Press Release – New Zealand Labour Party
Brand New Zealand: clean, green and clever Conservation needs to be integrated into our economic future as ‘Brand New Zealand, clean, green and clever’, says Labour’s Conservation spokesperson Ruth Dyson. Launching the party’s policy today Ruth Dyson …
5 November 2011
Brand New Zealand: clean, green and clever
Conservation needs to be integrated into our economic future as ‘Brand New Zealand, clean, green and clever’, says Labour’s Conservation spokesperson Ruth Dyson.
Launching the party’s policy today Ruth Dyson said that the preservation of New Zealand’s unique environment is essential to New Zealand’s identity. It is the basis of our clean green image and the foundation of the economy
“Labour’s conservation policy focuses on three key areas; it builds greater investment in the Department of Conservation (DOC) as our frontline conservation agency, invests in communities and volunteers who support conservation efforts, and preserves and enhances our land, air, water and indigenous wildlife.
“Labour’s strategy is framed around the significant intrinsic, cultural and social value conservation holds for New Zealanders, as well as its function as a key part of our economic infrastructure,” Ruth Dyson said.
“DOC’s role is to promote conservation nationally and advocate for it publicly. This has been significantly weakened under National. Labour will ensure that DOC is elevated to a leading advocacy role and has the resources it needs to actively maintain New Zealand’s biodiversity, including the necessary technical capability to facilitate and implement increased marine protection.
“Labour values community-led conservation. Many ordinary New Zealanders care for forest and wetland biodiversity every day. We must support their enthusiasm and hard work.
“Labour will explore new ways of connecting and enabling community-led conservation, in order to grow grassroots education and participation in conservation projects.
“New Zealanders share a special connection with our land and seas. New Zealand’s network of huts, tracks and marine reserves were significantly improved by the last Labour government and are valued by Labour as assets worthy of strengthening.
“Labour aims to have 30 per cent of our marine area in some form of protection by 2020 – both in the territorial sea (out to 12 nautical miles) and the exclusive economic zone or EEZ (a further 200 nautical miles),” Ruth Dyson said.
“The maintenance and enhancement of our remaining indigenous biodiversity is also critical. We will review the success or otherwise of the New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy in its first ten years and action the results of the review.
“Other initiatives Labour will spearhead include building on water conservation orders, recently undermined by National. Labour will strengthen the National Policy Statement for Renewable Electricity Generation 2011 and restore the primacy of water conservation orders in Canterbury to where they were before National overrode them.
“Labour has always opposed mining on schedule 4 conservation land. Under Labour there will be no mining of national parks. Labour believes that Schedule 4 land should be simplified and strengthened. This would provide greater certainty for all interests,” Ruth Dyson said.
In addition to these foundation policies Labour will:
• Continue to encourage private sector investment in conservation projects;
• Resource weed and integrated pest control on public conservation land to protect threatened species, ecosystems and significant landscapes;
• Promote predator-free island sanctuaries, and be vigilant in protecting them;
• Continue to make additions to land held for public conservation through dedicated funds (e.g. the Nature Heritage Fund);
• Begin a systematic classification of stewardship land;
• Formally investigate adding the Mokihinui river area to Kahurangi National Park;
• Pursue iwi, local government, community and corporate partnerships for conservation projects, reviewing DOC’s role in the Treaty settlement process;
• Encourage private landowners to protect conservation values on their land;
• Reinstate the Enviro-Schools programme;
• Target school-leavers who are contemplating working in the conservation sector;
• Develop new camping grounds as opportunities arise;
• Implement a phase-out of unsustainable fishing methods;
• Prohibit shark finning;
• Recommit to the Antarctic Treaty system, and act as an international advocate for the protection of the Antarctic ecosystem from mineral or other inappropriate exploitation.
“Conservation must enter the national conversation as a critical element for economic development and our clean, green, clever brand,” Ruth Dyson said.