8 Oct 2010

'More carrots needed' to encourage sustainable business

7:02 pm on 8 October 2010

Business leaders say the Government needs to dish out more carrots and fewer sticks if it wants to encourage companies to be environmentally responsible.

The director general of the Department of Conservation has warned a short-sighted focus on profit is putting New Zealand's long-term prosperity at risk by ruining the environment.

Al Morrison says taxpayers can not be expected to bear the whole burden of New Zealand's environmental problems and is calling on the private sector to play its part in cleaning up the mess, because the economy depends on it.

Mr Morrison told Morning Report on Friday New Zealand needs to balance environmental and economic decision-making.

He says the way the country measures economic prosperity does not take into account economic damage, and this needs to change urgently.

The chief executive of the Council for Sustainable Business Development, Peter Neilson, says the country spends too much time arguing about regulations and does not put enough emphasis on rewarding good companies.

A business group says private management of national parks and user charges could be ways to protect the nation's environmental heritage.

The Business Roundtable says many private sector groups, including iwi, would welcome the chance to help manage the conservation estate.

Its executive director, Roger Kerr, says a lot of commercial activity, such as tourism, already happens on DcC land with positive results for the economy and environment.

Farming view

Federated Farmers says DoC needs a better understanding of the pressures on the agriculture sector.

President Don Nicholson says farmers understand the need to protect the land, but they also have to make a living from it, unlike Mr Morrison.

Mr Nicholson says bureaucracy is destroying farmers' ability to make a living.

He says DoC's idea of using natural resources seems to be shutting down the use of the environment.