While the leaders of the two main parties were
duking it out in Christchurch last night, the Dunedin North
candidates were showing off their environmental credentials.
National list MP Michael Woodhouse presented a lone figure at
the forum at Otago Museum last night as he defended the
Government's environmental record in the face of an almost
united front from the other candidates.
In the face of criticism from all sides, Mr Woodhouse said
the National Government had done a good job on the
environment in what were ''difficult times''.
After accidentally ripping his speech notes in half, Dunedin
North Labour MP David Clark told the audience of about 100
that a Labour-led government would strengthen the emissions
trading scheme and rivers being safe enough for swimming
would be its starting point for water quality.
The environment would be a high priority for a Labour-led
''If you don't have an environment, you don't have an
He stressed there was a united front on the environment among
the major opposition parties, with the only disagreements
being about ''how to get there''.
''We are ready to work together when this Government is gone
on September the 20th,'' he said.
That sentiment was shared by Green Party co-leader Metiria
''Amongst those of us on the left side of the spectrum there
is much greater commonality in our environmental positions
than there has ever been.''
Like Labour, the Green Party was promising to introduce water
standards, so rivers were ''clean enough for swimming''.
One of its points of difference from Labour was it was
pushing for a carbon tax, rather than an emissions trading
The cornerstone of its ''beach protection plan'' was to
prohibit deep sea oil drilling.
''There are no deep sea oil wells in New Zealand right now,
so now's a good time to make sure there are never any in New
Mr Woodhouse accepted not everyone would be happy with
National's record on the environment, but it had done a good
job in difficult times.
''I think we have done a very strong amount of work in the
Under Labour, large-scale coal fired power stations were
consented, but under the National Government none had been.
There was no management of the country's fresh waters under
Labour, while National had introduced water quality bottom
lines, which were a ''very good start''.
Conservative candidate Jonathan Daley said it would remedy
the unnecessary red tape caused by the Resource Management
Act and seek business-led - as opposed to academic-led -
advancements, as the country faced a future when ''oil
reliance becomes obsolete''.
Internet Party candidate Rob Stewart shared similar ideas to
other parties on the left, but focused on technological
solutions, such as ''smart houses'' and better internet
connectivity, as a way of reducing carbon emissions.