NGOs urge a green COVID-19 recovery
Environmental groups from across New Zealand have written to the Prime Minister urging the Government to restore Aotearoa in the economic recovery after lockdown.
Forest & Bird, Greenpeace, WWF-New Zealand, Generation Zero, EDS and Ecologic sent the letter to Jacinda Ardern calling on the Government to transform the New Zealand economy to tackle climate change, save native species, improve freshwater quality, and restore our oceans.
The letter urges Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to invest in projects and new jobs that build resilience against future shocks and transform the economy into one that looks after both people and nature.
Proposals from the non-government organisations aim to transform the energy and transport sectors, improve water quality, protect biodiversity, transform fisheries, and undertake large scale protection and restoration of natural ecosystems.
Much of this work is job-rich, practical, able to be rolled out in the regions, and is suitable for redeploying many of the workers whose jobs are at risk, including tradespeople and workers in the tourism, fisheries and forestry sectors.
Kevin Hague, Chief Executive of Forest & Bird (phone 027 291 7628) (media contact Laura Keown 022 024 5340) says:
“We need nature; our incredible wild places and native animals are what makes us who we are as New Zealanders, and what our economy and wellbeing depends on. Right now, nature needs us to plan a recovery that takes better care of what matters most. We need a healthy, cared for environment to have healthy and cared for people.”
Russel Norman, Executive Director of Greenpeace NZ (phone 027 458 5181) says:
“Now is our chance to transform our economy and society so that it regenerates critical ecosystems, improves wellbeing and drives changes in lifestyle that promote positive environmental and health outcomes.”
Livia Esterhazy, CEO of WWF-New Zealand (media contact Caroline Hall Bruner 021 550 710) says:
"This pandemic is a tragic reminder that our world is out of balance. Science shows the loss of biodiversity and habitats are linked to increases in disease and other imbalances. The reset button has been pushed and now is our opportunity for a brighter, stronger future in which people do live in harmony with nature. This will happen if we make nature a priority."
Lisa McLaren, spokesperson for Generation Zero (phone 027 405 3218) says:
“The same system that is hurting people in the face of the virus is simultaneously causing and increasing the human impacts of climate change. We call on the government to ensure that the response to both crises sees the articles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi honored and upheld. We also urge them to guarantee that our most marginalised groups, who will be disproportionately affected by both COVID-19 and climate change, are at the forefront of designing and receiving the assistance they deserve.“
Gary Taylor, CEO of Environmental Defence Society (phone 09 810 9594) says:
“It’s clear to me that government is going to be a bigger player in the New Zealand economy and a challenge for it will be to follow an approvals process that maintains and improves outcomes and protects environmental bottom lines. We are well down the track of nailing improved resource management laws and should continue that work apace.”
Guy Salmon, Executive Director of Ecologic (Phone 021 548 336) says:
“After Covid-19, what we need is not just an old-fashioned economic stimulus. We need investment in new, foresighted patterns of economic development and environmental security. We are in a risky world of infectious diseases, uncontrolled climate change, and biosecurity breakdown.”
Find the joint letter to the Prime Minister here.