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Budget 2020 Is A Step In The Right Direction, But More Work Is Needed.

Forest & Bird Youth is encouraged to see $1.1 billion from the Government invested into environmental jobs throughout Aotearoa New Zealand. This investment is a step in the right direction for the protection of our struggling endemic ecosystems, but there is more work required.

“The Government’s $1.1 billion investment in environment jobs will be hugely valuable for the restoration of New Zealand’s endemic and endangered species and ecosystems, while simultaneously helping to get our economy back on track.” says George Hobson, 16, Campaigns Coordinator of Forest & Bird Youth.

“We are also pleased to see that the Government has earmarked funding for important projects which often fly under the radar, such as wallaby control, fish passage, wilding pine control and wetland restoration” says Hobson.

Forest & Bird Youth hasn’t claimed Budget 2020 as a victory yet however, as there is still $20 billion set aside for investment in undetermined infrastructure projects.

“There is a once in a lifetime opportunity for transformational change in New Zealand currently within reach, if the Government decides to spend this $20b in a way that benefits both our environment and our people.

“We’re adamant that this $20 billion spend must have nature at its heart, and that infrastructure projects must be future-focused.

“The Government has a choice to make - will it invest in projects which cut our emissions, incorporate biodiversity outcomes and are resilient, or will it continue with the status quo of developing more roads?” says Hobson.

Hobson points out that there is a disappointing lack of climate change spending in Budget 2020 - “The world is currently facing a climate crisis, and we urgently need our elected officials to take this threat to the futures of young people, and our planet, seriously. The lack of climate investment was worrying to Forest & Bird Youth, and we are calling upon the Government to ensure that the $20 billion infrastructure spending will align with our Zero Carbon Bill targets.”

Forest & Bird Youth is run by and for young people aged 14-25 years old and are exceptionally aware of the need for a future-focused approach to the COVID-19 recovery.

“Young people desperately need our Government to approach the COVID-19 recovery in a sustainably-focused way. We were disappointed to see a lack of cognisance from Budget 2020 around the importance of intergenerational equity, and the impending nature of the climate and biodiversity crises.

“We are asking the Government to ensure that their $20 billion infrastructure investment is sustainable, has nature at its heart, and will provide for the futures of young New Zealanders.” says Hobson.

Note to editors: Forest & Bird Youth has launched a petition calling on the Government to adopt six principles which will help to ensure that the COVID-19 recovery has nature at its heart. The link to this petition is: https://our.actionstation.org.nz/petitions/put-nature-at-the-heart-of-the-covid-19-recovery

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