Unless National’s Bluegreens Forum at Lake Tekapo this weekend pushes for strong environmental changes, it will only provide an opportunity for the National Government to greenwash its poor environmental record, the Green Party said today.
“Under the National Government, net greenhouse gas emissions have risen by 11 per cent compared to 1990 levels, 62 per cent of monitored recreational swimming sites are too dirty to swim in, and the Department of Conservation (DOC) is dependent on corporates to do its core work saving our precious native plants and wildlife,” said Green Party environment spokesperson Eugenie Sage.
“Many of the National Government’s policies promote further environmental degradation. National is supporting further oil and gas exploration despite signing the COP21 agreement to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius, heavily subsidising irrigation encouraging more intensive dairying, and paying lip service to marine protection by leaving the Exclusive Economic Zone open to fishing, oil and gas exploration and seabed mining.
“If the Bluegreens are serious about being the environmental wing of the National Party, then they need to press the Government to:
- have an effective plan to reduce, not increase, our greenhouse gas emissions, including bringing agriculture into the emissions trading scheme.
- transition New Zealand away from dependence on fossil fuels and to clean energy.
- set national water quality bottom-lines urgently that ensure our rivers and lakes are safe for swimming and that keep stock out of waterways.
- put a moratorium on further dairy conversions to protect areas such as the Mackenzie Basin, and reduce water and climate pollution.
- strengthen, not weaken, the Resource Management Act in terms of environmental protection and community involvement.
- extend proposals for new marine protection legislation to include the Exclusive Economic Zone, which covers 94 per cent of our oceans. Protection for deep sea marine species and habitats and seabirds are overdue.
- fund DOC properly so that it can protect our native plants and species and wild landscapes without getting out the begging bowl.
“By failing to advocate or take real action to protect the environment, the Bluegreens will show they’re just a way for National to greenwash its poor environmental record.
“The Green Party will strengthen environmental protection, fund DOC properly, have clear law to enable marine reserves and other protected areas in the Exclusive Economic Zone, set standards for waterways that will ensure they are swimmable for us and future generations, and transition New Zealand away from fossil fuels and to clean energy,” said Ms Sage.