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Environment Election Priority

Wellington - Saturday 26 June 2005 -

Environment Election Priority

Delegates to this weekend's ECO conference set an agenda for policies and action for the environment, prioritising oceans, marine environment and fisheries management, climate change and energy policy and defending the Resource Management Act from a "think big" agenda.

The groups (1) are also developing a charter of policies for the environment, as part of Vote for the Environment. This will be the sixth election where a slate of policies have been developed and submitted to political parties for them to disclose where they stand on key environmental issues. Responses will be analysed and their degree of commitment and specific positions made available to voters.

"This national summit for the environment has set a clear agenda for all political parties to move urgently on key issues that need urgent attention. Voters need to be informed about where parties stand on the environment. We have some considerable concerns about some of the party positions we have seen so far and we will be presenting our analysis of party positions to voters," said ECO spokesperson Cath Wallace.

ECO called on the Government to push for a moratorium on high seas bottom trawling at the UN General Assembly. The conference heard from new Chief Executive of the Ministry of fisheries and urged him to take action to limit overfishing, destructive fishing practices and to provide proper environmental processes for fisheries management. The conference was clear it wants an end to devolution of fisheries research and management to the fishing industry.

Calling climate change the "critical threat to the environmental threat to the planet" and called for the Government to develop a sustainable energy strategy to reduce energy demand and phase coal use for energy. Concern about peak oil production was other reason for the urgency to move to renewable energy resources.

ECO condemned the Resource Management and Electricity Legislation Amendment Bill which could fast-track, amongst other things, roading, power projects, transmission lines and coal mines. The conference resolved to vigorously oppose any moves by any political party to weaken or replace the RMA or to insert into it new objectives such as economic objectives.

"We see this bill as a retrograde step reminiscent of the Muldoon era's think big legislation," said Clive Monds, ECO executive member.

"It is clear that the environment is vitally important to both young and old. The strong youth contingent of new voters at the conference pressed for immediate action on climate change, ocean management and public participation," said Jo McVeagh, of the ECO executive and member of Students for Environmental Action.

ENDS


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