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NZ 'dropping ball' - environment commissioner

Tuesday 29 May 2012 6:44a.m.

NZ 'dropping ball' - enviro commissioner

Successive governments have "dropped the ball" on the environment and New Zealand's economic future will be harmed unless progress is made, parliament's watchdog says.

Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Jan Wright is going against the Government's opinion that New Zealand's record isn't too bad.

She's welcoming a World Wildlife Fund report which says the country hasn't met any of the climate change commitments it agreed to at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit.

"New Zealand's economy is strongly reliant on our 'clean and green' image and our environmental record will only become economically more important in the future," she said.

"We are dropping the ball on the environment, this is a failure of successive governments and bodes badly not just for the future of our environment but for the future of our economy."

Prime Minister John Key doesn't believe other countries are meeting their climate change obligations any better than New Zealand.

"I think New Zealand's record is pretty good," he said yesterday.

"I'd be interested to read the reports on other countries - it's hard to believe they're doing better than New Zealand."

The report says New Zealand hasn't met any of its targets during the last 20 years and there's been a 20 percent rise in emissions and a quadrupling in the number of threatened species.


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