Friday, December 23, 2011

TIS makes submission to National Sustainable Development Plan

Te Ipukarea Society made a submission on this plan to the Policy & Planning Unit of the Prime Minister’s Office. Overall, the plan has incorporated more green initiatives than in previous national plans, but has not gone far enough. TIS comments were as follows:

1.       There is a need for an indicator of development progress additional to Gross Domestic Product (GDP). GDP is only an indication of economic progress and does not measure our success in terms of our national vision which is “to enjoy the highest quality of life…”.
2.       TIS has not supported seabed mining because we are concerned about the very little information we have about the impact of this activity on the inter-connectedness of our ocean (the precautionary principle). However, if seabed mining was to happen, the country should plan to establish an endowment fund from the proceeds.
3.       TIS recommended that government develop policies to introduce economic incentives for the private sector to minimise impacts on the natural environment. Economic incentives will ensure businesses that meet environmental standards are rewarded and will make it expensive for businesses that pollute and degrade.
4.       We need to re-orientate towards achieving zero waste as our ultimate goal. See For example, indicators may be set at achieving 50% waste reduction within 3 years and 80% waste reduction within 5 years. Also policies can be developed within our National Waste Strategy that ensure incentives for minimising waste production and regulate the importation of phosphate rich detergents and of unnecessary non-biodegradable products such as Styrofoam and plastic crockery and plastic shopping bags. Container deposits are another means of ensuring a higher percentage of recycling (New Zealander’s remember those days when glass bottles were returned to shops for 5 cents).
5.       Economic incentives can be introduced to encourage the importation of energy-efficient vehicles, and discourage the importation of energy-inefficient vehicles. Energy-inefficient vehicles come at a significant economic and environmental cost and typically have large engines that are challenged at low speeds presenting safety issues on our roads.
6.       Incentives can be introduced to encourage shipping that adopts green transportation technology
Incentives can be provided to home-owners to catch rain water from their rooftops in order to increase water storage and protect the coastal environment by reducing storm-water runoff.

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