Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Key Messages for 2012

This is the Year of Waste so TIS plans to tackle some important infrastructure questions in the media this year. They are as follows:
Green Economics – a green economy is one that makes it cheaper to live in an environmentally friendly manner and makes it more expensive to degrade the environment. Some ways in which environmentally friendly behavior can be made cheaper is by partially or fully subsidizing green technology (e.g. solar hot water systems), offering low interest loans (e.g. a revolving fund for advanced sewage treatment systems), and keeping environmentally friendly products free from import levies. Conversely, products that are not good for the environment may be taxed. Our Society would like to see the gradual transition to a green economy.
Expenditure on Green Infrastructure - How much does government revenue increase each year and how does that compare with increases in government expenditure on recycling and green infrastructure? This question follows the Tourism Corporation’s announcement that it will adopt a policy to significantly increase visitor arrivals. Te Ipukarea Society has expressed concern that our infrastructure to deal with water, sewage, and solid waste is too far behind current rates of tourism growth to support a substantial increase in visitor arrivals. The counter-argument is that money is needed to put this infrastructure in place. We will question how the government can guarantee that increases in revenue generated by Tourism’s policy will be used to bring our infrastructure up to date.
Visitor Arrivals and The Environment – What number of visitors can we support annually over the next 15-20 years? We will take a look at the capacity of our current infrastructure and what is needed to improve this infrastructure over the next 15-20 years. We will also look at the water consumed and the sewage and solid waste produced under various visitor arrival scenarios.
Container Deposits and Advanced Disposal Fees – How can we make sure all recyclables get recycled and how do we make sure the government has the funds needed to send materials away for recycling? Container Deposits are deposits placed on containers such as glass bottles, aluminium cans, tins and plastic containers which are refunded when people take them back to the retailer. Advanced Disposal Fees are fees included in the purchase price of a good, which are used to pay for their recycling afterwards. We will enlighten the community about the advantages and disadvantages of these fees.
Alternative Development Indicators – What are we aiming to achieve as a society? Do we just want to get rich? Or do we want to be happy? The traditional method of measuring development progress is to use Gross Domestic Product (GDP). GDP measures economic growth by adding up the value of all goods and services produced within the country in say, a year. If GDP increases then we are considered to be doing well. The economy is growing and therefore it is assumed that everyone is happier this year, than last year. Is this an adequate measure of development progress? There are a variety of alternative development indicators that may be used and we will explore these.

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