One of New Zealand's most prestigious conservation and environment awards ceremonies won't happen this year, for the second year running, because the government can't get its act together sufficiently to fund it according to National MP Sarah Dowie.
"The Green Ribbon Awards were first held in 1980, and have long played an important role in celebrating the outstanding contributions by individuals, communities and organisations to protect and manage New Zealand's environment. National recognised their value, and strengthened the awards in 2015," Ms Dowie said.
"In 2017 Environment Minister David Parker and Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage oversaw a change of format, one that had worked successfully for more than 25 years. Since then the Ministry for the Environment website tells visitors 'We're taking a break to make Green Ribbon Awards even better.'
"Two years later and there is little progress to speak of. Mr Parker's response to written questions shows both departments are in fact mulling over whether they can fund it within current budget priorities.
"Communities and volunteers are at the heart of conservation in this country," she added. "National believes it's important to celebrate those who are excelling, and give them something to aspire to. This is a real shame."