Mario de Marco has appealed for past mistakes not to be repeated as the Nationalist Party deputy leader pledged his party's support to a growing movement against a university on virgin land.

Dr de Marco told PN councillors this morning too many mistakes were committed in the past in the name of economic growth and for which the country was now paying the price.

The PN general council closes today with PN leader Simon Busuttil's speech.

Acknowledging people were extremely cynical when political parties spoke in favour of the environment, Dr de Marco urged party members to realise that times have changed and there was a growing green conscience.

Touching on a sore point for many within the PN, Dr de Marco said a few years ago the party had missed the bus on divorce and civil unions because it did not realise how society had changed.

"Today the PN is at another cross roads on how to tackle the environmental aspirations of society. Let us have the courage to do what we believe is right. Let us do this with conviction not convenience. Let us be part of this green movement."

Dr de Marco saluted the creators of a new movement against the the building of outside development zones, mentioning by name former AD chairman Michael Briguglio and thanking him for standing up to be counted.

The movement was born yesterday in the wake of a proposal for the construction of a private university on 90,000 square metres of virgin land at Marsascala.

The PN deputy leader said the party had to stand side by side by this movement to ensure the natural park identified for Zonqor Point as far back as 2006 will not be lost to a sprawling development.

His speech was followed by guest speaker Gianluca Bezzina, the singing doctor who represented Malta at the Eurovision a couple of years ago.

And in what seemed to be a contrast with Dr de Marco's previous call for opening up the PN in a more liberal direction, Dr Bezzina spoke of his concern on an increasingly liberal attitude in society. He urged political parties to do what was right even if it meant losing votes, taking abortion as an example.

A second guest speaker, KSU president Gayle Lynn Callus, spoke on the need for political parties to be honest as he honed in on the proposed university at Marsascala, saying it was wrong for students not to be consulted or informed.

He said it was not right for people to get to know about the plans through NGOs. The university students council has come out against the development on ODZ land.

In an impassioned plea, Mr Callus urged politicians to take note of what young people had to say.

"Young people are not the future, we live in the present. We have much to contribute to society and this not by simply sitting behind party leaders at some mass meeting," Mr Callus said.