Green­est Bud­get ever: Shaw

$181m for the Depart­ment of Con­ser­va­tion

The New Zealand Herald - - News - Jamie Mor­ton

The Gov­ern­ment has stumped up the $100m kick-start it promised for a ma­jor new fund to make New Zealand greener. The long-sig­nalled Green In­vest­ment Fund re­ceived one of big­gest en­vi­ron­n­ment spends in what Green Party co-leader and Cli­mate Change Min­is­ter James Shaw boasted was the “green­est Bud­get ever”.

The fund aimed to at­tract bil­lions of dol­lars in pri­vate in­vest­ment to at­tract new jobs and wealth for low-emis­sions projects and busi­nesses, and, af­ter be­ing es­tab­lished later this year, would re­pay the state’s ini­tial cash in­jec­tion.

“In places like Aus­tralia, the UK

Sage said she had been left an “om­nisham­bles” af­ter in­ten­sive de­vel­op­ment had been al­lowed in the re­gion, and cur­rent ef­forts to pre­serve it weren’t work­ing.

Mean­while, $3.1m has been al­lo­cated over four years for a new watch­dog unit to po­lice the Re­source Man­age­ment Act (RMA), which is it­self soon set to be re­formed.

Un­der the RMA, lo­cal au­thor­i­ties are del­e­gated re­spon­si­bil­ity for the ev­ery­day man­age­ment of the en­vi­ron­ment — and en­sur­ing that any growth or de­vel­op­ment hap­pens within the act’s set bot­tom lines.

Yet En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter David Parker said com­pli­ance, mon­i­tor­ing and en­force­ment across coun­cils was “some­what vari­able” and the new unit would en­sure the RMA was heeded.

A fur­ther $15m of fresh op­er­at­ing fund­ing would go to­ward the over-sub­scribed Sus­tain­able Farm­ing Fund, which paired farm­ers and grow­ers up with sci­en­tists, re­searchers, iwi and other part­ners.

Green groups were largely pleased with the Bud­get al­lo­ca­tions, with the En­vi­ron­men­tal De­fence So­ci­ety par­tic­u­larly wel­com­ing the new money for a “chron­i­cally un­der­funded” DOC.

But Green­peace ques­tioned why the Gov­ern­ment was spend­ing $800m each year sub­si­dis­ing green­house gas pol­lu­tion from agri­cul­ture, and not fold­ing the sec­tor into the emis­sions trad­ing scheme.

“That’s $800m a year that could be spent on pro­vid­ing crit­i­cal pub­lic ser­vices for New Zealan­ders, not to men­tion clean­ing up our en­vi­ron­ment and ac­cel­er­at­ing the tran­si­tion to a clean, low-car­bon econ­omy,” its head, Rus­sel Nor­man, said.

For­est and Bird chief ex­ec­u­tive Kevin Hague saw this year’s Bud­get as a good step for­ward.

“For the first time in a long time there’s been a real in­crease in the nat­u­ral her­itage fund, which is the bread and but­ter for DOC’s con­ser­va­tion work,” he said.

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