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TRC queries Internet Party enviro policies

ISOBEL EWING
Last updated 05:00 15/07/2014

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The Internet Party's environmental policy is grounded in emotion, not science, the Taranaki Regional Council says.

The Internet Party has released its final environmental policy which includes a call for moratoriums on fracking, landfarming and deep sea drilling.

The party claims the direct safety risks of these industries have not been adequately investigated or managed.

TRC chief executive Basil Chamberlain said the policy was not backed up by facts.

"There's no rational basis for it, either here or overseas," Chamberlain said. "I'm talking hundreds of thousands of wells."

Party leader Laila Harre said oil and gas practices that held a genuine scientific concern, as outlined by Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Dr Jan Wright in her report, should be halted.

For example, New Zealand could not afford to put systems in place to address a deep sea drilling disaster, she said.

Chamberlain said the PCE did not identify any actual problems in the oil and gas industry. "There are some issues of risk management. We will be addressing these in response to that report."

Harre said the long-term cost of sticking your head in the sand about environmental issues could be catastrophic.

"What's costly is ignoring the challenges the world faces in terms of climate change, the challenge New Zealand faces in terms of enhancing our local environment and the challenge of developing New Zealand from fossil fuels to renewable and sustainable energy."

The draft environmental policy was formulated by the party leaders with the aid of expert advice, then put online where 300 party members submitted, Harre said. It was a democratic process that showed how the internet could be used to engage the public in policy debate.

The Internet Party proposed to replace the Emissions Trading Scheme with an emissions levy.

Part of the net tax revenue would help compensate lowest income families for the increased costs and part would be invested in the transition from fossil fuels, Harre said. "From the point of view of higher income families, it's much better for the rest of the tax resource to be used to ensure the transition that will be necessary so that it doesn't cost jobs."

Chief executive of Venture Taranaki Stuart Trundle said Taranaki had the expertise and infrastructure in place to diversify from fossil fuels.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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