Written By: - Date published: 7:00 am, October 3rd, 2017 - 91 comments
Categories: climate change, Conservation, Environment, sustainability, water - Tags: ecologic, environmental defence society, fish and game, forest and bird, generation zero, greenpeace, WWF
Seven of New Zealand’s most prominent environmental organisations have written an open letter to the leaders of the four largest political parties, thanking them and reminding them that the electorate now has high expectations of whoever forms government to work seriously on climate, water and conservation. They also offer their assistance in the those areas they have identified as critical.
Lefties need to keep on with the mahi and not let the momentum here slip away. Whoever is in government will need support and to be held to account for the good of the commons.
The myriad of National voters who are currently calling for the Greens to go into coalition with National (and given National’s shocking record on these issues), might like to put their money where their mouth is and support these organisations directly. Not just this week when power is in the balance but over the next decades while the crises named in the letter are being attended to.
29 September 2017
Rt. Hon. Bill English Leader, National Party
Jacinda Ardern MP Leader, Labour Party
Rt. Hon. Winston Peters Leader, New Zealand First Party
James Shaw MP Co Leader, Green Party
Dear Party leaders,
A winner in this year’s election was the New Zealand environment. It featured as a bigger concern amongst the electorate than ever before. All of you through your party manifestos made commitments to improve the state of our environment. We congratulate you for those promises.
As environmental leaders, we wish to offer our congratulations to all parties and to both sitting and new MPs for their election success. We also wish to acknowledge those parties and MPs who are departing Parliament and thank them for their work.
There is now a strong public expectation that whichever parties form the next Government, there must be clear gains for fresh water, the climate and conservation in the next three years.
We offer our help in achieving these gains:
It is clear that ecologically healthy freshwaters, and the ability of New Zealanders to safely swim in their rivers and lakes, will be a key measure of environmental success for the new Government. This can only be achieved if government facilitates and supports a transformation of the primary sector toward new, environmentally-friendly land uses and practices, coupled with tougher regulation and market signals which reflect the true costs of resource use.
There must be a more structured and transparent approach to tackling the greatest challenge of our time – climate change. New Zealand’s emissions have continued to climb and we need an ambitious plan on how to reduce them. Transformative change is required through a new law to establish a statutory carbon budgeting process overseen by an independent Climate Commission to plan, monitor and report on the transition to net zero by 2050. Anything less betrays this and future generations.
The jewels in the crown of our national identity are the unique species which inhabit our lands, waters and wild places. We need the new Government to institute real measures to protect and enhance the viability of our precious species. This includes the health of the diverse and invaluable terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems that sustain both them and valued introduced species. An increase in funding of DOC’s core budget must be a key component in that strategy.
These issues, and the many others that fall under the umbrella of “environment”, are at the heart of the richness of our quality of life in New Zealand, and underpin our international reputation. They are also at the core of a genuinely sustainable future and are therefore true legacy issues. The natural world is our home and there are few greater gifts we can bestow our children than a vibrant, vital and healthy natural world.
We promise to continue our strong advocacy for the environment and look forward to working with all political parties, both in the next government and in the opposition, to achieve positive gains for our environment.
Kevin Hague, Forest and Bird
Russel Norman, Greenpeace New Zealand
Livia Esterhazy, WWF New Zealand
Bryce Johnson, Fish & Game New Zealand
Gary Taylor, Environmental Defence Society
Guy Salmon, Ecologic
Lisa McLaren, Generation Zero
From the Green Party press release,
“I welcome this cross-party challenge from our environmental leaders, and we will do everything we can to ensure the environment is at the top of the agenda of a new government,” said Green Party Leader James Shaw.
“The Greens have consistently put environmental issues on the political agenda, and in this election we campaigned on climate action, clean water and conservation.
“We were pleased that many of those issues were picked up by other political parties during the campaign. We are now working to be in a position to implement our policy solutions as part of a new, environmentally-friendly and progressive government.
“The Greens have a track record in our 18 years in Parliament of working to ensure that New Zealand is a world leader in the fight against climate change, and that we clean up our rivers and protect our drinking water and our biodiversity.
“It’s never been more important to New Zealanders that they see real action on protecting our natural heritage,” said Mr Shaw.