A new political party, Sustainable New Zealand, has announced it's launch today with a focus on the environment.
The party is pledging "to do everything humanly possible" to stop extinctions, restore New Zealand's natural environment and bring people together.
Leader of the party Vernon Tava said the "full-time environment party" would tackle issues including polluted waterways, biodiversity loss and climate change.
"New Zealanders love our environment; for all of us, protection and enjoyment of nature is a core Kiwi value," he said at a launch event at Wellington's Zealandia Ecosanctuary today.
"Until now, if you have wanted to vote for the environment, you have had to support a party that have been a clearing house for New Zealand’s left-of-Labour activist movements, often putting social justice issues ahead of protecting the environment.
"This has excluded most of us who genuinely care about our environment but don’t accept that this requires a revolutionary overturning of our society and economic system."
Mr Tava said the party would work with either major party to "get the best deal for the environment".
"Sustainable New Zealand is neither left nor right, but out in front. We are focused on sustainability. That means we will make the best decisions for our future. We will consider what is good for tomorrow, not just take the easy option to win a political game in the immediate term."
At the launch event, Mr Tava outlined several policies:
- An economic policy with an approach to work with businesses and industries, like the farming sector, to innovate and increase productivity
- A conservation policy to protect New Zealand's natural environment
- A science policy, meaning decisions will be based of scientific evidence and following their saying "denial is dumb"
"We will invest in science. Starting with an extra 60 million dollars every year to the National Science Challenges," Mr Tava announced.
"We will listen to scientists on the science. But we are not going to be persuaded by the political views of a vociferous few who know little to nothing about political economy. We will not be persuaded by moral panic because panic policy is bad policy."
Mr Tava called out the Governments billion trees scheme as an example of such panic policy.
"Not because planting trees is a bad idea," he explained. "But because throwing money at a problem without proper controls, checks and balances is bad policy."
In his opening address, Mr Tava also recognised the work of Mike Hall - the party's first secretary and former NZ Fire and Emergency national commander - who died before the launch. His partner Lynda attended the launch event.