister Nick Smith deserves a frosty reception when he chairs a major environment meeting of OECD countries, just days after the Government opened up half-a-million square kilometres of ocean to oil and gas exploration, the Green Party said today.

Nick Smith heads to Paris today for the OECD Environment Ministerial meeting, where countries will share expertise and outline the steps they’re taking to curb greenhouse gas emissions and enhance the environment.

“You can't open up half-a-million square kilometres of ocean for oil drilling one day, then hope to be warmly greeted at a global climate change meeting the next,” said Green Party environment spokesperson Eugenie Sage.

“I don’t expect there’ll be much love in the room for New Zealand, given the National Government has shown such flagrant disregard for international efforts to stop climate change.

“Climate damaging emissions have increased by 19 percent under this National Government, and are forecast to keep going up.

“The Minister should face some tough questions in Paris, including why he has refused to back a law change this year to expand marine protection law to include the EEZ and our deep oceans, and limit deep sea oil drilling.

“He should be challenged as to why he is dismantling New Zealand’s major environmental laws with his changes to the Resource Management Act which significantly increase his Ministerial power, reduce scope for public participation and weaken environmental bottom lines.

“We would like to see Nick Smith asked why his ambition for New Zealand rivers is for them to be fit only for wading and boating; and not clean enough to swim in.

“Hopefully, Nick Smith will take note of the ambitious steps other countries are taking to both curb greenhouse emissions, protect the environment, and improve people's lives.

“New Zealand should be following the lead of other OECD countries and supporting the massive uptake of electric vehicles, modern electric public transport, and the building of warm, energy efficient homes," said Ms Sage.

ends

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