National scraps crucial environmental report - Greens

The National Government has decided to stop producing the essential five-yearly State of the Environment Report, the Green Party revealed today.

"The Government is keeping New Zealanders in the dark about what is happening to the environment and what the problems are by stopping publication of this report," Green Party environment spokesperson Eugenie Sage said.

In answer to a written parliamentary question from the Green Party, Environment Minister Amy Adams revealed that the Ministry for the Environment’s (MFE) regular five yearly State of the Environment report due in December 2012 will not be produced. Instead of a comprehensive national level report, the Ministry is releasing simple "report cards" on a patchy, ad hoc, occasional basis.

"The National Government does not want people to know how it has undermined the environment with its pro-irrigation, anti-climate, and pro-mining policies," Ms Sage said.

"New Zealanders love our rivers, lakes, wild lands and coast and want them well cared for and protected.

"People who want to know what is going on will have to trawl through individual report cards and hope to find the most up-to-date accurate information instead of being able to access a single comprehensive document.

"We need accurate, reliable and regular national level reporting to highlight environmental pressure points and priorities for action.

"State of the Environment Reports set benchmarks for the overall health and quality of New Zealand’s environment and allow us to measure how we are doing.

"The Ministry releases report cards on selected indicators but these lack the breadth of a proper national level State of the Environment Report," said Ms Sage.

The Ministry described the report as a ‘one stop shop’ of accessible, relevant environmental information which can be used as a basis for decision-making.

"The new report cards don’t cover all of New Zealand. There is no freshwater data from regions such as West Coast, Tasman, Auckland in the recent MFE report cards on recreational water quality," said Ms Sage.

"National even appears to be ashamed of what the patchy, limited information in the report cards shows, given that the Minister did not even put out a press release when six report cards were uploaded on the Ministry’s website recently."