Friday, August 19, 2011

Taking their time

When National ran for office in 2008, it promised [PDF] to

Introduce a new Environmental Reporting Act requiring independent five-yearly State of the Environment Reports as a new function of the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment.
Of course, no such Act has been introduced. Instead, National has spent its time gutting the RMA, trying to dig up our national parks, and sacking half of the Ministry for the Environment to create a new "Environmental Protection Authority" whose name is an exercise in false advertising. But there's an election coming up, and they have to pretend to care, so after doing nothing for three years the issue of environmental reporting is back on the agenda. The discussion document [PDF] proposes giving the job to the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, and creating a power to regulate to ensure local authorities produce consistent data. These are both good ideas, as is environmental reporting itself; the question is whether National will care enough to actually implement them, or whether they'll still be pushing it in three years' time.