Sustainable New Zealand Party launches with promise of $1b environmental boost

The Sustainable New Zealand Party launched on Sunday with swipes at the Green Party and promises of a $1 billion environmental boost.

Speaking at the event at Wellington's Zealandia Ecosanctuary today, party leader Vernon Tava said it is time for environmental politics to "grow up".

"Until now, if you have wanted to vote for the environment, you have had to support a party that has been a clearinghouse for New Zealand's left-of-Labour activist movements, often putting social justice issues ahead of protecting the environment," he said.

"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."

The former Green party member accused the Greens of "immature environmental politics" - opposing progress, business, technology and science - and said his party would work with either Labour or National to get the best deal for the environment.

Key to this would be securing a billion-dollar funding boost for environmental conservation over the next four years.

"The Government currently invests 0.5 percent of its total budget on conservation. The Sustainable New Zealand Party aims to increase this to 0.75 percent initially and to 1 percent by 2025," Tava said.

"The financial cost of protecting our environment is surprisingly low. The total cost of continued neglect is incalculably high."

This money would go towards initiatives including doubling core funding for Predator Free 2050, waging war on wilding pines and pest plants and increasing Department of Conservation funding by 10 percent.

But there is bad news for rival party New Zealand First. Tava says the money for his environmental projects would come out of Shane Jones' "bloated" provincial growth fund.

On the economic front, Tava announced his party would work with farmers and industry to innovate and to correctly price externalities.

"It's entirely possible to be pro-growth and for the environment because not all economic growth is the same," Tava said.

"We offer voters a future of hope. We provide a real choice to be pro-business and pro-environment. We aim for sustainable economic growth and a flourishing environment."



  • No more extinctions of native species
  • 1 percent of government spending to be on conservation by 2025

Key principles


  • Enhance and restore healthy ecosystems
  • Protect our native plant and animal species from habitat loss and degradation
  • Aim to make 2050 Predator Free
  • Partner with communities and businesses to build a team of 4.7m New Zealanders working together to protect the natural environment
  • Wage war on weeds and wilding conifers
  • Apply the best science and modern technology to advance conservation
  • Support improved on the ground farm management to protect ecosystems
  • Extend the national network of marine protected areas

Specific conservation policy points


  • Provide $1 billion conservation funding boost over four years to restore and enhance our ecosystems.
  • Extend the significant natural areas under active pest management from under 50 percent to 75 percent plus of New Zealand's significant natural ecosystems.
  • Double core funding for Predator Free 2050 to $19m a year.
  • Increase Department of Conservation (DoC) funding to maintain, restore and protect ecosystems, habitats and species by 10 percent or $26.374m a year.
  • Protect areas of high ecological value through purchase or covenant by doubling the Nature Heritage Fund to $12.194m a year.
  • Double the funding for the protection and management of Historic Heritage to $11.62m a year.
  • Increase funding of DoC's Conservation in the Community programme of public
  • education and building conservation partnerships by 10 percent or $3.86m a year.
  • Increase the Crown's contribution to the QEII Trust by 50 percent or $1.706m a year.
  • Fund the SPCA to support responsible cat and dog management at $0.5m a year.
  • Wage war on wilding pines and pest plants by investing an extra $26m a year into the delivery of Regional Council Pest Management Plans - an average of $2m for each Regional Council shifting the burden from the ratepayer to the taxpayer.
  • Spend an extra $6m a year on wallaby control and eradication.
  • Spend $60m more a year on the National Science Challenges to advance new pest-control technologies and ecosystem based management of natural resources.
  • Increase the recently announced Sustainable Land Use Fund by $95m a year for practical advice and support to implement integrated farm management plans.