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Labour Left A Hole In My Budget - Nick Smith

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Nick Smith
Nick Smith

Wellington, March 12 NZPA - Environment Minister Nick Smith says the previous government left a $26 million hole in his ministry's budget and he had to consider priorities when he scrapped or cut back five of its programmes.

Dr Smith has faced severe criticism from Labour and the Greens for ending carbon-saving and recycling programmes but in a statement explaining why he did it he was far from apologetic.

"This government's priority is to invest in frontline services that really matter for New Zealanders, not expensive slogans," he said.

"The Carbon Neutral Public Service (programme) was just a cooked-up feel-good slogan -- its only achievement was to cost millions of dollars."

Dr Smith said since the programme was launched, emissions from the Ministry for the Environment increased from 656 tonnes in 2005/06 to 766 tonnes in 2007/08.

He said he scrapped the Bioethics Council because other government agencies were doing much the same work.

The Recycling in Public Places initiative was a three-year programme that would now end a year earlier -- on June 30 this year.

Public waste recycling would continue and would be funded from the levy under the Waste Minimisation Act.

The previous government cut the ministry's funding, but Labour is still criticising National for ending the programmes.

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