Head in sand approach extends to environment

The Government's decision to abandon its regular comprehensive report on the state of the environment is a major step backwards for the health of New Zealand’s environment, Labour’s Environment spokesperson Grant Robertson says.

"In order to protect and preserve our environment we need good quality information. The Government should be providing that through regular and comprehensive reporting. Instead it is taking its ‘ostrich economics’ approach and extending it to the environment.

"New Zealand can’t afford this head in the sand attitude from National. Ad hoc and incomplete report cards will not suffice.

"New Zealanders want the Government to give priority to protecting our environment for its own sake and for the value it brings to our economy through our clean, green image.

"But that will only work if we have consistent and quality information.

"I have a bill in the Members Ballot which would see the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment producing five yearly reports on the state of the environment. As Parliament's independent environmental watchdog, the Commissioner is the right person to do the job

"Supposedly the Government was working on a similar idea - and National promised this role for the PCE as far back as the 2008 election. It now appears to have given up.

"So yet again we have National breaking another promise.

"This Government has let New Zealanders down when it comes to a host of other environmental issues, including climate change, the EEZ and water management. Now it wants to avoid scrutiny of its environmental record.

"It’s not good enough, and Amy Adams needs to either re-instate the report or get on with implementing a new reporting system," Grant Robertson said.