National scraps crucial environmental report

By Kate Shuttleworth

Green Party MP Eugenie Sage says National's move away from the comprehensive five-year report will keep New Zealanders in the dark about the environmental problems. Photo / Simon Baker
Green Party MP Eugenie Sage says National's move away from the comprehensive five-year report will keep New Zealanders in the dark about the environmental problems. Photo / Simon Baker

The Government will not produce a five-yearly State of the Environment Report this year.

Instead, it will release individual report cards on an occasional basis.

The change was revealed in an answer to a parliamentary question from the Green Party, and was not publicly notified.

Green Party environment spokeswoman Eugenie Sage said the move away from the comprehensive five-year report will keep New Zealanders in the dark about the environmental problems New Zealand faces.

"The Government did not want people to know how it has undermined the environment with its pro-irrigation, anti-climate, and pro-mining policies."

Ms Sage said individual report cards would lack the detail a national level report would provide.

"People who want to know what is going on will have to trawl through individual report cards and hope to find the most up-to-date accurate information instead of being able to access a single comprehensive document.

"We need accurate, reliable and regular national level reporting to highlight environmental pressure points and priorities for action.

State of the Environment Reports set benchmarks for the overall health and quality of New Zealand's environment, and allow us to measure how we are doing, she said.

Ms Sage said the new report cards would omit parts of New Zealand.

"There is no freshwater data from regions such as West Coast, Tasman, Auckland in the recent MFE report cards on recreational water quality," said Ms Sage.

Minister for the Environment Amy Adams said the Government had raised the standards of environmental reporting by introducing regular report cards.

"Waiting five years to measure the state of our environment might be good enough for the opposition parties but not this Government.

"The Environment Ministry traces performance through the National Environment Report. This programme, which provides report cards on 22 core environmental initiatives, ensures that key indicators are reported using quality data in a timely, efficient manner, rather than arbitrarily every five years.

Ms Adams said the indicator reports cover the same information as a state of the environment report but were in a series of reports released as they came out, rather than one every five years.

- APNZ

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