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Dr Jan Wright Retires In October

If ever there was a public servant who deserved our thanks and appreciation, it is Dr Jan Wright - Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment who retires in October..

May she become a Dame, together with an appropriate Order of NZ to follow.

Were you aware that Dr Wright, who has been ten years in that role, is one of only three officers of Parliament who along with the Auditor General, and the Ombudsman answers only to Parliament, and is independent of the Government of the Day? She carries out investigations on environmental topics of her own choosing, and makes recommendations for change that may be unpopular with, but beyond the reach of the often grubby hands of the ruling party.

She, along with her staff can take as long as she likes to undertake her investigations because they are working to their own timetable - often longer than she would like, but getting it right is paramount. Hence the reluctance of many who would otherwise like to tear her reports apart to raise anything other than anguished squeals, as in the case of her report on 1080 which basically established that there is no alternative to its use. She recently acknowledge that she was in a unique position to produce this report as no Party would otherwise have had the guts to sponsor it - too many votes in it!

The report produced on sea level rise, and consequent inundation is one that is exercising the collectives mind of central and local governments, with sad to say, little or no progress on just who is responsible for planning and funding amelioration. The incoming Government will be unable to avoid this issue any longer - the consequences are just too great. One can only pray the the second Cat. 5 hurricane in one season - an unprecedented event, that is due to hit Florida this weekend will concentrate a few minds.

Fact : Although hurricanes may not be s direct result of climate change, the higher sea levels that global warning has produced make storm surges more intense.

Dr Wrights last report called for a Climate Change Act to map out action needed to reach  emission reduction targets by 2030 under the Paris Agreement. This crucially needs to be agreed to by all political parties to avoid 'back-sliding,' and 'slipping' of undertakings in response to pressure from vested interests, and we all know who she means in that regard.

Dr Wright hands over to Simon Upton who has returned to the country with impressive additional credentials. May he carry on the good work in a similar manner, and achieve the goals that have already been put in place, along with many others that will be required if we are to avoid a future climate catastrophe.

(I acknowledge the Spring 2017 Forest & Bird story by David Brooks in compiling this post.)



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Reader Comments (1)

Simon Upton was sworn in as Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment for a five-year term on the 16th of October 2017.

Am sure he brings some very impressive knowledge and credentiials along with climate change to the positiion

Also brings knowledge and background of the Coromandel Peninsula
Along with past experience as Minister for the Environment which among may tasks
oversaw the PCP Taskforce.

Yes will have a wealth of knowledge in his new position

November 10, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAnne Stewart Ball

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