Urgent: Tell the Govt that air quality matters!

If you are concerned about the fact that 49% of New Zealanders live in areas where the quality of the air is dangerous because of avoidable particulates – submit by Friday this week on Nick Smith’s proposed changes to air quality standards!

The Government is proposing to lower and delay air quality standards, which will result in lost lives and billions in lost productivity due to health impacts.

Nick Smith claims that these changes will save hundreds of jobs, because the standards as written would force regional councils to decline resource consents to existing and new polluting industry in areas where the air quality breaches the standard. He says that this is about equity – in other words, it’s not fair for industry to not be able to contribute to the poor health and premature deaths of as many people as domestic heating and vehicles currently do.

Now, it is fair enough to recognise that shutting down industry in 2013 will not actually clean up our air or fully address the problem. But lowering and delaying the standards, including removing industry restrictions, also won’t do anything to improve the quality of our air and avoid billions in health costs.

This Government has a habit talking about “balancing the economy and environment”, which they see as a black and white trade off. Either you can have clean air OR jobs, but not both. The Green Party knows this is a false dichotomy – a smart economy will bring us real prosperity, which means jobs that don’t compromise clean air. As my grandmother used to say, you haven’t got anything if you haven’t got your health.

There is a much better way to address the problem of requiring that consents be declined without just giving industry free rein to pollute for another 5+ years. Option 3 considered in the discussion document would enable the implementation of the standard in 2013, while creating a mechanism for polluting industries to pay their fair share through an offset scheme that would reduce emissions from home heating and vehicles.

This is not the preferred option, although there is no argument in the discussion document to explain why it doesn’t meet the policy objectives – namely cleaning up our air in a fair and equitable manner, without unduly costing jobs.

You can voice your concern about the changes proposed in the discussion document by submitting ASAP. Your submission must be received by the Ministry for the Environment by 5pm Friday 9 July.

The Ministry for the Environment has provided a (pretty lame) online submission form that allows you to make some simple limited comments on the proposal. Otherwise you can send more detailed comments by hard copy to the Ministry for the Environment.

If you need background information or ideas on what to address in your submission, you can read Green Party MP David Clendon’s submission or our submission guide.

The main point to make is that you do not support lowering or delaying the standards, which both of the preferred options do.  We recommend you support the possibility of Option 3, which retains the standard but introduces additional flexibility for regional councils and industry.

23 Comments Posted

  1. Robert & Kahikatea I am just curious to know why Mr. Ewan-Street was disatisfied with the party that’s all.

    On the other end of the scale I would like to know why Sue Bradford left.

    Hey I am omly asking questions!!!

  2. I’ve studied the little green chap for many years and learned that only by narrowing one’s mind so that it would fit inside the head of a small, soft-bodied insect, can good single-sentence observations be made.

  3. others have noted that key had a blue-green aura/persona …

    …in the run-up to the election……

    …but that this has since faded away/disappeared…

    ..however it is predicted to return…for a few months..

    ..around about this time next year…


  4. “…‘Do blue-greens even exist? …”

    some say..that on a full moon…

    ..you can hear them howling….

    ..from the decks of their yachts…


  5. Air Quality in Nz matter even more – as acid rains from the Gulf oil spill are destroying crops – drought in India doing the same, heat in the US, lack of rain in Syria.
    And how will big oil recoup their gulf oil ‘spill’ losses?
    Prices are going up of course….guess that includes food, unless of course Nz Govt. gets real about looking after Nz’s people.

  6. Well I for one seem to sleep quite well but I doubt my mattress is stuffed with kakapo feathers
    I think the current bluegreen initiatives are more focused on tertiary business areas to become eco friendly, carbon positive because that is easy to do and quite easy to convince employers to put a paper recycling bin next to the copy machines at workplaces. The big stuff generally will remain in the hands of whatever the govt decides is best, like when Labour were in power, possibly the greens will be granted some of that big stuff as such when they enter government at whatever point in the future that may be but simply green issues take a backseat alot when it comes to policy, thats why there is a 9 MP strong green party in the house and a 18 strong bluegreen parliamentary caucus (presumably at least 1/3 actually believe in such values properly), Labour presumably has a similar group. These groups push for the green issues and whether they are accepted into laws and regulations is really up to the govt and/or parliament, MPs can cross floors but they won’t over issues that won’t guarantee them their seat at the next election without the main party’s backing

    hey! why don’t we buy some big fans to wave/blow the bad air away…oh wait, that’ll require electricity..

  7. Drakula: ‘Do blue-greens even exist? Well a few years ago there was a Green MP Mr. Streat who left the Greens to join the National Party.

    I wonder what happened to him?’

    I don’t think I’m at liberty to answer that question.

  8. Hue are you talking about?
    I met Mr Ewen-Street at the Bluegreen’s AGM at Te Anau.
    He seemed quite a nice fellow, but I felt very sorry for him in that shark tank.


    Do blue-greens even exist? Well a few years ago there was a Green MP Mr. Streat who left the Greens to join the National Party.

    I wonder what happened to him?

  10. Do the blue greens even exist?
    I sent an email to them once and it just seemed to disappear into neverland.
    Is John Key Peter Pan?
    Is Nick Smith a “lost boy”?

  11. “..”..How do the Bluegreens sleep at night?..”


    they lie on mattresses made of money…and baby kiwi fluff/feathers..


  12. The ones who suffer most from dangerous air are young children and elderly. These groups do not constitute high value spending according to this government’s priorities.

  13. How do the Bluegreens sleep at night?
    Nanny Key croons sweet nothings and pretty promises to them and they just drift away to Neverland, a place where everything is blue, powder-puff blue, little-boy-blue come blow your …snore

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