Budget’s Environmental Commitments Welcome
- Richie Cosgrove
Fish and Game is welcoming the budget, saying it signals a solid intention to turn around years of environmental degradation.
Alongside big boosts to education and health spending, conservation and the environment are also getting significant extra funding.
Fish & Game chief executive Martin Taylor says the extra money is well overdue.
“This is a forward thinking budget which will start to address some of the major environmental and conservation issues this country is now facing,” Mr Taylor says.
“The $181 million for the Department of Conservation is very welcome, particularly the extra money for freshwater biodiversity initiatives and to better protect the Mackenzie Country. This will make a difference to DoC being able to tackle such major challenges.”
Martin Taylor says the government move to strengthen Resource Management Act compliance is also significant.
“The RMA is there to protect the environment but for too long, regional councils in particular have failed their communities by not properly or adequately enforcing it,” Mr Taylor says.
“The government’s move to establish a new unit to ensure the RMA is being complied with is good news, particularly that local government is consistent in its application of the law.
“It not only puts local government on notice, but it also means Kiwis should see an improvement in their environment, including being able to once again swim in their rivers without the fear of getting sick,” he says.
“It is high time regional councils lifted their game and properly protected the environment as the law requires them to do.”
Fish & Game says the environment will also benefit from the government’s announcement of extra funding for the Sustainable Farming Fund and to improve Overseer as a farm management tool.
“The sustained assault on the environment in recent years has hurt the environment and hurt New Zealand. Today’s announcement of extra money to help fix that damage is a big step forward and very welcome,” Martin Taylor says.
“Farmers need tools like Overseer to be fit for the vital job they are required to do. Any improvement I n those tools which allows quicker adoption of environmentally friendly farming practices is good news,” he says.