The government revealed this week that the topics of this year's national environmental report will exclude New Zealand's greenhouse gas emissions.

Under the Environmental Reporting Bill, topics are currently going to be vetted by the Minister for the Environment and the Minister for Statistics. They are intended to give an accurate picture of the state of our environment.

But Green Party co-leader Russel Norman says that omitting carbon emissions from the collated information means the government is ignoring New Zealand's contribution to climate change.

He argues an independent body should be responsible for the report, rather than a government which naturally chooses which areas it wants to focus on. The latter looks set to become the case.


"Obviously the idea behind that is the National Party gets to control what's in the environmental report, and unsurprisingly one of the topics that wasn't chosen to be in New Zealand's environment report was greenhouse gas emissions."

He says while statistics on carbon emissions are reported elsewhere, it cannot be expected that the current government will take them into account, given that the ministers have the ability to "pick and choose" what the national environmental report focuses on.

"A much better system is having an independent person, like the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, who doesn't report to the Government but reports to Parliament, and who is appointed for five years," says Dr Norman. "The National Party doesn't want that, because the commissioner might say the wrong thing."

At the moment, indicators on greenhouse gas emissions show there has been a 20 percent increase in NET emissions under this government. Under current policy, here are also projections for a further increase of 48 percent over the next decade.

"When most rational people around the planet are saying we need to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, the government has a set of policies that are accelerating quite rapidly New Zealand's greenhouse gas emissions."

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