Monday, October 29, 2012

Censoring the environment

One of the things we've learned about National is that they really don't like the government publishing information they don't want to hear. In 2011 they shitcanned MSD's Social Report - an annual compilation of key social statistics - because it was about to start showing the effects of their policies on the poor. And now they seem to have done the same to MfE's five-yearly State of the Environment:

The Government is stopping the five-yearly State of the Environment report.

Put together by the Ministry of the Environment, the report is the largest stock-take of trends relating to land, water, air, plants and animals.

The next report was expected in December, but the Government has decided instead to look at the basic data for each area.

No reason has been given, but its hard not to see a connection with a recent report using State of the Environment data, showing that 52% of our rivers were toxic, and only 20% of them clean - reminding everyone of National's failure to protect our environment.

And the irony here is that one of National's big ideas in the 2008 and 2011 election campaigns (e.g. here, p. 5) was for annual independent environmental reporting. Strangely in their four years in power they've taken very few steps to actually doing it, despite Nick Smith having had the legislation drafted (and repeatedly put up as a member's bill) since 2007. And I guess with this move it really won't be happening now.