National 'needs 1 out of every 20 Green voters'

If the National Party could win over one out of every 20 people who voted for the Greens at the last election, it would gain power in 2008, National MP Nick Smith said today.

Speaking to the party's lower North Island regional conference in Palmerston North, Dr Smith said the 6822 votes for the Greens at the last election "effectively stopped" National leader Don Brash becoming prime minister.

The Green Party got 5.3 per cent of the vote at the last election, giving it six MPs in Parliament.

"Only 6822 votes saved the Greens from political oblivion last year," Dr Smith said in his speech.

"If we can convince just one in 20 of those Green voters that National is a better bet than the Greens, that alone would be enough, all other things being equal, for National to win in 2008."

Dr Smith said National was exploring some new ideas with the development of environmental policy.

It was producing a "blueprint" on the environment, with a document to go to electorates for discussion.

It was looking at "community conservation".

Current government policy was that the Department of Conservation was the only "deliverer" of nature conservation but National did not believe this approach got the best value for taxpayers.

Some private conservation trusts could do more with taxpayer support.

The Government could establish a contestable fund with communities taking "ownership" of nature conservation.

National was also giving thought to new national parks -- with strong candidates being the kauri forests of Northland at Waipoua, and the Waitakere Ranges.

It wanted tighter emissions standards to clean up the car fleet and get rid of noisy wide-bore exhausts on cars.

Tradeable water rights and tradeable emissions permits were also on the agenda.

Other areas included reform of the Resource Management Act and compensation to landowners for new infrastructure.

Dr Smith also raised instant deportation for those who breached biosecurity laws.

Giving hunters and fishers greater say in managing resources was also being looked at, he said.

- NZPA

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