As we enter the new year, the prospect of the coming election looms. The government's performance will be under more scrutiny than usual, and its performance will be weighed. So with that in mind, how has a government whose leader made statements like that about climate change being a generation's nuclear-free moment done by the environment?
RNZ asked a range of experts what they thought. This is part five of a six-part series, concluding with the minister:
- David Parker, Minister for the Environment
Climate Change Iwi Leaders Group chairperson Mike Smith
Mike Smith is suing the government over its "failure" to act fast enough on climate change. His assessment of the government is scathing.
- What's your short assessment on environmental action?
"We're losing ground (and that) would suggest that the government / we are failing to stem the tide of the unfolding environmental crisis."
- What's something you think the government has done well?
"The government's decision to not issue any new permits for oil and gas exploration was achieved by relentless campaigning by Māori communities, ENGOs (environmental non-governmental organisations) for over a decade.
- What's something you think the government has failed to do and dropped the ball on?
"Bringing the Ag sector into the ETS (Emissions Trading Scheme) and giving the Climate Commission teeth to enforce emission targets. Protecting our rivers. Addressing Māori interests in freshwater."
- What's one thing you'd like to see the government achieve before the election?
"Declare a state of emergency in regard to climate issues."
- How does the government's progress on environmental issues stack up?
"I expected the Labour / Greens element of the government to have pushed harder against the political inertia that's characterised government policy and direction in the last decade."
- Is there anything the government is doing (or failing to do) that the public should be more aware of?
"I think that the government should be engaging in a mass education and information drive on climate issues and the need for transformative action therefore embedding the change required in the consciousness of New Zealanders and inoculating the required policies against future changes of government."
- Do you think the government pays enough attention to environmental issues?
"No, and that's why I'm currently suing the government in the High Court for lack of action on climate issues."
- What would you score the coalition out of 10 for its action on environmental issues?