Our kids have a birth right to swim in clean rivers, fish in the sea, and walk in pristine forests. Real prosperity means clean rivers, clean air, and thriving plants and animals.

Strong legal structures should protect the environment

  • The RMA should be reformed to ensure its original principles of environmental protection, recognition of Te Tiriti o Waitangi, and public participation are upheld, including relating to climate change.
  • Environmental legal aid funding should be increased, DOC’s role as advocate for nature should be strengthened, and the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment should be better funded to act as an independent watchdog.

The public should be involved in environmental management and decision making

  • National Policy Statements and Environmental Standards should support local decision making.
  • Government should lead on behalf of all New Zealanders but councils, communities, and businesses have important roles to play.
  • Tangata whenua have kaitiaki responsibilities and rights to resource development under te Tiriti.

Rivers should be clean enough to swim in

  • National environmental standards should limit pollution in waterways and aquifers. Wetland habitat should be protected from loss and pollution.
  • The number of dairy cows in sensitive catchments where nutrient pollution exceeds environmental standards should be reduced. Stock intensification should require a resource consent. Pollution standards should not allow grandparenting at unsustainable levels.
  • There should be no public subsidies or support for large scale irrigation and water storage. Small-scale on-farm storage, including in wetlands, can be supported.
  • Commercial water users should pay a fair price for the use of water. No new water bottling plants should be established until their sustainability and overall benefit to New Zealand can be established.

Water should be managed sustainably in urban and rural areas

  • Water should remain publicly controlled and provided on a not-for-profit basis.
  • Stormwater and wastewater should be separated.
  • The Building Code should encourage rainwater collection and greywater recycling.
  • Pollution in urban waterways and harbours should be minimised.

Clean air is a basic right

  • Transport policy should support cleaner air, including infrastructure projects and fuel efficiency standards.
  • Government support should help replace open fireplaces and old, inefficient fuel burners with cleaner alternatives.

Polluters should bear the costs of their pollution

  • Hazardous substances should be levied in proportion to their toxicity.
  • Nutrient pollution should be levied, with revenue used to improve water quality.
  • Those who import and use toxic chemicals should be financially liable for any foreseeable damage caused by them.
  • Ecological tax reform should lower taxes on income and enterprise, and raise them on waste, pollution, and non-renewable resource use.

Aotearoa New Zealand can be waste-free

  • Community groups and local businesses should be empowered to reduce waste across Aotearoa New Zealand, including through the Waste Minimisation Fund.
  • Legislation should support deposit refund schemes. Levies on non-recyclable and non-reusable packaging should be investigated.
  • Local council waste management plans should set goals of eliminating waste to landfill, with practical steps to achieve them. Waste levies should reflect the full environmental, economic, and social costs of landfills.
  • Industry should take responsibility for the life-cycle and packaging of their products.

Mining should only occur if renewable or recycled resources are not available and the mined materials serve a socially useful purpose

  • No new coal mines or deep sea oil and gas exploration should be permitted, with existing coal mines allowed to run their course. Fracking should not occur unless proven safe.
  • Seabed mining should be prohibited unless it is proven safe and contributes to sustainable local industry and employment.
  • Mining royalties and taxes should be set at the OECD average or above. Extractive industries should be required to be insured for worst case scenario environmental damage.

Harmful use of toxic chemicals should be minimised

  • A precautionary approach should be taken towards the use of toxic chemicals. Government should actively monitor the import, use, and disposal of toxic chemicals in order to reduce their use over time.
  • Exposure limits should protect humans in their most vulnerable stages of life, such as in utero and infancy, and ensure wild food sources are not contaminated.
  • Government should work with unions and industry to reduce the use of harmful chemicals in workplaces.
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