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EDS Political Debate

On 13 September, a discussion organised by the Environmental Defence Society revealed party policies for the environment and conservation. Hon David Parker (Labour), Hon James Shaw (Greens), Hon Scott Simpson (National), Hon John Tamihere (Te Pāti Māori) and Simon Court MP (ACT) were questioned by EDS CEO Gary Taylor.

The ACT spokesperson denied there was a climate emergency and said that ACT would repeal the Zero Carbon Act and do away with the Climate Change Commission. He said that ACT supported mining on conservation land and in the ocean. ACT’s resource management policy would essentially rely on the law of nuisance instead of plans to determine land uses and provide little safeguards against biodiversity loss.

Te Pāti Māori President emphasised the need for Māori to be engaged in policy design and the urgent need to sort out rights and interests in freshwater. He was clear that Te Pāti Māori is strong on environmental limits and targets and reinforced the need to consider ways of supporting native afforestation on Māori land. 

National wants to repeal the new resource management laws “before Christmas.” Its agricultural policies did not envisage reversing the direction on freshwater but suggested that some changes were coming. 

The Labour spokesperson brought both the freshwater and resource management reforms to fruition and did not want them to go backwards. On climate change, he said we need to be careful not to rely too much on offsets because we need to reduce our gross emissions. Labour is supportive of indigenous afforestation and biodiversity incentives which their spokesperson said could achieve positive outcomes across biodiversity, water quality and carbon.  

The Greens spokesperson was most progressive on climate policy, including bringing other verifiable means of sequestration into the Emissions Trading Scheme. He also outlined the Greens’ new oceans policy which seeks an Oceans Commission and eventually an Oceans Ministry.

The full replay of the debate can be viewed here (audio starts 16 minutes in) and can be freely used with attribution.

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