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Published: 2002-08-22 00:00:00

Environment Waikato chairman Neil Clarke will join 65,000 community leaders and heads of state at the Earth Summit in Johannesburg next week.

Mr Clarke, who is the Local Government New Zealand spokesman for the environment, is one of a small New Zealand representative team which includes Waitakere mayor Bob Harvey and Local Government New Zealand chief executive Peter Winder led by Environment Minister Marian Hobbs. Prime Minister Helen Clarke will also attend the final sessions for leaders.

The summit has attracted delegates from 174 countries to spend a week talking about serious environmental issues and economic development in an effort to halt trends towards exhausting the earth’s resources.

Amongst the many topics to be discussed are clean water, waste, poverty, biodiversity, economic and cultural issues.

“This includes an emphasis on the triple bottom line – economic, social and environmental results – and getting a balance for all of these.”

Mr Clarke said his delegation would be outlining the progress which New Zealand’s local government had made on some of these issues since the Rio Earth Summit 10 years ago.

“On our return I hope that the experience will mean this Region can play its part in working towards achieving some of the requirements under the new Local Government Act, which has a strong focus on sustainability.”