09, Aug, 2005

Voting for Your Future

Category: ECO Inc

Three national conservation and environmental organisations are urging voters to consider the country’s long term future at this election.

Environment and Conservation Organisations of New Zealand (ECO), the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society (Forest and Bird) and Greenpeace New Zealand today launched the Vote for the Environment’s rating of political parties’ environment and conservation policies ahead of the elections.

“People are starting to get sick of the tax cut bidding war. We want the political parties to take a more expansive view of New Zealand’s future; one that reflects our role as caretakers of a unique set of islands - and a special way of life that celebrates the beaches, the bush and the mountains,” said Kevin Hackwell, Forest & Bird campaign manager.

The groups today released a wallet-sized card that rates the political parties across 12 environment and conservation issues that are important to New Zealanders. They asked the parties a total of 59 questions.

The parties scored the following:

Act: 10% Green: 97% Labour: 61% Maori: 83% National: 43% NZ First: 50% Progressive: 81% United Future:48%

The result shows a fairly clear difference between the two major parties on environmental issues for this election. These differences are reflected in the smaller parties, roughly falling into the same camps as their likely choice of coalition partners.

“Some of the responses were surprising – for example National’s endorsement of the Department of Conservation which stands in contrast to the approach Don Brash took recently at Molesworth and National’s policy of opening conservation land to ‘multiple use’ development” said Hackwell.

“That only a few of our political parties actually believe in the science of climate change is pretty scary,” said Cindy Baxter, Greenpeace campaign manager. “This is one of the most critical environmental issues facing us, yet many parties, led by National’s ‘Donosaur’, appear to be hell bent on making us international pariahs by denying the science and pulling out of Kyoto.”

“There’s a major shift in National’s policy away from the strong protection of Antarctica that it previously expounded,” said Cath Wallace of ECO. “National used to be a leader in Antarctic Protection but this is a surprising rollback.”

“We can see a very high level of consensus for the Ministry of Fisheries better implementing its legal environmental responsibilities, and to see MPA’s properly defined. However, when it comes to more specific measures such as a global moratorium on high seas bottom trawling, the major parties are not trustworthy,” she said.

The two major parties both score very poorly on GE and Toxics. Both also support changes to the RMA to fast-track major projects.

For detailed information of the questions and the answers to those questions go to http://www.environmentvote.org.nz

Kevin Hackwell, Conservation Manager, Forest and Bird: 021 227 8420
Cindy Baxter, Campaign Manager, Greenpeace: 021 772 661
Cath Wallace, Co-Chair, ECO: 021 891 994