15 Sep 2003

NZ Environment Minister says NZ should take a role in keeping Pacific clean

7:29 am on 15 September 2003

New Zealand's Environment and Aid Minister, Marion Hobbs, says this country needs to take more responsiblity in assisting Pacific Nations to keep their region clean.

The Minister has just returned from a meeting of Pacific Environment Ministers, hosted by the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme in Samoa, where a draft Action Plan for the region was discussed.

She says huge demands are put on Pacific countries to keep their environment clean, but New Zealand and other countries should also take a lead.

"I feel a particular responsibility in these sorts of issues that you can't just heap that on small populations that have other big agenda items too in health and education with out support from us and I don't mean in terms of ...it's just some ownership of the problem..we play in the Pacific, sometimes we bring our rubbish into the Pacific, we certainly have ships going through and yachts going through, we have to have a responsibility for keeping the Pacific clean."