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New Zealand's green image 'slipping' - lobby group

Published: 9:35AM Monday June 11, 2012 Source: ONE News

New Zealand has a long way to go before it can truly claim the title of the '100% pure' brand it promotes, a new report says.

Lobby group Pure Advantage today released the report, New Zealand's Position in the Green Race, which shows the country lags behind many others in the global race to be environmentally friendly.

Sir Stephen Tindall, a trustee of the group, told TV ONE's Breakfast that even though the country is still ahead of the green curve, we are "slipping".

In a 2006 Yale University survey of green economies, New Zealand was positioned at number one. However, the country has now slipped to 14, Tindall said.

"Our huge dairy industry, our tourist industry, they are all based on perceptions from overseas that we are clean and green," he said.

"If we start to get a reputation for not being that, then consumers around the world will start to vote with their pockets."

The report said the global green economy is worth $6 trillion a year, more than the international defence industry or global aerospace.

Prime Minister John Key said the Government is making an effort to keep New Zealand's reputation.

"The Government has been a very heavy investor in the global greenhouse gas alliance to find answers to methane and nitrate emissions, to reduce our carbon footprint," he said.

"That has a huge impact on the largest export New Zealand has; our agriculture sector."

Green Party co-leader Russel Norman said the report highlights how the country is missing out on "win-win opportunities" to improve economic performance.

"Pure Advantage's report shows that the Government has its head in the sand when it comes to making choices that benefit the plant and our economy."

Norman said while other countries have moved to decarbonise their economies through renewable energy and clean technology, the Government is promoting petroleum extraction and road building.

Tindall said New Zealand has a lot of companies that rely on the clean green image. He used Ice Breaker clothing as an example, who use natural merino wool.

"The imagery that those companies use to sell their products, is all about New Zealand's clean, green environment, and if that gets ruined, then so does their product."

Prime Minister John Key agreed it was important to maintain New Zealand's image.

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