The National Government is failing to report properly on the extent and seriousness of New Zealand’s environmental problems, and is instead hiding behind misleading statistics, the Green Party said today.
A report the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (PCE), responding to the Government’s own State of the Environment report released last October, criticises the Government for not providing New Zealanders with "information about how good or bad aspects of the environment are in different parts of the country", focusing on environmental problems of "minor issue", and for highlighting “statistics without context".
“National has shown it's more interested in spinning a story about New Zealand's clean green image, than facing up to the reality of unswimmable rivers, declining native bird populations, and the major effects of climate change," said Green Party environment spokesperson Eugenie Sage.
“The Parliamentary Commissioner’s report says the Government needs to respond to our biodiversity crisis and the impacts of predators on our native wildlife, hill country erosion, and climate change, which the PCE says is the most serious environmental issue facing our country.
“National is doing the absolute bare minimum in response to the serious environmental problems facing our country, and this report exposes that.
"Our iconic and threatened native wildlife like the kea, kiwi and pekapeka/bats need more than a one-off ‘battle’ to protect them. National's repeated cuts to conservation mean the fight against pests and predators is, in reality, too little and too thinly spread.
“Hill country erosion is not only bad for the long term soil quality on our farms, but it leads to massive amounts of sediment polluting our waterways. National has only offered a band-aid response to this problem.
“Protecting the natural environment is part of who we are as New Zealanders. It’s at the heart of our way of life, and our economy. The government can’t afford to take nature for granted and sit idly by as the problems gets worse,” said Ms Sage.