Thursday, August 08, 2013

National's on again, off-again environment report

When National ran for election in 2008 and 2011, one of their core environmental policies (besides gutting the RMA) was for regular, independent environmental monitoring, through a beefed-up version of MfE's 5-yearly State of the Environment report. But despite being elected in 2008, they did nothing about this promise. Then, in 2012, they shitcanned the idea and dumped existing comprehensive reporting in favour of occasional, topic-specific "report cards". But now its back:

Environment Minister Amy Adams has today announced that the Government will legislate for independent environmental reporting that will enhance New Zealanders’ understanding about the state of our environment.

The Government will this year introduce an Environmental Reporting Bill that mandates the provision of comprehensive environmental information for New Zealanders in a way that is easy to understand, independent and relevant.

I guess they figured out how to write the law to prevent reporting on the effects of dairy intensification on our waterways...

But snark aside, this is a good idea, and one I would have liked to see National implement much sooner. We need to see what our policies are doing, so we can know whether they are effective or harmful.

Meanwhile, lest we forget: we also used to have comprehensive, annual reporting of key social indicators. National shitcanned that too, to bury the evidence of the harmful social effects of its policies. The same principle that applies to environmental reporting applies here. But somehow, I think National is even less interested in knowing what its doing to us through unemployment and inequality than it is on the environment...