OECD: Environmental protection vital for future growth
The latest OECD Environmental Performance Review 2017 urges policy-makers to protect New Zealand’s key economic asset: its natural environment. The report warns that, while New Zealanders currently enjoy a good environmental quality of life, cracks are beginning to appear in the growth model which, if left unchecked, could lay waste to future prospects.
According to the report, pressure on New Zealand’s growth model stems from rising greenhouse gas emissions (primarily from agriculture and cars), declining freshwater quality and availability, rapid biodiversity loss and persistent bottlenecks in transport, waste and waste water treatment infrastructure.
New Zealand’s growth model is approaching its environmental limits, say the report’s authors. The report notes that while exports and construction have accelerated New Zealand’s economic growth ahead of the OECD’s as a whole since 2000, rapid population growth linked to immigration flows has increased housing shortages and costs in major cities. Meanwhile, income inequalities and poverty rates have risen, and disparities persist in health and education.
The OECD Environmental Performance Review sets out no fewer than 50 recommendations for improving environmental performance, governance and management; stimulating green economy growth; managing NZ’z fresh water resource; and achieving sustainable urban development.
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