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The Stealth Dismantling of Environmental Protection

Written By: - Date published: 12:14 pm, March 6th, 2013 - 27 comments
Categories: Conservation, Environment, public services, science, tourism, uncategorized - Tags:

To a first approximation the protection of the environment in this country is managed by two distinct entities; inside the Conservation estate it falls to DoC and outside of that it falls onto the Regional Councils. Under this government both are being slowly dismantled.

Over the last month I’ve had the opportunity to talk extensively with DoC staff on various topics. Some literally trackside, some in their offices and one a very trusted source I’ve known most of my life. All of them related the same story, constant budget cuts and pressure, valued and capable colleagues resigning in disillusionment, and senior staff stretched to manage multiple conservancies. The primary focus is on the tourist dollars, expanding and extracting maximum cash from”The Great Walks” and corporate funding.

When I put it to them that a Department of Conservation is slowly but surely being transformed into a “Department of Tourism” … they all emphatically agree.

Now this does not mean that DoC has yet abandoned all of it’s science goals, high profile species recovery or biodiversity programs. But the long-standing tension in the organisation between the frontline ‘huts and tracks’ recreation oriented people and it’s science people is now a rank capitulation. The science has lost. It’s always the last cab off the rank and everyone in the department knows this. If it’s your career then you can see no future in staying so you leave; and when this calibre of person departs they take decades of specialised, irreplaceable knowledge with them.

This is not to denigrate in any fashion the excellent work being done on the tourism/recreation side. Sure there’s always controversial stuff to pick over, but overall I’m pretty supportive of the work that is being done in this area. But however worthwhile this work is, much of it is not conservation, it’s tourism oriented. And in the end it’s not too hard to envisage the day when the right wing starts asking “why does the government need to own a tourism business?”…. and then demand that it all be sold.

Outside of the Conservation estate we have another story slowly unfolding under the radar. Originally the Regional Councils were created to manage a range of environmental and public service tasks that were naturally regional and catchment based. Here is typical list of environmental services they provide. Within a regional council the environmental division, while it may not always be the largest in terms of budget, is nonetheless central to the purpose and character of the organisation.

The other reason why the Regional Councils were created was to provide a check and balance against the other Territorial Authorities whose focus is often on the development of the areas they share. This structure is especially useful in areas of regulatory compliance and RMA approvals that allows local government to keep these monitoring and approval functions at arms-length from each other.  Of course this has meant that many TA’s have come to see their Regional Council as an interfering, over-bearing big-brother and typically hold pretty jaundiced views around the relationship.

Unfortunately we currently already have a somewhat incoherent local government structure in this country. While there are 11 Regional Councils, there are also 6 Unitary Councils with the strong probability that at least 3 or 4 of these Regional Councils will be lost in the next year or two. Not to mention the on-going ECAN debacle. With both a government clearly happy to see Regional Councils role minimised and the TA’s keen to cheer the process on, the near-term trend is clearly towards another round of local government amalgamation resulting perhaps in perhaps some 20 Unitary Authorities across the whole country and all the Regional Councils vanishing.

At the same time it is vital to bear in mind that the 2012 Local Government Amendment Act has dramatically narrowed the scope of Local Government to “to meet the current and future needs of communities for good-quality local infrastructure, local public services and performance of regulatory functions in a way that is most cost-effective for households and businesses”. No specific mention of environmental management in there at all. Now while any new Unitary Authority’s will most likely incorporate most staff and functions from their various predecessors, it is also clear that Environment will no longer be central to the purpose and character of the new organisations. Inevitably there will be the same loss of focus and priority and a huge question arises when conflicting goals arise between development and protection within the same authority. Which principal trumps?

And certainly no more pesky One Plans that will require our rivers to be cleaned up.

There’s an emerging pattern here, both within DoC and Local Government that is marginalising conservation science and environmental management in this country. The full effects of this will not be seen or felt for some time yet, but the loss of skilled people and institutional capacity is happening already as people clearly read the writing on the wall.

27 comments on “The Stealth Dismantling of Environmental Protection”

  1. Pascal's bookie 1

    Thanks Red.

    If the government wants to do this, they need to change the Conservation Act. Turning the Dept away from Conservation, and using the estate for tourism over conservation isn’t a legitimate policy move under the act.

    • Jenny Kirk 1.1

      The Govt is already changing legislation to allow it to do whatever it likes with the environment. These include amendments and re-writes of the Resource Management Act, the Local Govt Act, the Crown Minerals Act and so on.

      Some of these were introduced before Christmas and others are in the pipeline.

      Claire Browning from Forest & Bird has good info on these changes on her blogs at The Pundit.
      (Sorry – I don’t know how to put links from one blogsite to another !)

      Update: I think this is the link you had in mind. RL

      • Jenny Kirk 1.1.1

        Yes – that link, and another post CB had a bit further back on similar topic as well. Thanks RL.

  2. scotty 2

    Sometimes I wonder if John Key has ever walked or sat on anything that wasn’t man made
    He went barefoot once from memory.
    When C & S ordered pizza, and half of the MSM was there to witness what an ordinary guy Key was.

  3. BLiP 3

    There’s nothing “stealth” about it. Since being elected, the John Key National Ltd™ government:

    has been caught out repeatedly lying in the run up to and during the election campaign about its real intentions in relation to the environment

    celebrated the opening of the foreign-owned Pike River Coal Ltd mine on DOC land adjacent to the Paparoa National Park from which 1 megatonne of coal will be extracted per year for the next 20 years – Pike River Coal Ltd has announced that it has found additional coal in the national park

    cancelled a proposed efficiency standard (MEPS) on incandescent lightbulbs

    reversed a moratorium on building new gas/oil/coal power stations

    removed the bio fuel subsidy

    scrapped the scheme that would have penalised imported vehicles producing high emissions

    removed regulations for water efficient new housing by Order in Council

    renewed leases on sensitive high country farms which were meant to return to DOC

    reversed restrictions on the freeholding of vast swathes of land on the edge of the Southern Lakes

    arbitrarily excised 400 hectares from the brand new Oteake Conservation Park, including the most important and, ecologically, the rarest part of the new Park, the tussock and shrubland that went right down to the banks of the Manuherikia River, to enable future access to lignite

    said nothing to say in regard to the World Commission on Protected areas of IUCN’s severe criticism of its intention to investigate mineral resources and mining opportunities in protected conservation areas including our three UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Te Wahi Pounamu-South West New Zealand, Tongariro National Park and the Sub Antarctic Islands

    approved two prospecting permit applications lodged by Australian iron-ore giant Fortescue Metals Group subsidiary FMG Pacific lodged in June – areas covered by the two-year permits include an 8204-square-kilometre area of seabed adjoining the west coast from Cape Reinga to the Manukau Harbour and a 3798-square-kilometre prospecting area of land from Cape Reinga to the Kaipara Harbour including Ninety Mile Beach, the west side of the Aupouri Peninsula, Kaitaia and the Hokianga.

    approved an additional prospecting permit for Fortescue Metals in relation to 3568sq km right next door to the Kahurangi National Park where the Heaphy Track is

    was forced to release its Ministry of Economic Development (MED) report under the Official Information Act that proclaims “significant mineral potential” in the Fiordland, Kahurangi and Paparoa national parks – the report said the Waitutu area of the Fiordland National Park had sufficient petroleum reserves to be “worthy” of inclusion in a review of conservation land protected from mining

    secretly granted the minerals industry the right to veto proposed National Park boundaries and permission for any such vetoes to be kept confidential – in spite of recommendations from its own officials against any such a veto

    Minster of Conservation Tim Grosser, on 29 August 2009, called for caring New Zealanders to halt their “emotional hysteria” and recognise that conservation land should be mined for minerals and went on to say “Mining in a modern, technological way can have a negligible effect”

    Associate Minister of Conservation Kate Wilkinson, in an interview in “Canterbury Farming” (June 2010 issue now offline) rubished her own department, DOC, suggesting it was incapable of looking after the high country reserves and parks under its control

    gutted the home insulation scheme

    pulled $300 million out of public transport, walking and cycling schemes and added it to a pot of $2 billion to ‘upgrade’ state highways

    changed the law to provide billions of dollar in subsidies for polluters via the ETS casino which is now a target for scamming by international criminals

    begun a process of gutting the Resource Management Act to make it difficult/impossible for the public to lodge appeals against developers

    removed the ability of Auckland to introduce a fuel levy to fund planned public transport upgrades

    left electrification of the Auckland rail network up in the air without promised funding commitments and then came through with a dodgy loan scheme and then unilaterally reorganised the local government structure before finally setting about the privatisation-by-stealth model when busting KiwiRail.

    removed the programme to make Government Departments ‘carbon neutral’ and also began its first wave of public sector redundancies starting with the Ministry for the Environment which was responsible for the scheme.

    removed funding for public tv advertising on sustainability and energy efficiency

    pulled funding for small-town public litter bin recycling schemes

    displayed cabinet ministers expressing public support the bulldozing of Fiordland

    reduced Department of Conservation funding by $54 million over three years

    canceled funding for the internationally acclaimed ‘Enviroschools’ programme

    usurped the democratic role of local Councils of determining policies for their citizens by requiring the abandonment of the efficient and well-established tree protection rules for urban areas

    set about revamping Auckland governance in a way that is likely to greatly reduce the ‘Environmental Watchdog’ role of the the current Regional Council (since completely fucked it up with the SuperShitty)

    removed Auckland’s metropolitan limits and opened the gateway for unfettered urban sprawl

    defended internationally the importation of rain-forest-wrecking palm kernel and stood silent while Federated Farmers called Greenpeace “terrorists” and criminals.

    stood silent while Godfrey Bloom, a Member of the European Parliament and infamous Climate Change Denialist, publicly rejoiced in the 1985 bombing of the Greenpeace Rainbow Warrior – who was doing so while standing on a dock next to the replacement vessel

    took a 0% emissions reduction target to Copenhagen. Yes, seriously, that isn’t a misprint – that was the lower bound of their negotiation platform – then missed the 01/02/10 deadline for commitment to action it had agreed to – meanwhile 55 of the 80 countries which attended did make the deadline

    secretly cancelled the internationally recognised scheme for the mandatory labelling of exotic woods to ensure the timber has not been taken from rain forests in direct contradiction of its own statements made at the 13th World Forestry Congress in Argentina

    supported the Department of Conservation’s decision to open up the pristine Cathedral Cove to an ice-cream franchise

    gave the Department of Conservsation $1.7 million to further develop commercial activities on DOC land and started an “off set” plan allowing company’s to damage the conservation estate if they agree to improve land elsewhere – no monitoring regime has been suggested on put in place

    left DOC director-general Al Morrison to announce that DOC is to charge for services that had been free and, to soften the public up to the idea that there will be more “energy generation schemes” operating on DOC land

    took no action to reduce existing pollution pouring into the Manawatu River and is “leaving it up to industry” to come up with solutions to heal the river which was described by the Cawthorn Institute as “one of the worst polluted in the Western world”

    announced a $1.69 million industry subsidy to kick start marine farming without identifying no-go areas nor putting in place a consultation process for individiuals, communities, and other general coastal users

    was forced to release documents under the Official Information Act which confirm that DOC has “giving up” on ecologically valuable high-country land in the Mackenzie Basin because of funding cuts. The released documents cite “statements made by ministers”, “diminishing funding” and the Government’s new high-country policies as reasons for the changed stance – the comments from DOC were made after Land Information New Zealand (Linz), which manages the tenure review process, ignored DOC’s previous conservation recommendations for the farms

    used former National Party minister and current director of Open Country Cheese – a company convicted of filthy farming practices and found by the supreme court to be a dodgy employer – Wyatt Creech to head up an enquiry into Environment Canterbury which had been standing up the dairy farmers’ demands for more and more water resources and less and less regulation. The Creech report recommended the Environmental Canterbury be sacked and replaced with government appointments and the voters of Canterbury do without democracy until the water situation had been resolved. The Canterbury area holds 50 percent of New Zealand’s fresh water reserves and 50 percent of the water required for hyrdo energy. The Creech report said Environmental Centerbury put too much focus on the environment.

    Was subjected to international condemnation for knowing next to nothing about the parlous state of the New Zealand fisheries,

    bucked international trends and poured more acid on the 100% Pure brand and increases the bluefin tuna quota.

    Squirmed when New Zealand is subject to international criticism for its backing of commericial whaling which National Ltd supports

    Funded Government-owned company Solid Energy runs an essay competition entitled “ The role of coal in sustainable energy solutions for New Zealand” for school children. First prize is a trip to New Zealand’s largest coal customer, China.

    Supported access fees for entrance onto DOC walkways – fee introduced following cuts to DOC’s budget.

    Pressed on with PR bullshit about how New Zealand’s environment would profit from mining national parks, Conservation Minister Kate Wilkinson says.

    Department of Conservation director-general Al Morrison said the conservation estate created “opportunities to do a whole lot for a lot of different people . . . we’ve got to get away from this idea that somehow we have to protect one-third of New Zealand for a certain constituency and put it in a jar of formaldehyde and leave it.”

    Created random fantasies of abundant wealth to promote all forms of mining

    Ignored reports on sustained non-compliance with resource consents and worsening pollution of water ways.

    Ignored its own Ministers possible conflicts of interest

    Did nothing as both its own SOE Meridian and the Department of Conservation to withdraw appeals against an 85m high damn with a 14km long reservoir on conservation land.

    Granted Energy Resources permission to ship Australian yellowcake uranium ore through New Zealand.

    Apologised but does nothing else for breaching the Treaty of Waitangi by granting a mining exploration permit to Brazilian company Petrobras

    Continued to remove environmental protection powers from local authorities

    Totally reversed gains made in the protection of National Parks and other high-value conservation areas in the South Island.

    commenced a divide-and-rule strategy by attempting to paint New Zealanders interested in protecting the environment as outside of the “mainstream” and in defence of the fact that the media is catching to its bare-faced lies in the lead up to the 2008 election.

    Carried on with more lies by talking about modern mining like that at Reefton being carried out by Oceana Golds as being like “key hole surgery”

    Appeared to believe that the tourists it is attempting to bring to New Zealand are all blind and won’t see for themselves the impact of the dairy farming it is subsidising to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars

    Appeared itself to be blind when it comes to the Chairman of Fonterra

    Supported the Commissioner for the Environment’s decision to delay the release of a report into the ramifications for climate change in regard to lignite mining and proposals to convert the lignite into diesel.

    Employed financial sleight of hand in shuffling funds towards business interests and away from community groups looking to protect the environment

    Made more empty promises when a report showing that a third of New Zealand lankes have poor quality water is released.

    Backed down on promises to protect New Zealand children (and the environment cleaner by more informed disposal) from harmful chemicals by improving labeling and imposing mandatory standards on containers

    Ignored the findings by attacking the messenger when a World Health Organisation report confirms that New Zealand’s main centres have the worst air in Australasia and Auckland is the most polluted with twice the concentration of damaging airborne particles as Sydney.

    Studiously ignored so as to take piss about dire warnings concerning the quality of drinking water in Reidstone.

    Didn’t mention in its 100% Pure promotions that visitors to the Kerikeri Basin near the Stone Store – one of Northland’s iconic tourism and heritage sites – could come face-to-face with warning signs telling them the water is polluted.

    Didn’t mention in its 100% Pure promotions that tourists in the Coromandel could come face to face with New Zealand’s environmental standards when finding hundreds of dead snapper washed up on Beaches.

    Presented bogus evidence concerning air pollution

    Made more empty promises in relation to air pollution while also extending deadlines for local councils to reduce air pollution.

    extended deadlines for businesses previously require to reduce air pollution by 2013.

    Put tourism operators in Akaroa at risk by refusing to make the harbour a marine reserve . . . and then rubs salt into their wounds

    Done nothing after the United Nations finds that National Ltd™’s targets for reducing pollution are not consistent with the measures put in place to achieve those targets:

    Attempted to defend the Emissions Trading Scheme from comparisons with the Australian model while Environment Minister Nick Smith indicates there’s little chance of the two schemes being integrated any time soon.

    Then further slowed down the implentation of New Zealand’s Emissions Trading Scheme:

    Allowed major retailers to reap the benefits of its earlier and secret decision to abandon the mandatory labelling of exotic woods after it is found that the retailers are contributing to the death of native Australian forests despite an independent, year-long investigation which finds otherwise.

    tried to keep a meeting between John Key and mininng company Anadarko’s boss secret. The company is responsble for a massive oil spill and is looking to to start drilling off New Zealand soon.

    Continued to ignore yet more evidence of farmers failing to comply with environmental regulations

    handed over $400 million to farmers to extend water storage and allow for more land to be used for dairy farms. No mention or provision is made for additional protections required to deal with the increased pollution.

    Didn’t point out in its 100% Pure promotion that tourists (and locals) should avoid the Opihi River along State Highway 1 because of the risk of exposure to toxins from phormidium.

    Didn’t point out in its 100% Pure promotions that tourists arriving at New Zealand’s “nuclear free” sea ports will be sharing the environment with up to 5,000 tonnes of radioactive yellow cake uranium.

    Lied about how bad the RMA is

    ignored top scientists and academics who point out that its underfunding of the Department of Conservation will send more species into extinction and hurt its 100% Pure image.

    Ignored John Key making an international arse out of himself in regard to New Zealand’s 100% Pure image:

    Carried on with its lies as New Zealand is identified as jeoparising its good name by allowing us to become one of a small number of states stalling progress in forming an international climate agreement.

    Kept stringing us along even after Next thing, New Zealand received the 2nd place Fossil Award for “proposing the most Flexible Mechanism imaginable with no oversight or review. Bring on the wild west. They want to be able to use any market mechanisms they wish with absolutely no oversight or international review! There would be no way to ensure that the units from one mechanism have not been sold two or three times to another such mechanism. This would likely unleash a wild west carbon market with double or triple counting of offsets and a likely increase of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere.”

    Stood silent when Fonterra was caught out lying by overstating its farmer’s compliance on excluding stock from waterways by 100%.

    Put World class surfing waves and Maui’s dolphin’s at Raglan at severe risk by encouraging a proposed iron ore seabed mining in New Zealand’s coastal waters:

    Never followed up after the scientific models created by New Zealand and the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) to allow fishing are called into question:

    Sets the scene for our children heading down to the park to find an overseas’ owned company had set up a dairy farm in one corner. Over time the shit builds up

    Ignores data which shows the expansion of fish-farming in the Marlborough Sounds could cause unacceptable changes in the coastal environment.

    Strategically removed the word “environment” from the lexicon of local and central government.

    Didn’t tell the tourists it hopes to attact with its 100% Pure campaign that every year, New Zealand drops huge quantities of poison-laced food into its forest ecosystems; enough poison to kill its human population 4 times over, every year. No country has ever done anything remotely similar, on such a scale

    Didn’t tell the tourists it hopes to attract with its 100% Pure campaign that more than a third of Auckland’s beaches fail water quality checks and are closed for swimming

    Still ignored the closing of the beaches, this time as extremely high concentrations of the bacteria enterococci are identified.

    Still ignored Ministerial conflicts of interest, this time involving John Key who is identified as shareholder in the Bank Of America which is backing mining in New Zealand and Australia . . . even when more information is made available . . . and more information . . . and more information

    Pressed on with additional policies that move away from the protection of the environment towards exploitation

    Limited , as part of its effort to cash-in on the environment, access to some of New Zealand’s most endangered species and isolated islands only to those who those who contribute financially displacing conservation staff and scientists.

    ignored a World Wildlife Fund report, Beyond Rio, which makes clear New Zealand now risks some of the highest rates of biodiversity loss on Earth unless urgent action is taken.

    Fonterra director Colin Armer is convicted and fined $72,000 for “fouling” a Bay of Plenty waterway after a judge found he could have prevented the pollution were it not for his “systemic” failure to monitor what was happening on his company’s farm.
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/pollution/news/article.cfm?c_id=281&objectid=10815436

    National Ltd™ lies when it says New Zealand has the environmental laws and regulations to control oil and gas development on the continental shelf because thereis no equivalent of the Resource Management Act to control oil and gas activity outside of the territorial sea (12 nautical miles offshore).
    http://www.eco.org.nz/key-issues/oceans.html

    lied when it had already agreed coastal plans to allow marine farming consent holders in the Waikato and Marlborough to move from mussel farming to finfish farming without considering the additional environmental effects imposed.

    Put short-term business interests ahead of long-term consequences to New Zealand’s environment, particularly biodiversity by allowing damage in one area on the condition that it be “off set” in another creating a dangerous precedent in that such a provisin means that one part of biodiversity can be wrecked in return for “protecting” an area that was never under threat anyway.

    Promoted proposals that include include a plant producing about 2 billion litres of diesel per year, using at least 12 million tonnes of lignite per year and another producing 3 billion litres using 12-17 million tonnes of lignite annually. A further project would produce by 2016 1.2 tonnes of the nitrogenous fertiliser, urea, using 2 million tonnes of lignite annually.

    Documents obtained under the Official Information Act have revealed that DOC was intending to turn down Meridian (application to buils a damn on the Mohikinui River) and believed “the public conservation land within the Mokihinui River has such high value that it is most unlikely to be suitable for exchange at all.
    http://www.eco.org.nz/key-issues/energy.html

    National Ltd™ continues to ignore the slow-motion extinction of Maui’s dolphins:
    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1206/S00386/protection-measures-for-mauis-dolphins-fall-short.htm

    Significant cuts to the Ministry for the Environment in the 2012 Budget are not publicly detailed or announced by Minister Amy Adams. She prefers to hide. http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1205/S00478/cuts-to-environment-budget-explain-the-missing-minister.htm

    National Ltd™ ensures that New Zealand continues to ignore its international obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea to “protect and preserve” the martime environment.
    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1205/S00267/eez-bill-fails-to-protect-the-environment-and-nz-reputation.htm

    Despite long-standing recommendations from the Land and Water Forum, National Ltd™ continues to avoid setting national standards for water quality even after the Greater Wellington Regional Council released its state of the environment report. The report highlights the poor quality of many urban, lowland and Wairarapa waterways, and some rivers and aquifers being at their allocation limit.
    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1206/S00207/strong-national-standards-needed-to-clean-up-rivers.htm

    National Ltd™ further weakenes protection for wild rivers in Canterbury with the ECan Act and indicates that further weakening will follow.
    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1205/S00550/green-party-welcomes-pce-call-for-improved-river-protection.htm

    The Environmental Protection Authority rubber stamps a motorway project with no economic benefit and likely to waste over $1 billion of tax payers’ funds. http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1206/S00336/epa-rubber-stamps-dead-duck-motorway.htm

    National Ltd™ is forced to admit that it has spent $1.67 million in a survey of minerals on the West Coast of New Zealand, including within the Te Wahipounamu South West New Zealand world heritage area. Te Wahipounamu is one of 183 natural heritage properties which the World Heritage Committee considers as having outstanding universal value.
    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1206/S00355/world-heritage-areas-should-not-be-open-to-mining.htm

    National Ltd™ secretly ordered that world heritage sites on the West Coast be surveyed as part of a $3 million mineral study spanning more than 16,000 square kilometres. The survey was only puiblicy revealed after Green MP Catherine Delahunty asked for details in a parliamentary question:
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/environment/7168686/Mineral-study-marked-Coast-sites\

    The former interests of members appointed to the Establishment Board for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) make them unsuitable candidates for the job
    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1103/S00071/epa-board-members-unlikely-to-protect-the-environment.htm

    Inexperienced managers, poor policy decisions and falling staff numbers are threatening New Zealand’s biosecurity.
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/7175215/Biosecurity-fears-voiced-in-staff-letter

    An independent report on the PSA virus outbreak was commissioned by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) following the devastation caused by the virus in the Bay of Plenty orchards with an estimated cost of $400 million. The report found New Zealand’s biosecurity system is fundamentally flawed and there is no way of identifying how the virus got into New Zealand and, thus, no way of preventing it from happening again.
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/farming/7224595/Govt-ignored-biosecurity-warning-Labour

    John Key hands over another $80 million to business and farmers to subsidise their pollution.
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/7208247/Nats-soften-emissions-blow-for-businesses

    National Ltd™ Minister Kate Wilkinson fobs off Save Fiordland protesters who point out that had the government’s own guidelines been followed consent for the Milford Dart tunnel and Fiordland Link Experience would never have been granted.
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/environment/7222907/Stop-the-Fiordland-tunnel-Wilkinson-told

    A National Ltd™ appointed advisory group has recommended a significant rewrite of the Resource Management Act, removing references to the protection of coastal areas, wetlands, lakes and rivers and indigenous flora and fauna.
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/environment/news/article.cfm?c_id=39&objectid=10817613

    Documents pried from National Ltd™ under the Official Information Act show that senior government officials with serious concerns over projects in the Mackenze Basin and Waitaki Valley and hands out $180,000 of taxpayer cash. The decision to hand over the money was made by Nick Smith. More than half the cash went to environmental consultants – including about $88,000 to Ecologic, a firm run by Dr Smith’s friend Guy Salmon. Mr Salmon is also linked to the National Party ginger group the BlueGreens. The money trail shows: Ecologic consultant Guy Salmon: received $88,010 (includes $682 in restaurant and bar charges), Whanganui-based consultant Richard Thompson received $13,130 (includes $149 in restaurant and bar bills), the Environment Defence Society received $2256. Other expenditure included: restaurant and bar charges (at May, June and August meetings): $5495, and $30,800 for the production of two reports.
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/7327570/Money-for-mates-claims-to-be-probed-says-PM

    A further weakening of the already gutted resource consent process is being considered for foreign-owned mining companies, according to Energy and Resources Minister. Phil; Heatley.
    http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/resource-consents-mining-might-be-speed-heatley-ck-124676

    New Zealanders are locked out of the consultation process on the alloting of areas being made available by the National Ltd™ for resource exploration.
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/7366483/Oil-firms-first-to-seek-information

    National Ltd™ scraps government grants for solar water heating and Parliamentary Commissioner comes out against them:
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/environment/news/article.cfm?c_id=39&objectid=10822323

    National Ltd™ use the Navy along with police and Crown Law to bully environmental protesters in a legal case they knew could not be won.
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/environment/news/article.cfm?c_id=39&objectid=10822405

    National Ltd™ puts out an international call for foreign companies to drill for oil and gas in 23 blocks of deep and wild waters east of Wellington and Dunedin.
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10811689

    National Ltd™ consultants do a u-turn on the economic benefits of additional roading and then get handed a $200 million contract for further consultation work.
    http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/doubts-worth-holiday-highway-4992534

    The Department of Conservation grants foreign-owned multinational mining company OceanaGold permission to destroy 55 hectares of beech forest so as to extend its Reefton mine to a total 81 hectares without public notification:
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/minerals/news/article.cfm?c_id=259&objectid=10818463

    As National Ltd™ prepares to ease the resource consent process for mining companies, the Minerals Industry Association starts putting pressure on local authorities to step aside.
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=10823321

    Economic commentator Gareth Morgan details National Ltd™’s ramshackle collection of underfunded agencies with no direction or policy for dealing with the vast marine resources of New Zealand:
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=10823294

    A further erosion of New Zealand’s bio-security is highted when Christchurch Airport is found to have failed a survey:
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10823549
    National Ltd™ ignores Open letter to Minister for the Environment from the Environmental Defence Society, Forest and Bird, Fish and Game, Ecologic, Greenpeace, and World Wildlife Foundation New Zealand. Inter-alia, the letter points out that the removal of the directive terms “protect”, “preserve”, “maintain” and “enhance” from the RMA fundamentally weakens the legislation and introduces confusion as to its overall intent.
    http://www.eds.org.nz/content/documents/pressreleases/ENGOs%20letter%20re%20TAG%20report.pdf

    National Ltd™ ensures that New Zealand tax payers continue to subsidise 95% of big polluters’ emissions.
    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1209/S00143/ets-changes-a-farce-environment-commissioner.htm

    Proposed marine reserves off the West Coast have been drastically reduced in size so much so that one advocate says they are “an insult” to those who spent years trying to establish them.
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=10835374

    National Ltd™ instructs its delegates at the world’s largest conservation conference, the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s conference in Korea, to oppose any further measures to protect Maui and Hector dolphins in defiance of 117 other countries and 460 environmental organisations requesting New Zealand ban gill and trawl nets in waters up to 100 metres deep.
    http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/116332/nz-votes-against-protecting-dolphins

    Emergy Minister Phil Heatley is caught out lying about the environmental impact of fraking.
    http://www.3news.co.nz/Taranaki-gas-field-contaminates-soil/tabid/1160/articleID/269871/Default.aspx

    Regional council are caught out not enforcing regulations, Government says no action is required
    http://www.3news.co.nz/Fracking-in-Southland-exposed/tabid/423/articleID/259325/Default.aspx

    National Ltd™ ignores concerns about fracking which has seen the practise banned around the world.
    http://www.tv3.co.nz/Mar-18—Meet-The-Frackers/tabid/2059/articleID/76270/Default.aspx

    National Ltd™ Minister Stephen Joyce twists the knife by exploiting news of redundancies at Solid Energy in a statement which claims opponents to a proposed mine are “getting in the way of” potential jobs.
    http://www.forestandbird.org.nz/what-we-do/publications/media-release/forest-bird-rejects-inappropriate-request-withdraw-appeal

    A High Court decision says the effects on climate change cannot be considered under the Resource Management Act (RMA) as updated by National Ltd™. The Court decision came after an appeal was made against an earlier decision to allow Australian-owned mining company Bathurst Resources (also known as Buller Coal) to build a 200-hectare open-cast coal mine on the plateau and mine 80 million tonnes of coal that, when burnt, will release about 200 million tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
    http://www.forestandbird.org.nz/what-we-do/publications/media-release/forest-bird-disappointed-climate-change-ruling

    The extinction of New Zealand sea lions is further ensured after fishing restrictions announced by the National Ltd™
    http://www.forestandbird.org.nz/what-we-do/publications/media-release/squid-fishery-decision-won%E2%80%99t-save-sea-lions

    The Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf Bill, as reported back from select committee fails to protect New Zealand’s marine environment and ignores our international legal obligations.
    http://www.forestandbird.org.nz/what-we-do/publications/media-release/eez-bill-bad-news-both-industry-and-the-environment

    More than half of monitored recreational sites on our rivers are unsafe for swimming, a report has revealed.
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=10841013

    Submissions to a select committee considering the Emissions Trading Scheme by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Jan Wright’s, and those of thers, to a select committee reviewing the Emissions Trading Scheme are ignored resulting in a Trading Scheme which “will have very, very limited effectiveness and has locked in subsidies to to the worst emitters indefinitely.”
    http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/political/118536/commissioner-dismayed-by-emissions-report

    Environment Minister pulls out of participation in legal action to prevent more pollution being poured into New Zealand’s fresh water supplies.
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/7824674/Fish-Game-gets-hooks-into-minister

    National Ltd™ seeks changes to the law which will make it more dificult to get consent to build a deck onto a house than it is to drill for oil.
    http://www.3news.co.nz/Consent-for-oil-drilling-exploration-could-get-easier/tabid/1160/articleID/273254/Default.aspx

    New Zealand continues to avoid its international obligations “to ensure the conservation and management of sharks and their long-term sustainable use” while its fishers carry on with the barbaric practise of shark finning.
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/blogs/in-our-nature/7848342/Shark-finning-a-national-disgrace

    Recent survey results show that two thirds of New Zealanders believer spending on environmental conservation is a good use of tax payers’ money. National Ltd™ responds with further cuts to the Department of Conservation budget.
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/blogs/in-our-nature/7807524/Endangered-rangers

    Signatures from 30,000 people in a global email petition urging Prime Minister John Key to save the endangered Maui’s dolphin are ignored by National Ltd™ while the World Wildlife Fund points out that New Zealand was the only country to vote against more protection for the species at the world’s largest conservation summit.
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/environment/7793952/Indifference-to-dolphins-seen-as-blot-on-NZ-image

    Finance Minister Bill English begins the process of further gutting urban environmental protection legislation to speed up the building consent process for developers.
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/7874263/RMA-changes-mooted-to-speed-up-building

    The Government is stopping the five-yearly State of the Environment report. Put together by the Ministry of the Environment, the report is the largest stock-take of trends relating to land, water, air, plants and animals. The next report was expected in December, but the Government has decided instead to look at the basic data for each area.
    http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/political/119350/state-of-the-environment-report-stopped

    New Zealand abandons the Kyoto agreement
    http://tvnz.co.nz/politics-news/john-key-defends-kyoto-decision-5209727

    A government lobbyist who attacted a prominent New Zealand scientist for speaking truth about New Zealand’s environment remains unrepentent in his efforts to silence the accurate reporting of scientific evidence.
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10849308

    The New York Times highlights the fact that the pristine landscape featured in The Hobbit and used as the basis for the 100% Pure New Zealand campaign as fantastical as dragons and wizards.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/17/business/global/new-zealands-green-tourism-push-clashes-with-realities.html?smid=fb-share&_r=0

    An international study measuring countries’ loss of native vegetation, native habitat, number of endangered species, and water quality reported in the journal PloS One shows New Zealand is 18th worst out of 189 nations when it came to preserving its natural surroundings. John Key remains relaxed.
    http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0010440

    Pulls out of Kyoto just weeks after the OECD reports that global greenhouse gas emissions could rise 50 per cent by 2050 without more ambitious climate policies, as fossil fuels continue to dominate the energy mix.

    New Zealand has received two “Fossil of the Day” – first-equal and second place – awards on the first day of international climate talks in Doha, Qatar.
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10850322

    Hobbiton – Waikato – is a major source of pollution within the Hauraki Gulf yet is at the centre of the John Key led National Ltd™ government’s 100% Pure campaign
    http://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/EN/AboutCouncil/representativesbodies/haurakigulfforum/Documents/hgfstateoftheenvreport2011.pdf

    The use of the “fraking” technique in oil and gas drilling/exploration is given the go-ahead by National Ltd™ despite the Parliamentary Commissioner for the environment pointing out there exists no effective regulations in case of disaster nor the ability to enforce what regulations are available. Instead, monitoring and reporting and adherence to existing legislation is being left entirely up to foreign-owned multinationals doing the drilling.
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10850431

    http://publicaddress.net/system/cafe/hard-news-fact-and-fantasy/?p=276592#post276592

    lied, obfuscated and used government resources to attack and undermined local authority plans to improve water quality

    sanction an unnamed foreign-owned multinational to go ahead with a major road through pristine South Island National Parks

    employed disingenuous gobbledeegook to defend its decision to withdraw from the Kyoto Agreement.

    turned a deaf ear to calls for New Zealand to assist pacfic island nations by taking a stronger position on climate change

    displayed contempt for existing agreements and Environment Case law by approving new salmon farms in recreational areas within the Marlborough Sounds

    refused to investigate the impact on increasing use of neonicotinoid pesticides which is likely to be a major contributor to the sudden and dramatic decline (aka colony collapse disorder) of the New Zealand honey bee population, National Ltd™ also refused to consider the development of a strategy to protect what is left of the honey bee population.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/environment/news/article.cfm?c_id=39&objectid=10858064

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/environment/news/article.cfm?c_id=39&objectid=10857992

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/environment/news/article.cfm?c_id=39&objectid=10857798

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/climate-change/news/article.cfm?c_id=26&objectid=10856154

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/climate-change/news/article.cfm?c_id=26&objectid=10855149

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/125522/sanford-pollution-%27will-blemish-nz-image%27

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/business/125649/apache-pulls-out-of-second-oil-exploration-phase

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/environment/news/article.cfm?c_id=39&objectid=10860411

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=10860552

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/8208317/Govt-could-run-housing-land-supply-English

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/timaru-herald/news/8181859/Environment-Canterbury-holds-off-on-meter-fines

    mixed the cooperative model of climate change negotiations with the competitive model used in trade negotiations, thus putting outcomes in both areas a risk

    ducked questions asking for evidence as to the safety of genetically engineered food

    ignored the fact that New Zealand carbon credits are no longer the unit of choice in the New Zealand’s own carbon market. Figures from the official Emission Unit Registry show that emitters who initially supported NZUs are now using a range of international units to meet their carbon obligations under the Emissions Trading Scheme

    used highly dodgy figures in calculating the reduction New Zealand’s net carbon emissions by including trees due to be harvested in the next few years

    ignored news that New Zealand’s first glyphosate resistant weed has been found and the resulting call for the use of glyphosate (Monsanto’s “Roundup”) to cease

    stayed silent for five months after being advised that Fonterra’s milk product were contaminated with dicyandiamide (DCD) and now face an international backlash.

    set no maximum level of contamination of dicyandiamide (DCD) (AKA cyanoguanidine) in milk products for consumption by New Zealanders, stood silent while the farming industry says the withdrawal of dicyandiamide (DCD) will result in yet more pollution of New Zealand’s waterways

    stood silent as NIWA announced findings of research which showed 20 per cent of marine life in the Milford Sounds port area could be killed off as a result of copper leaching from anti-fouling paints on boat hulls

    we should always measure a Government’s environmental rhetoric against its environmental record.

    I’m confident that with the right policies New Zealand can make its environmental credentials an important part of its comparative advantage

    And, in seeking the balance between environmental and economic goals, National will never forget that New Zealand’s outstanding physical environment is a key part of what makes our country special. Kiwis proudly value our forests, mountains, rivers, lakes, and oceans.  They are part of our history and they must continue to define our future. 

    Having lived in Singapore and in London, I feel strongly about this point.  There is something very special about raising a family in a  country where we can take for granted going fishing in a local river, taking a family outing to a beach, or walking through the bush without bumping into anyone for kilometres on end.

    http://www.national.org.nz/Article.aspx?ArticleId=28477

    It is disgusting that if you are a sportsperson you get no conviction for an offence that endangered peoples lives because it might affect their ability to play overseas, but an actress convicted for taking part in an environmental protest gets no such consideration.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/blogs/first-reading/7954334/Backtracks-on-climate-change-cause-little-heat

    http://www.andersonlloyd.co.nz/rakaia-water-conservation-order-amended/

    http://norightturn.blogspot.co.nz/2013/02/climate-change-locked-out.html

    http://thestandard.org.nz/save-the-trees/

    . . . its all on public record, we just need the people who care to stand up and shout “ENOUGH”.

    • RedLogix 3.1

      Hehe … I did think to link to your now infamous list in the post BLiP but it got culled at edit time.

      But you are right, if you have been paying attention there is nothing stealth about the overall process, however I’m thinking that the specifics around DoC and the RC’s is newish to a lot of people.

      • karol 3.1.1

        RL, it’s newish to me. Mainly because I haven’t seen/heard anything much about it in the MSM. So, thank-you for drawing attention to it in an easily understood way.

        Also thanks to BLiP for the wealth of supporting evidence.

        It’s a really important issue.

    • Peter 3.2

      The funny thing with all of these facts is that we assume that people are rational – that if only we spout enough facts at people that they’ll then weigh them all up, and make a decision in favour of the facts. So in this case, feed them enough bad environmental news, and they’ll run to parliament, or their local MPs office, and start shouting (and then voting…).

      This is what the Left constantly thinks – that people are rational. Give them the facts and they’ll make the right decision…

      It’s also where the Left gets it consistently wrong. People are largely non-rational when it comes to which issues they care about and which ones they don’t.

      Give people a stack of environmental bad news, and they’ll prefer to ignore it. Give them a very large stack of environmental bad news, and they’ll just yawn. And that, is the successful strategy of this government.

      So, any campaign to win over people on this needs to have a vastly different methodology from how these things are usually fought.

      • karol 3.2.1

        Peter: So, any campaign to win over people on this needs to have a vastly different methodology from how these things are usually fought.

        I was thinking something similar today in relation to the failure of the anti-asset sales campaign to mobilise a significant number of viewers. I was wondering if it was too broad and abstract for many voters. People seem to respond more to policies that will have an immediate and direct impact on their daily lives – the way promises of tax cuts have in the past.

        It is important to have the information above to base any environment protection/conservation policy on, but how to give it a sense of immediacy to a lot of people’s daily lives?

        • Peter 3.2.1.1

          There’s a couple of aspects to it I think. The first is the message, and the second is the messenger.

          On the whole, the Left uses dispassionate, highly academic reasoning. Why? Because its mostly the people of the intellectual left who are framing the arguments, and they imagine people like themselves doing the reading. Of course, this doesn’t work. It requires too much thought for exhausted, overworked, harassed people with a million and one things on the go. So they look for the sound bite, or the powerful emotive image, or the simple zero-sum reasoning from the more primitive parts of their brain (which invariably never helps the left, but that’s another post for another day).

          The Greens “Vote for Me” campaign was a classic example of this. As for any great images from last years Labour campaign that stick in my mind, well I can’t think of any really…

          The second aspect is the messenger. Even the most boring and complex topics can be made interesting by someone who is, well, interesting… Call it leadership, call it charisma, whatever you like, the left does not either attract or nuture those talents. In fact, it actively opposes such people (witness what happened to David Cunliffe). Put a few charismatic people in Labour’s line up, and we’ll start winning on the complex issues. Especially if they have a background that people can relate to.

          All of this takes time though, especially the non-rational messaging component. It’s no small wonder that the Right invest heavily in this stuff, and might test a slogan or “word”(such as ‘tax relief’) for a decade before rolling it out. I can’t see the Left ever having that resolve or long term dedication to put the effort into something similar. But to win both parliament and political power (two different things), that’s the way we need to be thinking.

        • RedLogix 3.2.1.2

          The alternate approach is to focus on specific issues (as marty does below with the tree at Mokihinui), with personalities and outrage. It’s the old reactionary, emotive formula that works well for reactionary causes.

          It doesn’t work at all well for progressive causes because engaging the emotions shuts down rationality. The progressive mind asks “Is it morally defensible for a wealthy nation to have 20% or more of it’s children living in poverty?” … the emotional mind reacts with a sound-bite like “lazy scum breeding for business”.

          Daniel Kahneman’s book Thinking Fast and Slow explores how we have two very different modes of thinking, one fast, instinctive and judgemental, the other slow, effortful and concious.

          Engaging the automatic brain is easy, most especially in crowds. It’s really obvious even here at The Standard; if a topic is emotionally loaded and personal it gets loads of response… much of it not helpful. A post that engages the rational mind at an abstract level garners a quite different response. In particular there seems a real barrier to entry in terms of knowledge of the topic and the skills required to think, imagine and communicate effectively.

          Engaging a mass of people in this mode seems a far more challenging problem. Maybe this is where the left should be focussing a lot more energy. Otherwise we are constantly fighting Cassandra’s curse.

          • Peter 3.2.1.2.1

            Ah yeah, the tree at Mokihinui. I’m involved in that issue, and a response to it, through my role on FMC, so I can’t really respond here too much further.

            The Left can address this, but it requires full time staff and long term resourcing, beyond the political fray. The environmental movement do it pretty well actually (F&B, F&G, EDS and others) with professional staff, but of course, there’s far too few of them.

          • marty mars 3.2.1.2.2

            Rationality and emotion are not mutually exclusive, in fact it is essential that they go hand in hand to move people. Think about any past or even recent environmental issue and getting engagement from the public – if you don’t use both emotion and rationality then the issue won’t gain traction and nothing will happen. Engaging people is a heart and head issue imo. The talent of the right (if it can be called that) is to mix up the emotion and rationality and argue one as the other with the disguise often being monetary or finaically based, as if that somehow automatically provides rationality. An example would be the escarpment mine on Denniston where the argument for is based on dubious numbers relating to profit and growth – that are based on emotion not rationality, even though they would argue till they were blue in the face that it is entirely based on rational thinking without emotion even getting a look in.

    • rich the other 3.3

      You have managed to demonstrate why this government has to get on with the job and advance NZ, clearly theirs plenty to do.

      When the RMA is altered some of the examples you have quoted will be resolved by local comunitys , why should , as an example Aucklanders have any input as to how west coasters live there lives ,this type of thing is simply an abuse of the current system.

      Thank God we have you greens to POISON any chance that labour might have had at the next election.
      The abuse of the RMA by the extreme green is about to be stomped on and if the pendulum swings a little to far the greens can only blame themselves.

      Bring on the change.

      [lprent: already have a rich. Altered your handle. ]

    • Michael Morris 3.4

      A very comprehensive list. But surprising you did not include all the stuff-ups over the Rena, that resulted in devastating pollution to Tauranga and the death of thousands of sea birds and mammals.

  4. Peter 4

    What a timely post and close to my heart, personally and professionally. This government’s approach to ecological limits appears to be to ignore them, starve those who point them out, or failing that, legislate over the top of the limit. It’s like King Canute ordering the tide to go out…

    It also amounts to a gradual tearing up of the hard-won environmental consensus in the 1980s. Like it or not, Roger Douglas was onto the right thing when he put most of the green dots of the public sector together in the Department of Conservation. Regional Councils had the right intent, but were always hamstrung by the conflicts of interests of most of their farmer councillors, which has prevented them, until quite recently, from getting on top of non-point source pollution. That is probably the biggest failing of regional councils, although some are getting on top of it (such as Otago and soon, Southland), without the controversy and publicity of the Horizon’s One Plan or the ECan debacle.

    So, the challenge is hard, but it can be done. In the long term though, my worry has always been this – given peaking resources, will the middle-class continue to support the environement and conservation? Will people, faced with falling living standards, continue to say that freshwater deserves protection and that the conservation estate deserves proper funding and protection?

    I’d like to hope so, but right now, this government is certainly testing that question, with little blast-back in the polls. Yeah, people fight it (and I’m actually one of the few who are paid to fight it).

    • Peter 4.1

      Sorry, couldn’t edit the post (comments editor not working). I should have added that the burden on those remaining in the conservation/environment field is hard, and that you can expect far more recourse to the justice system over the next few years if this trend continues.

      It’s also really disheartening when the major Opposition party – Labour – appears to be mostly asleep at the wheel on environmental matters. They may have a strategy to let the Greens fight these things, but they miss the point when most people engaged professionally in this field would prefer to vote Labour, not Green. As in, they are looking for a sensible, progressive and long term environmental policy backed up by governing experience, which only Labour can provide.

    • RedLogix 4.2

      Regional Councils had the right intent, but were always hamstrung by the conflicts of interests of most of their farmer councillors, which has prevented them, until quite recently, from getting on top of non-point source pollution.

      Agreed …. although this has varied a lot from council to council. Certainly Horizon have led the way and I’d suggest Greater Wellington have a respectable track record as well. But yes some RC’s have held back from overly aggravating local farmer interests for sure. There’s always the negative push-back from the minority of Neanderthals who believe that the rules never apply to them and in rural communities this sort of thing can make life difficult in lots of petty ways.

      And the big limiting factor has always been resources. Far too often issues brought to council staff attention by the public simply don’t get the response they deserve for this reason. There’s always dozens of other things that need doing as well.

      • Peter 4.2.1

        Horizons-Manawatu have taken a consenting approach to the problem. It’s one of a number of approaches. My worry with Horizons is that all the Council resourcing will be put into consents, and then a farmer will get a consent, put it in a drawer, and then say to himself that the environment is now fine. It’s also wide open for the Council to slow down the implementation, because so much of it depends on implementation, and annual Council decisions on resourcing.

        Because all Council resources are tied up in consenting, there will be nothing for guidance, education and compliance. Otago have tried a different approach, with a permitted baseline (based on catchment science), with everything over that being prohibited (except in some limited circumstances where you can get a consent). I think ultimately that this will free up more resources for the other part of the planning cycle that never happens – enforcement.

        Only time will tell which approach works.

        Beyond that, enforcing environmental rules that protect the commons will always be a core issue. It comes down to living in a small country. You don’t dob in your mates, and you don’t prosecute your mates. Instead, it’s easier to turn a blind eye. How we resolve that tension between familiarity and still abiding by the rules and prosecuting those who don’t is a central challenge I don’t think anyone has adequately addressed.

      • One of the great concerns are these farmers who want to “green” the Mackenzie Basin artificially, and say that it looks attractive.

        It is the vast open tussock expanses of that area of the country, its glaciated landscape and the Southern Alps that draw me to the basin. The rivers have some outstanding fisheries, and the hydro scheme – far from being an eyesore – supports salmon farms in the canals and high school rowing on Lake Ruataniwha. The farmers who want to green the landscapes are apparently not locals, but ones from somewhere else who are not down to learn the art of Mackenzie Basin farming, but to make a fast dollar at the expense of the environment.

        There would be something like 17,000 cows creating the poop volume of a small-medium size city’s population. It would put vast amounts of nitrate into the ground waters, which would eventually filter into Lake Benmore and possibly wreck the fishery and the water quality of the lake.

        Bob Parker drafted a letter to Rodney Hide with the help of the nine District Councils in Canterbury that laid out a raft of claims about incompetence at Environment Canterbury. They ignored the dysfunctional City Council; they ignored the fact that the Natural Resources Regional Plan would be operative in 2010 among other things. It was heartening last year to read Paul Gorman from The Press write that Environment Canterbury was often considerably more functional than the City Council.

  5. The felling of the 500 year old Kahikatea tree near the Mokihinui Forks Hut is a good example of what your post describes Red.

    The Buller Conservation Group has a good press release on it where Peter Lusk describes how the tree is on the Old Ghost Road mountainbike trail and that

    “This tree felling is a symbol of how far DOC is prepared to go to assist the Old Ghost Road Trust to carve a trail through this wilderness conservation area,” he says. “This Kahikatea was an iconic and very beautiful tree that they felled despite being asked not to, because they wanted to expand the Forks Hut and the tree apparently “constrained” the site.”

    and

    Conservationist Pete Lusk agrees that one of the biggest negatives was the way the ‘upgrade’ of the Old Ghost Road track bypassed normal planning procedures and opened up a wilderness that DOC’s West Coast Conservation Management Strategy (CMS) had wanted protected.

    “When the local Conservation Board questioned DOC they were told that the CMS didn’t apply since the money had come from the Ministry of Economic Development, he says.

    “This had everyone gobsmacked, including me. I’d worked on the CMS when on the conservation board a dozen years ago. DOC kept stressing to us how important the document was and that CMS will be our “Bible”. DOC’s senior planner said then that everything that happened on public conservation land on the West Coast would be governed by the CMS.”

    “Well, here’s a project that isnt! In fact the Old Ghost Road flys in the face of the CMS and allows a private trust to blast away at mountaintops and build huts in a very sensitive area,” he says.

    This tree is symbolic of the dilemma that DOC are in – it was slaughtered to ensure more people use that track and hut and pay the fees (get that millsy). The trees are in the road of progress and departmental financial security and DOC bowed their heads, put the blinkers on and got the chainsaw out. Could they have stood their ground and said no? Doubt it – not if you want a job and money to feed the kids. Now I am not 100% against and down on DOC – I work taking tourists into a Nature Reserve and can see the benefits of treating the environment respectfully and bringing people into it in a controlled way so that they can interact with that environment – I completely oppose a ‘let’s keep it looking nice without people’ approach, but that said, it is a very fine line.

    This tree didn’t deserve to die like it did and now be discarded as firewoo – imo DOC acted against the principles in which it was formed and the trust we place in that department to protect and maintain our environment especially sensitive areas and lifeforms and this is just one example that we know of – there will be hundreds happening all over the place below the radar.

    http://www.mars2earth.blogspot.co.nz/2013/02/dr-doc.html

    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/AK1302/S00344/mokihinui-chainsaw-massacre.htm

    and check out this beautiful tree before DOC killed it

    https://twitter.com/izogi/status/305080585871847425/photo/1

    • RedLogix 5.1

      Thanks marty. Again we see the balance being tipped in a direction many people are very uncomfortable with.

      Most recreational users cannot see too much problem with some degree of development by the likes of The Old Ghost Road Trust. There is always going to be a legitimate tension and debate between a ‘let’s keep it looking nice without people’ (which I think should apply in some places, genuine wilderness is becoming an increasingly rare and valuable thing) and those who would turn the Conservation estate into a theme-parked Disneyland.

      The core problem here is exactly the same as the one we have with the sale of Mighty River Power; the effective privatisation of an asset the Crown should hold in trust for all New Zealanders.

      Now at present there are many hundreds of commercial operators with DoC managed concessions in the Conservation estate. We’ve already moved well beyond the ‘lock it up and keep the people out model’ for many of the more accessible and attractive sites. If we compare for instance the commercialisation at Milford Sound with Doubtful Sound and there is no question that Milford has gone too far. Yet for the most part these concessions relate to small to medium family held businesses that manage their operations well and in the sharing spirit of the great Kiwi outdoors

      Yet another part of me is disturbed by the Great Walks model. While it’s obvious that the most popular tracks require some form of demand management and rationing, at the same time it amounts to effectively locking out other users. That’s a form of exclusive use that is not too far removed from privatisation.

      So long as this ‘ownership’ privilege remains with DoC I’m happy with the compromise. As Maori were generally happy for the water to be used by SOE hydro generators as long as it was for the benefit of the whole nation. But I do believe we are starting to see the boundaries on this being blurred. Another decade or so and the same process takes us down the path of fully exclusive use of and privatised commercial ownership of the DoC estate.

      The parallels with the current hydro power asset sales program are stark.

  6. vto 6

    Redlogix, this is a crucial area for the future of NZ. This government is really eating away at all of our small pie as furiously as it can. You can almost sense the mad rush to chomp away on as much as possible before the next election shuts it all down. “Get in while you can folks” is the call that’s gone out.

    I have spoken with people in DOC who have come under direct political pressure to grant concessions (usually to do with mining).

    It almost feels like an amnesity on further DOC concessions or a severe clamping down would be the follow-on with the next government, such is the balance that would be required to counteract how far out to one end this extremist government is going.

    The Milford tunnel and disney railway decision will be a litmus and indicator. As will the nutters bashing on at the Haast – Hollyford Road.

    Sorry, not much justice done to your post in my comment but you are right to keep highlighting it. It is one of those gnawing issues that will get sparked into life like a Manapouri with one particular decision. This government is going way beyond what the vast majority of NZers would expect and have come to understand is necessary for our DOC estate.

    Gotta fly

    • Peter 6.1

      On the tunnel / monorail / haast-hollyford madness you can expect a response probably on the level of the Manapouri campaign. Fortunately for us, these schemes are still being processed under the Conservation Act, rather than a development act (as Manapouri was, and still is).

      On the Haast-Hollyford, they’ve chosen a vastly more expensive inland road route. There is only one reason for doing this, and this is to mine the Red Hills.

      • Jenny Kirk 6.1.1

        Yeah, Peter. And they’re changing the RMA (and related Acts no doubt) so they can get on with it all – in a great hurry and their overseas mining mates can get their resource applications approved before the next election. According to the proposed Crown Minerals Act, once these applications/licences are approved – the miners can’t be stopped !
        btw – I’ve posted on today’s Open Mike details of public meetings re the RMA changes which are happening over the next two weeks – daytime hours mostly – very handy (not) for workers !

        • Peter 6.1.1.1

          Yeah, and there’s another really significant announcement about to come out on Saturday (with one weekend day between the announcement and the first consultation meeting in Dunedin for people reading it) on the government’s response (or lack of it) to the Land and Water Forum. Normally governments announce bad stuff on Fridays, so to be announced on a Saturday…

          Fortunately, mining the Red Hills will be a wee bit more challenging, as they are in still within Mt Aspiring National Park (and thus have the protection of Schedule 4 of the Crown Minerals Act). They are also in a gazetted wilderness area, but the new Conservation Act amendments will allow Cabinet (not the Minister, cabinet jointly) to remove this at the stroke of a pen if they so choose.

          Damned lucky that we kept a separate National Parks Act actually, there was a move at one time to merge them all into the Conservation Act, which would have resulted in a nightmare scenario right about now had it happened.

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    Labour | 20-08
  • Mighty River – Mighty Profits – Mighty hard to swallow
    Mighty River Power’s profit increase of 84 per cent is simply outrageous, says Labour’s Energy spokesperson David Shearer. “Demand for electricity is flat or declining yet the company has made enormous profits. It is the latest power company to celebrate...
    Labour | 19-08
  • Collins’ actions were wrong, not unwise
    John Key’s moral compass remains off-kilter as he cannot bring himself to declare Judith Collins’ actions outright wrong, not simply ‘unwise’, said Labour MP Grant Robertson. “Under pressure John Key is finally shifting his stance but his failure to condemn...
    Labour | 19-08
  • Public servants behaving with more integrity than their masters
    The State Services Commission's new report on the integrity of our state services reflects the yawning gap between the behaviour of public servants and that of their political masters, Labour's State Services spokesperson Maryan Street says. “This report, which surveyed...
    Labour | 19-08
  • Phil Twyford Speech to NZCID
    "Labour's plan to build more and build better: how new approaches to housing, transport and urban development will deliver cities that work" Phil Twyford, Labour Party spokesperson on housing, transport, Auckland issues, and cities.  ...
    Labour | 19-08
  • Labour commits to independent Foreign Affairs and Trade
    “Labour is committed to New Zealand’s Foreign Affairs and Trade policy being independent and proactive, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says. “We are a small but respected country. Our voice and actions count in international affairs. Labour will take a...
    Labour | 19-08
  • Key must sack Collins over abhorrent actions
    The latest revelations that Judith Collins sent the contact details of a public servant to WhaleOil in a desperate attempt to divert media attention from a bad story is abhorrent, Labour MP Grant Robertson says. “John Key and Judith Collins...
    Labour | 19-08
  • Petition for Governor General of New Zealand to Investigate all the allegat...
      Now we see the inquiry will be a whitewash, that is secret, won’t be consulted with the Opposition, will have limited scope and will ignore Nicky Hager’s book, we must demand the Governor General step in and demand an...
    The Daily Blog | 01-09
  • Ashburton, 1 September 2014
    I NEVER WENT BACK to Aramoana after the killing. I had been a frequent visitor to the tiny seaside village back in the late 1970s and throughout the 80s. Its tall cliffs and broad beaches providing a colourful backdrop to...
    The Daily Blog | 01-09
  • Checkmate in 1 move – how could Slater have known what was in OIA request...
    And now we get down to the final few moves before checkmate. If the following investigation is right, how could Slater and Collins have known what was in the Secret Intelligence Service Official Information Act request that hadn’t been released...
    The Daily Blog | 01-09
  • The Edge Posts Naked Photos Of Jennifer Lawrence Without Consent
    Today the Edge website – owned by Media Works – published fully naked photographs of Jennifer Lawrence without her consent. It is not OK to publish naked media of any woman without her consent, full stop. It is absolutely disgusting...
    The Daily Blog | 01-09
  • Bomber, Laila and Maggie – a highlight from Auckland Broadcasting Debate ...
    Bomber, Laila and Maggie – a highlight from Auckland Broadcasting Debate 2014...
    The Daily Blog | 01-09
  • Jeremy Wells’ Mike Hosking rant on Radio Hauraki: Today, how good was I i...
    Jeremy Wells’ Mike Hosking on Radio Hauraki...
    The Daily Blog | 31-08
  • Maggie Barry slags Laila Harre & blogger, audience erupt
    The Coalition for Better Broadcasting held their public meeting in Auckland last night and it became a fiery shouting match when Maggie Barry decided to slag Laila Harre and me off. 250 people packed into the Pioneer Hall off High...
    The Daily Blog | 31-08
  • It has to be a full independent public inquiry and Key MUST front
      You know things are bad when images like this start appearing in the media.  It isn’t a ‘left wing conspiracy’ to point out the over whelming evidence of what is clearly a right wing conspiracy! If it looks like a conspiracy, sounds like a conspiracy...
    The Daily Blog | 31-08
  • Political Party social media stats – National playing Dirty Politics on s...
    Interesting data from friend of the blog, Marty Stewart, on social media likes and it shows an interesting question that post Dirty Politics should probably get asked…   …it’s interesting that Key has so many personal followers.  One wonders if...
    The Daily Blog | 31-08
  • The depth of the National rot and the compliance of our news media
    I’m so tired. Aren’t you? I don’t want to read the news anymore. It’s awful and I feel ashamed of it. We live in a country that people all over the world would give an arm, a leg; their life...
    The Daily Blog | 31-08
  • Conservative Party candidate links smacking ban with suicide, sexually tran...
    If Chemtrails, faked moon landings and climate change denial weren’t enough, welcome to your new Minister for Spanking,  Edward Saafi... The anti-smacking law is to blame for youth suicide, youth prostitution and even sexually-transmitted infections, a leading Conservative party candidate...
    The Daily Blog | 31-08
  • A brief word on the canonisation of Matthew Hooton
    Before we all start the canonisation of Matthew Hooton, let’s consider some home truths here shall we? While the Wellington Ruminator Blog, the blog who was previously mates with Judith Collins, now seems to have a crush on Matthew Hooton… …I...
    The Daily Blog | 31-08
  • A brief word on undercover cops in bars
    Dunedin police booze operation labelled ‘creepy’ Undercover police officers drank in Dunedin bars as part of an operation targeting liquor licensing offences. While police said the inaugural operation was a success — with most bars found compliant — the Hospitality...
    The Daily Blog | 31-08
  • Judith Collins press conference
    Judith Collins press conference...
    The Daily Blog | 31-08
  • GUEST BLOG: Angry Lawyer – Collins, Odgers, Williams and legal ethics
    We deserve better lawyers than Judith Collins Three of the worst offenders exposed in Dirty Politics are lawyers: Judith Collins, Cathy Odgers, and Jordan Williams. What Nicky Hager exposed them doing would be out of line for anyone, but from...
    The Daily Blog | 31-08
  • GUEST BLOG: Pat O’Dea – Necessary Defence
    Increasingly climate change is becoming the main fracture line between political parties. Where political parties stand on climate change defines political parties and movements like no other issue. The Mana Movement like the Maori Party it sprang from, came out...
    The Daily Blog | 31-08
  • Why it is all over for John Key
    Image: Melanie D I’ve been confident that National will lose this election and that our focus should be on what a progressive Government needs to establish as its agenda in the first 100 days. Past that point, the establishment pushes back...
    The Daily Blog | 31-08
  • A brief word to everyone who voted National in 2011
    I received this interesting email from a National Party supporter today… …let me say this to anyone who voted National last election – you should be ashamed by what has been revealed and what your vote ended up enabling but...
    The Daily Blog | 31-08
  • EXCLUSIVE: Déjà Vu All Over Again: John Ansell confirms his participation...
      THE MAN BEHIND the Iwi-Kiwi billboards that very nearly won the 2005 election for Don Brash and the National Party has confirmed his involvement in businessman John Third’s and former Act MP Owen Jennings’ campaign to drive down the...
    The Daily Blog | 31-08
  • Public Broadcasting Auckland debate 6.30pm tonight now with Colin Craig &am...
    The Coalition for Better Broadcasting debate on public broadcasting happens tonight at 6.30pm in Auckland at the Pioneer Women’s Hall, High Street, Auckland City.  In the light of Dirty Politics and the manipulation of the media, public broadcasting is more important for...
    The Daily Blog | 30-08
  • Winners & Losers in Collins sacking plus what’s the latest on Slater...
      Make no mistake, there was no way this was a resignation, it’s a face saving way out for Collins, she was sacked.  My understanding is that National internal polls are haemorrhaging and that the powers that be within National...
    The Daily Blog | 30-08
  • Third party propaganda attacks incoming Labour-led government
    . . Further to a report by Daily Blogger, Chris Trotter, on receiving information regarding planned attack-billboards, the following billboard is highly visible to traffic on the southbound lane of the Wellington motorway, just prior to the Murphy St turn-off....
    The Daily Blog | 30-08
  • Labour wins the Internet
    I’m sure I’m not the only one who tried to vote online for the leaders debate and couldn’t because the website was down. The next option was the txt vote, 75c a pop of course. So I’m not surprised that...
    The Daily Blog | 30-08
  • GUEST BLOG: Anjum Rahman – Rotherham and the need to challenge willful bl...
    I haven’t been following the events in Rotterham too closely.  I’ve read about the basic issues and the culture of silence that stopped action been taken even after complaints were made.  That culture of silence is incredibly familiar, and described...
    The Daily Blog | 30-08
  • Review: Hairspray
      Oh Hairspray! What fun! Somehow I managed to miss the movie when it came out, I had no idea really what it was about though I felt it had a vague relation to High School Musical. In retrospect, that...
    The Daily Blog | 30-08
  • Mounting global pressure against Timor-Leste’s ‘death sentence’ media...
    East Timor’s José Belo … courageous fight against ‘unconstitutional’ media law.Image: © Ted McDonnell 2014 CAFÉ PACIFIC and the Pacific Media Centre Online posted challenges to the controversial ‘press law’ nine months ago when it emerged how dangerous this draft...
    The Daily Blog | 30-08
  • GUEST BLOG: Curwen Rolinson – Spies, Lies and When Campaigns Are Fried
    Like most of the rest of the nation’s political classes, I was eagerly affixed to TV One from 12:30 on Saturday afternoon to witness the downfall of Judith Collins.Whenever we witness the crumbling of a titan of the political landscape...
    The Daily Blog | 30-08
  • BREAKING: Whaleoil crushes Crusher
    Judith ends up shooting herself A new email has been released suggesting that Collins was attempting to undermine the head of Serious Fraud Office with the help of far right hate speech merchant Cameron Slater. Unbelievable!   She has been forced...
    The Daily Blog | 30-08
  • BREAKING: Rumours Judith Collins gone at lunchtime
    Brook Sabin first of the mark with rumours Judith Collins is about to resign – PM announcing a statement at 12.30pm… …Paddy follows… …Vance confirms..   …if Collins is gone by lunchtime, it will be because the PM understands the...
    The Daily Blog | 29-08
  • BREAKING: UPDATE on DIRT ALERT!
    Thanks to the information passed to Chris Trotter by “Idiot/Savant” from No Right Turn it is now possible to identify at least some of the persons involved in this latest example of attack politics. What follows is Chris’s response to Idiot/Savant’s timely assistance: Well done...
    The Daily Blog | 29-08
  • Comparing burning puppets, hip hop lyrics and drunk student chants to black...
    Watching the mainstream media try and obscure Cunliffe’s surprise win in the leaders debate  is a reminder the Press Gallery is in depressed shock. The current spin line from the Wellington bubble media in the wake of Dirty Politics is that...
    The Daily Blog | 29-08
  • Why has it all gone quiet on Charter Schools?
    They’re one of ACT’s flagship policies and the National Party have been gung ho in supporting them. So how come we’re not hearing Hekia Parata, Jamie Whyte, Catherine Isaac, et al singing from the rafters about what a resounding success charter...
    The Daily Blog | 29-08
  • Moment of Truth – September 15th – Auckland Town Hall
    Moment of Truth – September 15th – Auckland Town Hall...
    The Daily Blog | 29-08
  • EXCLUSIVE: Dirt Alert! Are the Greens and Labour about to become the target...
    WE’VE SEEN IT ALL BEFORE. In 2005 pamphlets began appearing all over New Zealand attacking Labour and the Greens. For a couple of days both the parties targeted and the news media were flummoxed. Who was behind such an obviously...
    The Daily Blog | 29-08
  • The Donghua Liu Affair: the Press Council’s decision
    . . 1. Prologue . The Donghua Liu Affair hit  the headlines on 18 June, with allegations that David Cunliffe wrote a letter in 2003,  on  behalf of  business migrant, Donghua Liu. Four days later, on Sunday 22 June, the...
    The Daily Blog | 29-08
  • The difference between Cunliffe & Key in the debate
    It was with much interest that I watched the leaders debate on Thursday night.  I watched with an open mind, always happy to have my opinion changed.  Maybe John Key is all the wonderful things that many say about him,...
    The Daily Blog | 29-08
  • GUEST BLOG: Denis Tegg – When Did We Agree To Our Data Being Shared with ...
    New shocking evidence has emerged from Edward Snowden’s trove of documents about a program called ICREACH under which data collected by the GCSB is shared with 23 US spy agencies. Under new sharing agreements which appear to have commenced immediately after...
    The Daily Blog | 28-08
  • Why Internet MANA are the best political friends the Greens could ever get
    Metiria at last nights #GreenRoomNZ: standing on the shoulders and camera cases of giants  NZers, regardless of political spectrum or apathy level, have a wonderful beach cricket egalitarianism about us. If we can objectively conclude a winner, then that person...
    The Daily Blog | 28-08
  • Sick of the Sleaze? Protest against National’s dirty politics THIS SATURD...
    Sick of the Sleaze? Protest now dammit! Three weeks before the election, action is being taken across the country voicing a rejection of the National Government’s track record and direction. Rallies are being held in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin...
    The Daily Blog | 28-08
  • GUEST BLOG: Sir Edmund Thomas – Address at Nicky Hager public meeting
    I regard it as privilege to chair this public meeting. I have long had the greatest admiration for Nicky Hager’s work, and nothing I have read or heard in the media over the past week or so has caused me...
    The Daily Blog | 28-08
  • Labour and New Zealand Superannuation
    The kerfuffle in the wake of Nicky Hager’s Dirty Politics has had a detrimental impact on our discussion of economic policies. Signs are that the main beneficiaries of the dirty politics revelations will be Winston Peters and Colin Craig; certainly National suffered...
    The Daily Blog | 28-08
  • Coalition for Better Broadcasting – Mike Hosking and the Leader’s Debat...
    A few weeks ago I blogged that Mike Hosking was a terrible choice as moderator for the TV One Party Leader’s Debate, because he is so embarrassingly biased in favour of John Key. So I watched the show with curiosity,...
    The Daily Blog | 28-08
  • Democracy and Cancer: A critical analysis of Dirty Politics
    Twenty years ago, England’s renowned television playwright Denis Potter died of pancreatic cancer.  Readers may recall his two masterpieces ‘Pennies from Heaven’ and ‘The Singing Detective’.  During a final television interview with Melvyn Bragg, Potter declared that he had named...
    The Daily Blog | 28-08
  • Cunliffe beats Key in First Leaders debate
    I watched the First Leaders debate at the Green Party #GreenRoomNZ, they were very kind to include me and the atmosphere was great. The debate was a resounding victory to Cunliffe. He won Round 1, Round 2, Round 3 and...
    The Daily Blog | 28-08
  • LIVE STREAM: The Green Room Leader’s Debate from 6:30pm
    The Green Room will be hosted by media commentator Russel Brown, and will feature Green Co-leaders Metiria Turei and Russel Norman responding to the debate live, along with comment from thought leaders and commentators. ‘The Green Room’ 6pm – 8.30pm...
    The Daily Blog | 28-08
  • How many taxpayer funded staff does John Key need to prepare for a Leaders ...
    John Key is currently at the Auckland Stamford Plaza with 40 staff, 4 undercover police cars and an entire floor booked out in preparation for tonights Leader’s debate. Isn’t 40 staff including coms, flown up to Auckland for a debate...
    The Daily Blog | 28-08
  • A brief word on National Party Rodney MP, Mark Mitchell
    MP considers legal action against Nicky HagerThe National MP says he is considering taking a defamation case after the September 20 election.“Someone needs to be held accountable,” he said. Oh really champ? Brothers and sisters, there is a long way...
    The Daily Blog | 28-08
  • Greens advertise on Whaleoil – but not on The Daily Blog?
    PaknSave have shown ethical compass and blocked adverts on Whaleoil, yet the Greens are advertising on Whaleoil, and not The Daily Blog? I would imagine there are far more potential Green voters on The Daily Blog then ever are on...
    The Daily Blog | 28-08
  • It’s about the stupid economy stupid
    In focus group meetings, the sleepy hobbits of NZ by a staggering amount all believe that National are better economic stewards of the country than Labour, that’s why, instead of answering questions about blackmailing MPs, trawling brothels for dirt on...
    The Daily Blog | 28-08
  • Labour Policy vs National Policy
    John Key’s favourite defence spin at the moment is people want to talk about policy and not hear answers on the ethics of trawling brothels, why Slater was given SIS information, blackmailing MPs into standing down, rigging candidate elections and hacking...
    The Daily Blog | 28-08
  • Personal Statement by Matthew Hooton
    Personal Statement by Matthew Hooton 1 September 2014 For Immediate Release “This morning I made comments on Radio New Zealand’s Nine to Noon programme about an attempt by staff in the Prime Minister’s Office to interfere in the appointment...
    Scoop politics | 01-09
  • The Worm turns down for John Key
    John Key struggled to coax The Worm above the line in Thursday’s Leaders Debate, according to Roy Morgan’s Reactor, the original Worm. John Key struggled to coax The Worm above the line in Thursday’s Leaders Debate, according to Roy Morgan’s...
    Scoop politics | 01-09
  • The Edge Posts Naked Photos Without Consent
    The Edge website, owned by Media Works have published fully naked photographs of Jennifer Lawrence without her consent....
    Scoop politics | 01-09
  • Statement from the Governor-General on Ashburton Shootings
    The Governor-General, Lt Gen The Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae, has expressed his deep shock following the shooting of three people in Ashburton today....
    Scoop politics | 01-09
  • Update on IGIS inquiry into release of NZSIS information
    In recognition of the public interest, the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security, Cheryl Gwyn, took the unusual step of providing an update during the course of an inquiry and confirmed today that she would be summoning a number of individuals...
    Scoop politics | 01-09
  • An Open Government Plan developed in secrecy
    The State Services Commission sent NZ’s Open Government Action Plan to the international Open Government Partnership (OGP) Secretariat on 31 July. The countries involved in the OGP since its inception - from the UK and US to Indonesia and Brazil...
    Scoop politics | 01-09
  • KiwiRail; another year older and deeper in debt
    That is a lot of money and there are lessons that need to be learnt before we pour in another $1 billion....
    Scoop politics | 01-09
  • Fonterra China Deal Demands Safe Supply Chain
    The future success of Fonterra’s deal to sell infant formula in China [1] requires all milk it uses be safe and for Fonterra to secure its supply chain from contamination by GE DNA and pesticide residues. There is now significant...
    Scoop politics | 01-09
  • HRC praises Auckland mum for speaking out
    Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy has praised an Auckland mother of four who went public after humiliating treatment by staff at The Warehouse....
    Scoop politics | 01-09
  • Southern DHB refers disputed issue to Serious Fraud Office
    Following advice from forensic investigation firm Beattie Varley Limited, Southern District Health Board has referred the expenditure at the centre of its long running dispute with South Link Health to the Serious Fraud Office. The parties have been...
    Scoop politics | 01-09
  • The Letter 1 September 2014
    Last night’s TVNZ Colmar Brunton poll puts the left and right 60 MPs each. United and the Maori Party say they will go with the side that gets to 61 MPs. ACT just needs just 1.3% or 28 thousand Party...
    Scoop politics | 01-09
  • Shopping Giveaway Harmless Fun For Kids
    Family First NZ is rubbishing claims by critics including Gareth Morgan that the New World ‘Little Shop’ promotion is harmful for kids, and says that kids should be allowed to be kids. “Children love acting like their parents and pretending...
    Scoop politics | 01-09
  • Red Cross launches employment service for former refugees
    New Zealand Red Cross is encouraging employers to give refugees a fresh startwith the launch of Pathways to Employment, a nationwide work assistance service....
    Scoop politics | 01-09
  • EDS welcomes Labour’s Conservation Policy
    The Environmental Defence Society has welcomed Labour’s Conservation Policy including the key objective of halting the current pattern of indigenous biodiversity decline within ten years....
    Scoop politics | 01-09
  • Poverty is falling and income inequality is not rising
    “A Roy Morgan poll shows that the issue people are most concerned about is income inequality. This just goes to show how the persistent repetition of a lie bewilders the public. Income inequality is not in fact rising. And the...
    Scoop politics | 01-09
  • Rotary NZ responding to Fiji water and sanitation issues
    Clean water and sanitation are vital to health. In Fiji Rotary New Zealand have been targeting 22 communities that are experiencing severe hardship mainly because they don’t have access to clean water for their drinking, cleaning and cooking needs....
    Scoop politics | 01-09
  • Work & Income shooting a Tragedy
    Kay Brereton speaking on behalf of the National Beneficiary Advocacy Consultancy group says; “Two people shot and another wounded, this is a tragedy and our deepest sympathy goes out to the family and whanau of the victims, as well as...
    Scoop politics | 01-09
  • 1080 Poison Deer Repellent not Effective – Farmers
    Four deer have been found dead within a farmer's bush block, after an aerial 1080 poison drop applied with deer repellent. The drop was part of a 30,000 hectare drop across the Northern Pureora Forest Park....
    Scoop politics | 01-09
  • Employment Charter will strengthen migrants’ rights
    Establishing an Employment Charter for construction companies is a critical step to strengthening the rights of migrant workers that are fast becoming the face of the Christchurch rebuild, according to an alliance of union groups. The charter has...
    Scoop politics | 01-09
  • Global March For Elephants and Rhino
    It’s a trans-national business that funds terrorist organisations, fuels conflict in Africa, and poses environmental, development and security challenges. The illegal wildlife trade is also a lucrative business, generating an estimated USD$20 billion...
    Scoop politics | 01-09
  • New series of videos aimed at disengaged youth
    From the people who brought you 'NZ Idle' (NZ's favourite web series about an artist on the dole) comes a new series about election time: Choice Lolz....
    Scoop politics | 01-09
  • Picket Of Leaders Christchurch Debate
    KEEP OUR ASSETS PICKET OF LEADERS CHRISTCHURCH DEBATE TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 2nd, 6 p.m. ST MARGARETS COLLEGE, SHREWSBURY STREET, MERIVALE...
    Scoop politics | 01-09
  • Vega Auriga should be detained in NZ until problems fixed
    Maritime Union of New Zealand National Secretary Joe Fleetwood says that the ship Vega Auriga should be detained in a New Zealand port until it is deemed seaworthy and crew issues have been fixed....
    Scoop politics | 01-09
  • Minor Parties Added to Election ‘Bribe-O-Meter’
    The Taxpayers’ Union have added the Green, ACT, United Future and Conservative Parties to the ‘ Bribe-O-Meter ’ hosted at taxpayers.org.nz . Excluding ACT and New Zealand First, the total election ‘bribes’ - that is new spending not already...
    Scoop politics | 31-08
  • Fiery Broadcasting Debate in Auckland
    Over 250 people turned out for the Auckland Broadcasting and Media Debate in Auckland City last night to hear politicians give their solutions to NZ’s media and broadcasting woes....
    Scoop politics | 31-08
  • Independent Epsom Candidate: Adam Holland
    Today I am very proud to have been nominated to run as an independent candidate by the people of Epsom in order to work hard for the people of Epsom, Mount Eden, Newmarket and Remuera....
    Scoop politics | 31-08
  • Voters favour parties with factory farming policies
    A Horizon Research poll shows that 64.7% of adults are more likely to vote for a political party with a policy against factory farming....
    Scoop politics | 31-08
  • Collins And Dirty Politics Drive The #nzpol Wordcloud
    After Judith Collins' resignation as Minister from Cabinet on Saturday, the data insight organisation Qrious collected all tweets that used the hashtag #nzpol and for approximately the 24 hours since the announcement to produced this wordcloud....
    Scoop politics | 31-08
  • Bill English: allegations against Judith Collins are serious
    Deputy Prime Minister Bill English told TV1’s Q+A programme that the allegations against Judith Collins are serious and that’s why an inquiry is needed....
    Scoop politics | 31-08
  • Culture Change Required
    "There are serious issues raised in an Employment Relations Authority judgement released this week. The culture within the Whangarei District Council (WDC) organisation must change. The culture of any organisation is defined by its leadership starting...
    Scoop politics | 31-08
  • Reducing Reoffending Statistic Challenged
    In Rethinking’s latest blog, http://blog.rethinking.org.nz/2014/08/th-bps-reducing-crime-and-reoffending.html it closely examines the current claim that reoffending in New Zealand has reduced by 12.5% since June 2011, and reveals how that figure has been achieved. It argues...
    Scoop politics | 31-08
  • University economics team studying workers’ comparing wages
    A University of Canterbury economics research team is looking at fairness of the job assignments and whether workers are sensitive to the wages of their co-workers....
    Scoop politics | 31-08
  • Statement by State Services Commissioner
    30 August 2014 "The State Services Commission was contacted by the Prime Minister's Office over the last 24 hours on this issue." “Any activity that undermines, or has the potential to undermine, the trust and confidence in the public service...
    Scoop politics | 31-08
  • Christchurch Council Circus … Continued
    In 2010 the UK Daily Mail investigated the antics of a major bureaucratically bloated London Local Authority and reported with THE GREAT INERTIA SECTOR ....
    Scoop politics | 30-08
  • The Nation Housing Debate
    Patrick It's the great Kiwi dream, but is owning the roof over your head now just a pipe dream for many Kiwis? Homeownership is at the lowest level in half a century. National's answer is to double subsidies to first-home...
    Scoop politics | 30-08
  • Time to Shine Light on Shadowy Spies
    Internet MANA has promised to set up a Royal Commission of Inquiry into New Zealand’s intelligence agencies, with a view to transferring oversight of spying operations to a new, independent authority....
    Scoop politics | 30-08
  • New Zealand’s biggest problems are Economic Issues
    New Zealand’s biggest problems are Economic Issues (41%) while the World’s most important problems are War & Terrorism (35%) just three weeks before NZ Election...
    Scoop politics | 29-08
  • NZ 2014 Leaders Index – week ending 29 August
    Below is iSentia’s first weekly Leaders’ Index, showing the relative amount of coverage of nine Party Leaders in the lead up to the National Election across news media and social media. We will produce these reports for the next three...
    Scoop politics | 29-08
  • Judgment in Paki v Attorney General
    Tamaiti Cairns said that today’s Supreme Court decision is complicated, but, in essence opens the door for Maori people to go forward with their essential claims to water. Further work is required and Pouakani Trust will continue to pursue its...
    Scoop politics | 29-08
  • Supreme Court Decision on Maori Water Rights
    “ … the Supreme Court refused to give Pouakani people what they asked for, but may have given them something much, much better instead. The Appellants had argued that the Crown’s ownership of the River was as a fiduciary for...
    Scoop politics | 29-08
  • Leaders Dinner with Campbell Live, Dessert with RadioLIVE
    John Campbell is hosting Colin Craig, Winston Peters, Laila Harre, Metiria Turei, Peter Dunne, Jamie Whyte and Te Ururoa Flavell LIVE from Auckland’s Grand Harbour Restaurant on Wednesday 3 September at 7pm....
    Scoop politics | 29-08
  • Credit unions in the political spotlight
    Dirty politics was put aside last night as senior politicians outlined their universal support for growing the cooperatively owned credit union and mutual building society sector in New Zealand....
    Scoop politics | 29-08
  • Maryan Street on issues of importance to older people
    Liam Butler interviews Hon Maryan Street MP on issues of importance to older New Zealanders...
    Scoop politics | 29-08
  • John Hanita Paki and others v The Attorney-General
    JOHN HANITA PAKI, TORIWAI ROTARANGI, TAUHOPA TE WANO HEPI, MATIU MAMAE PITIROI AND GEORGE MONGAMONGA RAWHITI v THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL OF NEW ZEALAND FOR AND ON BEHALF OF THE CROWN (“THE CROWN”) (SC 7/2010)...
    Scoop politics | 29-08
  • Last Nights Leaders Debate Drives The #nzpol Wordcloud
    Following last nights leaders debate on TV One between John Key and David Cunliffe, the data insight organisation Qrious collected all tweets that used the hashtag #nzpol from approximately the last 24 hours to produce this wordcloud....
    Scoop politics | 29-08
  • Campaign suggests reason behind suicide gender statistics
    An online campaign about meaning and belonging has revealed an interesting connection with the difference in suicide rates between men and women....
    Scoop politics | 29-08
  • Act Policy Vindicated by Sensible Sentencing Data
    ACT Leader Dr Jamie Whyte says the Sensible Sentencing Trust's just released analysis of 3 Strikes legislation "proves ACT was right to promote the policy and that it has made New Zealand a much safer country. The figures show beyond...
    Scoop politics | 29-08
  • “Robin Hood tax and other clever ways to help our kids”
    It’s time to talk about tax. Not just income tax but other kinds of tax too....
    Scoop politics | 29-08
  • Cannabis Laws Breach Treaty – ALCP
    Cannabis prohibition is neo-colonial oppression resulting in the disproportionate imprisonment of Maori, the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party says....
    Scoop politics | 29-08
  • 2014 Variation Broadcasting Allocation Decision Released
    The Electoral Commission has released a variation decision on the amount of time and money allocated to political parties for the broadcasting of election programmes for the 2014 General Election....
    Scoop politics | 29-08
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