Dame Jan Wright says she is one of many ‘doing their bit’ for the environment

Dame Jan Wright says she is one of many ‘doing their bit’ for the environment

Dame Jan Wright says she is one of many ‘doing their bit’ for the environment

Jan Wright studied in the US before returning to New Zealand to work in public policy.
Photo: Supplied

The former Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Dr Jan Wright is being honored for her work advocating for the environment.

She has been appointed a dame in this year’s New Year’s Honors list.

She served two terms as commissioner from 2007 until 2017.

Dame Jan said after studying energy and resources at the University of California, Berkeley, she returned to Aotearoa keen to have a direct influence on what happened in the country, which led her into public policy.

“I did love the job all that time; you know it was a big job and a hard job but you have to remember there are thousands of New Zealanders out there who are doing their bit for the environment and conservation, working away killing pests or clearing weeds or whatever they’re doing and they’re not getting awards like this generally.

“There are many of us doing our thing for the environment in this country.”

Dame Jan built a reputation for her methodical approach, robust independent advice, and as a skilful public communicator during the ten years she spent in the role.

She delivered reports on freshwater quality, climate change and the use of 1080 Along with advice on fracking, agricultural emissions and the plight of the longfin eel.

Her 2011 report Evaluating the use of 1080: Predators, poisons and silent forests has been a continuing reference in the debate around the use of the pesticide 1080.

She has delivered two major reports on the consequences of climate change. Dame Jan said while the world was facing massive issues like climate change, it was important to remain hopeful otherwise it was hard to be useful.

She has previously been chair of Land Transport New Zealand and Transfund New Zealand and has been a board member for Transit New Zealand, ACC, the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority and the Independent Biotechnology Advisory Council.

Dame Jan chairs the Te Manahuna Aoraki conservation project, a nationally significant biodiversity project in Aoraki National Park and the upper Mackenzie Basin.

She was made a companion of the Royal Society of New Zealand, in 2015 and was awarded a New Zealand 1990 Commemoration Medal.

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