From the Chair

Suzanne Snively Chair Transparency International New Zealand

Suzanne Snively, Chair Transparency International New Zealand

The Pohutakawa‎ flowers are blooming earlier than ever this year, adding massively to the holiday celebratory atmosphere. The huge trees are covered in perhaps the largest mass of red blossoms in history as a result of rainfall in late November complemented now with the unusually constant and intense sunshine and warmth.

Their abundance and splendour forecasts new possibilities. It has been a perfect balance of rain and sun, timed to maximise the New Zealand Christmas-tree blooms.  

But not perfect for everyone. Farmers are experiencing conditions too dry for growing which is reflected in the prices of traditional holiday foods such as kumara, pumpkin and asparagus.

What will happen when the drought ends – will the rain sink into the ground or will there be flooding? And how will holiday makers fare with all the sun? Is the damage to the ozone layer reducing?  And how clean is the water where they are swim?

While we bask in current lovely weather, the inconvenient truth is that more transparency is required to understand both the immediate and long-term determinants and impact of climate.

Look at California. The western seaboard emerged from years of drought last year with a glorious growing season. And then, everything dried up and the drought came back, sparking massive forest fires.

By ensuring that there is transparency in climate change reporting and in future projections of its impact on state of the environment, policy makers can be genuinely accountable for the factors that shape our future.

New Zealand is number one in many areas including fiscal transparency and public sector transparency.

How can the Government also target being number one in transparency around key environmental performance measures? ‎ 

How can key areas be monitored so that we can all better understand the direction of change in water quality, air quality, quality of the ozone layer and the pace of transformation to renewable energy resources?

Important to all of this is finding ways for mankind’s ability to address climate change. Mike Bennett, CEO of Z Energy, has promised to listen to ideas about reducing dependency on fossil fuels.  Z Energy  is a major winner in recent Deloitte ‎top 200 awards because of the company’s values and strategy.

Can we rely on commercial leaders like Mike to do the right thing, perhaps motivated by monitoring tools that measure the extent of change?

‎Even before war broke out in Syria, there was a major drought. two million of its citizens became refugees leaving in search for economic survival elsewhere.  ‎The subsequent chaos contributed to the outbreak of war.

With the world’s population growing rapidly towards 8 billion, urgency is required to address the requirements of the environment so that the planet can thrive and support its inhabitants – human, plant and animal.

The sooner New Zealand policy makers move towards ranking number one for our measures of environmental transparency, the sooner there can be a pathway forward for a sustainable peace on earth.

As you take time for a well-earned holiday, keep safe and take time to smell the flowers and consider the key areas where environmental transparency is required.

Suzanne Snively, ONZM


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