02, Jul, 2006

Environmental summit calls for action on climate, marine issues

Category: ECO Inc

Kaiaua, Firth of Thames, 2 July 2006 --The continued degradation of our marine and coastal environment and the urgency of climate change were top of the agenda at a summit of 67 of New Zealand's environment and conservation groups this weekend.

The Environment and Conservation Organisations conference resolved to work to urge Government to arrive at solutions on these pressing issues. Delegates at the conference included students from four universities, and a wide range of ages, from 7 to 84.

Climate change is the critical environmental threat to the planet. Scientists say we have just ten years to act to avoid dangerous climate change, and the Conference passed a number of resolutions, urging the government to:
. act immediately to meet Kyoto Protocol commitments, by instituting effective measures to reduce all types of greenhouse gas emissions
. commit to a target of 20% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and adopt a target of 100% renewable electricity by 2020
. take note of the huge increase in demand for public transport, in response to rising oil prices; this alone is evidence of a workable carbon charge
. redirect investment from roads to public transport.

While ECO applauds the government's decision to review the national Energy Efficiency And Conservation Strategy, it urges the government to introduce measures to reduce energy demand. The government's failure to institute vehicle emissions and efficiency standards must be turned around.

Cath Wallace, Co-Chair of ECO, says the depth of community concern from around New Zealand about the destructive impacts of fishing in New Zealand's waters and on the High Seas was strongly expressed. "Bottom trawling is seen as an unacceptable fishing method. ECO joined other organisations around the world in its call for an interim prohibition on the use of bottom trawling in the High Seas while effective measures to protect the environment are developed.
ECO called on the New Zealand government to get off the fence on the issue and to put its weight at the United Nations firmly behind a moratorium on bottom trawling on the high seas."

Other aspects of marine and fisheries management are also high priority.
. ECO urges the NZ government to take action against shark finning. The government must protect shark populations within our exclusive economic zone by developing a National Plan of Action on Sharks - which has been promised but never carried out - and by banning the finning of sharks at sea.
. An ecosystem-based management Ocean Policy must be implemented to protect the marine environment.
. The Ministry of Fisheries must open its consultation process, and not exclude organisations or people from meeting with the Chief Executive of Fisheries.
. ECO also condemns all whaling carried out for 'scientific' and commercial purposes.

ECO will continue to campaign for legislation which bans the import of all illegally logged timber and goods. The Southern Ocean, and especially the Ross Sea area, must be protected through marine reserves and marine protected areas. ECO calls on the government to work within the Antarctic Treaty System to achieve this, and to curtail fishing in these areas. The conference supported the Resource Management Act, rejected attempts to weaken it, and urged that there be more support for environmental education.

For more information, contact: Cath Wallace, 021-891-994 or Barry Weeber 021- 738-807.

For resolution texts, contact: Kate Lower, 04-385-7545, email eco@reddfish.co.nz, or visit www.eco.org.nz