Labour and National fail environmental test

Press release - November 3, 2008
New Zealand’s two biggest political parties have failed the environment test, put to them by two main New Zealand environmental groups.

New Zealand's two biggest political parties have failed the environment test, put to them by two main New Zealand environmental groups.

Greenpeace and ECO (1) surveyed all parties on a range of environmental issues facing the country.

"We asked the political parties to commit to 25 policies that would tackle climate change, clean up New Zealand's rivers, save our oceans, protect natural heritage and exercise environmental leadership.  Both major parties refused to make clear commitments," said ECO spokeswoman Cath Wallace.

 "A Labour-led government may do more for the environment than a National-led one, but, judging by their commitments, the main parties will need the influence of the Maori Party and the Greens if they are to make real progress.

"We were surprised by how poorly both the two major parties scored. Neither seems to have what it takes to keep New Zealand clean and green."

Each of the eight main Parliamentary political parties were asked to confirm their commitment to the 25 environmental policies with a yes or no, and given space to clarify their answers.  Of the seven political parties that responded, only National and Labour refused to answer "yes" or "no".

"National scored abysmally.  They refused to sign up to any of the policies, but they picked up 27% for making some small steps in the right direction.," said Wallace. "Worryingly, along with United Future, National had the worst response of any party on responding to climate change (4/20) and had the weakest approach of any party to cleaning up New Zealand's freshwater (2/20). ACT refused to even respond.

"Labour also refused to commit fully to any of the policies, but their comments on the survey show they're willing to do more than National for the environment.  They scored 45% overall.  Their strongest commitments were in saving our oceans (12/20) and saving New Zealand's natural heritage (12/20). Labour made few commitments to clean up New Zealand's freshwater (5/20) or to show environmental leadership (5/20)

"United Future gained 53%, scoring well on cleaning up New Zealand's freshwater, but did very badly on tackling climate change (4/20) and protecting New Zealand's natural heritage (3/20).

"Jim Anderton's Progressives scored 60%.  Their strongest commitments were on saving the oceans (14/20), protecting New Zealand's natural heritage (17/20) and environmental leadership (14/20).

"New Zealand First and the Maori Party scored far better than expected given their voting record in Parliament, where both parties have opposed environmental legislation.  New Zealand First gained 76% and the Maori Party gained 87%.  Both parties scored well on environmental leadership and the Maori Party scored the best of any party on cleaning up New Zealand's water ways."

"The Greens scored the best of any political party and were the only party to score 20/20 for tackling climate change."


Information on the survey can be downloaded at:

The voting record of political parties over the last 3 years can read here at:

For information on the issues and policies that we used in our survey read:

Vote for the Environment is supported by Greenpeace and ECO.  It is registered as a third party under the Electoral Finance Act 2007.

The response from each party that did respond can also be found on the  website

VVPR info: Kathy Cumming – Greenpeace communications and media - 021 495 216

Notes: (1) ECO (Environment and Conservation Organisations of Aotearoa) is an umbrella group of over 60 environment and conservation organisations in New Zealand. Greenpeace is an independent global campaigning organisation that acts to change attitudes and behaviour, to protect and conserve the environment and to promote peace. Greenpeace has over 50,000 supporters in New Zealand and globally around 3 million people are active supporters.