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National Env. Summit identifies action for future

Environment and Conservation Organisations of NZ

ECO Media Release Awataha Marae, North Shore, Auckland

North Shore, Auckland 29 June 2003 - The ECO national environmental summit meeting in Auckland this weekend has marked out key environmental problems for urgent action. The summit, the Environment and Conservation Organisations of NZ, brings together delegates from organisations throughout the country to discuss environmental issues and how to get change and traction on the problems.

Reports on multicultural conservation by Maori, Pacific and Chinese communities showed that conservation is not the preserve of pakeha. The conference heard from Estella Lee of the Chinese Conservation Education Trust (CCET) about Chinese community moves to protect New Zealand's environment.

"The Trust has grown into an organisation of over 500 members within a year, and we are eager to expand it nationally and work with the mainstream conservation organisations," CCET Chair Estella Lee said.

Annie Wheeler talked about efforts by the New Zealand Pacific community to spread the word about marine protection and the need for biosecurity measures. Maiki Marks, presented her work as Co-ordinator of Environmental Education for the Auckland College of Education, showed videos on environmental protection made by and for children in schools, both Maori and pakeha.

"We have marked out the need for a range of actions to move Auckland and other major cities on to a more sustainable track – with measures for better provision for people in cities, for people friendly transport and meeting spaces, creative innovations in urban planning and lighting, community democracy and access to environmental education," said Cath Wallace, ECO Co-chair.

Minister of Conservation Chris Carter, who addressed the conference on Friday evening, gained strong support for his work to protect the marine environment and to prevent the conservation estate from suffering incursions and flooding for hydro. Options and opportunities for switching the economy to renewable energy forms, particularly solar and wind power were also detailed.

"Chris Carter received strong applause for the Government's work for whale protection but criticism that the Government's target of 10% of the marine environment in marine protected areas was too little and would allow rates of extinction well above 10% of species".

Aquaculture's impacts on the environment were detailed and deplored.

The Department of Conservation was seen as underfunded and too focussed on land at the expense of the marine environment. The need for extra pest control was stressed.

The ECO Conference, "Getting Results" continues on Sunday, with an address from the Minister of Energy and Fisheries, Hon Pete Hodgson at12 midday.

here is more information on the ECO website at www.eco.org.nz
For further information contact

Cath Wallace, c/o 025 622 7369; Estella Lee 025 918 151


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