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Goff recommends steps towards better environment

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Auckland, September 17, 2016

Mayoral candidate Phil Goff today released the second part of his environmental policy which focuses on restoring the health of Auckland’s harbours and the Hauraki Gulf, reducing plastic bag use, and reducing emissions through promoting electric vehicles.

Today’s policy announcement builds on the first leg of Phil Goff’s environmental policy to coordinate the planting of an extra one million trees and shrubs over the next three years.

“Auckland’s harbours are deteriorating in water quality and biodiversity. For the sake of our and future generations, we need to reverse that trend and restore and preserve the health of the Hauraki Gulf and our harbours,” said Phil Goff.

“With snapper numbers reduced to 19 percent of original stock, we need to restore fish stocks to sustainable levels and stop the damage in the Gulf caused by fishing practices like bottom trawling. We also need to stop sedimentation of our harbours and waterways. The Million Trees policy, through planting along streams, creeks, rivers and coastal areas will help improve the quality of waters.

Zero Waste goal

“Auckland needs new initiatives to achieve its aspirational goal of zero waste to landfill by 2040, set out in Auckland Council’s Waste Management and Minimisation Plan.

“Aucklanders use hundreds of millions of plastic bags each year. They are used on average for 12 minutes before they enter the waste stream as non-biodegradable rubbish.

“Last year the United Kingdom introduced an equivalent 10 cents charge on all plastic bags used in supermarkets (with exceptions for some goods such as meat, fish and vegetables). The result was an 85 percent reduction in plastic bag use. This is replicated in cities around the world which have taken this action. We need to do the same.

“Charging for plastic bags cannot be introduced through bylaws. As Mayor, I will work with MPs to promote change through a Local Bill in Parliament. Waiheke Island with its new Countdown supermarket is already leading the way with requiring reusable or compostable bags.

“Climate change is the most pressing environmental challenge facing the world today. With more than a third of the country’s population Auckland needs to play its part.

A Million Trees

“The planting of a million trees will reduce net emissions through creating a carbon sink. Speeding up conversion of our car and bus fleets to be electric is another effective way to reduce emissions. Council should lead the process by progressively converting its own 800 car fleet including the mayoral car. It should also be pushing for an electric rather than diesel bus fleet.

“Auckland will also need to start considering long term adaptions necessary to cope with rising sea levels.

“Auckland enjoys a stunning environment. We need to ensure we protect and sustain it particularly in view of our rapid population increase,” said Phil Goff.

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Photo Caption:

Phil Goff

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