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  Key Issues

The environment needs your vote!

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ECO and Greenpeace have identified five major environmental issues that must be addressed by whichever parties form the government after the election. These issues are climate change, freshwater, oceans, natural heritage and environmental leadership.

Each issue has a goal and five actions or policies. We asked politicians to commit to implementing all 25 policies. These actions will make a big difference for our environment.

Scroll down or use the menu on the left to choose the issue or issues that you want to know more about.

Our Five Goals

Vote for the Environment advocates five goals that political parties should adopt if they wish genuinely to improve the state of New Zealand's environment and show environmental leadership.

1: Tackle climate change by reducing GHG emissions by 30% on 1990 levels by 2020

2: Clean up all New Zealand streams and rivers by 2020

3: Reform oceans management by 2010 to preserve and protect the marine environment

4: Save New Zealand's natural heritage

5: Show leadership for the Environment

The policies that will make a difference

Political parties should make the following commitments:

Climate change is the world's most profound environmental crisis. New Zealand has one of the highest per-capita greenhouse gas emissions in the developed world. Our emissions are growing faster than any other developed country. New Zealand has to show leadership on climate change to retain credibility on the world stage. Even with an emissions trading scheme, New Zealand lags behind many developed countries that have committed to unilateral emission reductions of 20% by 2020 and 30% emission reductions if other developed countries match them. New Zealand is not even a fast follower, let alone a leader. New Zealand needs to:

  • Bring all sectors and gases into the Emissions Trading Scheme by January 2011.
  • Ban all new large scale thermal electricity generation
  • Spend $4 billion over five years to 2013 on public and active transport, including rail.
  • Ban new coal mines and fully protect the upper Waimangaroa Valley including Happy Valley.
  • Retain the $1 billion energy efficiency and conservation fund.

New Zealanders highly value clean water for drinking, domestic use, stock water, conservation, recreation and tourism. New Zealand's lakes, rivers and streams are increasingly at risk from inappropriate development, and polluted by agricultural runoff, . Many New Zealanders get sick from swimming in, or drinking from, polluted water. New Zealand needs to:

Introduce a significant charge on nitrogenous fertilisers by 2010 to reduce water pollution.

  • Implement a National Policy Statement by 2010 to clean up New Zealand's rivers, lakes and small waterways and reverse the decline of our freshwater biodiversity by 2020.
  • Implement a moratorium on new water takes for irrigation, including Central Plains Water, until environmental flows are set.
  • Protect all wild and scenic rivers from hydroelectric development by 2011 including the Mokihinui River.
  • Establish national environmental standards by 2010 to clean up all freshwater to swimmable water standards by 2020 and drinking water and food collecting standards by 2030.

The sea is a big part of New Zealanders lives, but our marine environment is being damaged by commercial fishing and threatened by mining. Many of New Zealand's fisheries are in decline and have unacceptable environmental impacts, including the continued bykill of seabirds, marine mammals and other sea life. New Zealand needs to:

  • Create a new oceans agency by January 2011 charged with implementing New Zealand's international obligation to preserve and protect the EEZ and continental shelf.
  • Reform the Fisheries Act by January 2010 to better protect the marine environment and maintain healthy fisheries.
  • Adopt measures by 2010 to reduce bycatch of seabirds, marine mammals and other fish to near zero levels.
  • Protect 10% of each of New Zealand's marine ecological types in marine reserves by 2010 and at least 30% by 2020.
  • Implement Population Management Plans to recover New Zealand sea lion and Hector's and Maui's dolphin populations.

New Zealand has some of the most remarkable natural heritage on the planet: giant flightless parrots, ancient reptiles, rare dolphins, unique plants and stunning landscapes. It underpins New Zealand's clean green reputation and our huge tourism industry. Unfortunately, New Zealand's natural wonders are also amongst the world's most threatened - under attack from climate change, pests, inappropriate development, and intensified primary industry. New Zealand needs to:

  • Double regular pest control on public conservation estate by 2011 including the marine environment.
  • Keep DOC as a core Government department doing integrated conservation management, including coastal and marine conservation and increase baseline funding by at least $100 million per annum.
  • Maintain DOC's conservation advocacy function and ensure that hunting groups do not get control over public conservation land.
  • Increase funding for DOC and community group advocacy under the Resource Management Act and other environmental decision making.
  • Implement a National Policy Statement by 2011 that protects indigenous biodiversity.

New Zealanders deserve good political leadership for the environment. This involves moving away from relying on Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as a measure of our wellbeing to more credible indicators of human and environmental welfare, leading on global issues and keeping New Zealand GE free. New Zealand needs to:

  • Commit to 30% emission reductions by 2020 at the international climate change negotiations and encourage all other developed countries to do the same.
  • Ban the import of products from illegally logged forests by January 2010.
  • Require MFE to lead the development of a Sustainable Development Strategy for New Zealand and to monitor performance through a 'Genuine Progress Indicator', environmental indicators and regular reporting.
  • Keep GE in the lab.
  • Promote the protection of the Ross Sea as an Antarctic Specially Protected Area.







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Vote for the Environment is brought to you by Forest & Bird, Greenpeace and ECO

Authorised by Elizabeth Lee, 28 Croydon Street, Karori, Wellington


Vote for the environment Charter 2008