(Statement) Green Sense’s response to 2018-19 Budget

(Statement) Green Sense’s response to 2018-19 Budget

In response to the 2018-19 Budget as announced by the government, Green Sense’s response is as followed:

Subsidizing Ocean Park

The government plans to appropriate over $300 million to Ocean Park over the coming few years, while Ocean Park will offer 10,000 free entrance tickets to primary and secondary school students. However, there have been lots of criticisms against Ocean Park. It buys animals from other countries, traps them and forces them to perform – these are not what a proper educator should do. Encouraging students to visit Ocean Park is equal to instilling wrong environmental values and life values to the next generation actively. In face of lots of environmental issues, it is very disappointing to see the government using taxpayers’ money to subsidize such an entity instead of devoting resources to the education system for environmental protection education directly.

Green Bonds

The government intends to issue green bonds and the sums will be credited to the Capital Works Reserve Fund (CWRF) to provide funding for “green public works projects”  of the government. But there is no clear definition of “green public works projects”, and the public can never know what such projects are. The government usually adopts an all-or-nothing approach in seeking funds from LegCo. There are quite some controversial projects in such projects, such as Lung Kwu Tan, Siu Ho Wan and Wang Chau. The environment is thus damaged, and the extent of lawmakers’ supervision over these projects is disproportionate. “Green public works projects” is likely an empty concept, and the funds might eventually be used for more “white elephant” projects.

“One-for-one” replacement for new electric private car; extension of first registration tax concessions

The roadside emission of electric private car is lower than ordinary cars, but they still take up road spaces and cause traffic congestion. In terms of energy efficiency, electric car cannot be compared with public transportation. The government has no measures to force drivers to give up driving or to control car toll growth. This is disappointing in the perspective of improving air pollution and improving traffic efficiency.

Lok Ma Chau loop

The habitat there is valuable. We express our deepest regret as the government insists on developing tech and education facilities with Shenzhen there and damaging the natural environment there.