We owe it to the environment to get better at reporting on it – Murray Petrie

There are a number of weaknesses in the Environmental Reporting Act, passed in 2015, writes Victoria University of Wellington’s Dr Murray Petrie in the Dominion Post.

An excerpt (read in full):

At the moment, governments get away with long-term “feel good” goals, such as “predator-free by 2050”, without the discipline that comes from being required to publish details of the intended path to the goal and what they are doing now to promote its achievement.

The announced Carbon Zero Bill would set up just this sort of framework with respect to climate change. But (with the exception of fisheries management) it is lacking at central government level for “domestic” environmental outcomes – the outcomes for which we alone as a country are responsible, such as the declining quality of our fresh water or the loss of our unique indigenous bio-diversity.

Finally, environmental policies need to be integrated more effectively into overall government strategy and the annual budget – the government’s single most important statement of its strategies and priorities. If environmental goals and targets are to mean anything, they need to be linked not just to long-term goals, but also to government tax and spending policies in the next 1-3 years.

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