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Community groups abandon Smith’s water forum

Written By: - Date published: 8:37 am, March 11th, 2017 - 14 comments
Categories: national, useless, water - Tags: , , , , ,

What a farce:

Fourth group quits water forum

Another group that promotes improving water quality has resigned from the government’s Land and Water Forum.

The Federated Mountain Clubs, which has 20,000 members, has written to the Environment Minister Nick Smith saying it is pulling out.

Forest and Bird quit the forum this week and Fish and Game left in 2015, along with Environment and Conservation Organisations of Aotearoa New Zealand (ECO).

Forest & Bird said it was leaving the forum after its recommendations had been largely ignored by government, and Fish and Game said it was being muzzled and stopped from speaking out on environmental issues.

Federated Mountain Clubs vice-president Jan Finlayson said the freshwater policy was the breaking point.

“The government has treated Land and Water Forum very improperly. I think the stakeholders acted in good faith but were let done by a government that simply ignored their advice.” …

Will Nick Smith get the message and set in place a realistic consultation process and safe standards, or will he persist with a plan so bad that no one wants to be associated with it? Why does Bill English tolerate this fool?

The letter from Forest and Bird makes for depressing reading.

14 comments on “Community groups abandon Smith’s water forum”

  1. Draco T Bastard 1

    The whole point of this venture was as cover for the government to do what it liked. To be able to say that they had consulted and had listened.

    It never had any intention of listening to those groups. The only people it will listen to is the rich and the farmers and it will cater to them to do anything they like without regard for others.

  2. Adrian 2

    the Nats dont even listen to the farmers much, they just take them for granted.

  3. slumbergod 3

    “Why does Bill English tolerate this fool?”

    Simple. Bill English is also a fool. And a tosser. And an asshole. And a sociopath.

    Let’s hope that enough Kiwis realise their darling Natzi Party is a con and vote for someone else just to evict them from govt.

  4. Keith 4

    Times come to forget Nick Smith and forget National, you can’t deal with them. They have no interest in conservation of even anything resembling clean waterways. Even if they feigned acting in good faith you could never trust them!

    This very big issue is for a government other than the NAT/Maori Party/ACT shambles.

    • AB 4.1

      True enough – but the sad thing is that we shouldn’t have needed to find this out the hard way, by actually having them in government for 9 years.
      Their behaviour could have been quite accurately predicted in 2008 if anyone had been awake, instead of going off their nuts about light-bulbs and not smacking kids.
      It’s going to take more than a decade – more than the lifetime of the next centre left government – to get anywhere close to tidying up the mess they’ve made.

      That’s why Ad’s idea below of supporting Forest and Bird is such a good one – they are a permanent presence on the scene.

  5. Ad 5

    Forest and Bird have received a $5m endowment recently.

    They are going to use it on water quality campaigning.

    With that $$, and a likely win in the Supreme Court coming up on Ruataniwha, they will be a massive force for any government to deal with. Now or future.

    Personally I find volunteering for them more positive than supporting a political party.

  6. Sabine 6

    Because Bill English does consider him the fool that does what he is told, and that is all that matters.

    Water, housing, transport, they are not fools, they do what is the best for them, what makes the most bang for buck – in their pockets of course, or in the pockets of their paymasters.

    I think really that after so many years of that bullshit we really should cut out the “why does he tolerates him.

    They have no issues tolerating each other as they are on the same page. They, the double dipper and his enforcer have an issue tolerating us and our insistence in decent housing, clean water and good infrastructure.

  7. Keepcalmcarryon 7

    Nationals ecological disaster- public funded irrigation lunacy was torn a new one on The Nation this morning. Recommend everyone watch it.
    Free hit for labour.

  8. lprent 8

    What I found rather appalling was the commentary by Gary Taylor after Forest and Bird dropped out

    Environment Defence Society chief executive Gary Taylor – whose organisation is a member – said Forest and Bird’s withdrawal in particular would hurt the forum.

    “But there’s still more than 60 entities left, all of whom remain staunch on the recommendations around the key issues [on freshwater] that are still controversial.

    “So we figure that we’re better off defending the forum’s consensus with that weight behind us than jumping out and trying to be a solo voice.”

    Bearing in mind that Nick Smith and the government have effectively ignored or diluted to stupidity most of the substantive recommendations that the LAWF have hammered out. This is just outright weird.

    In effect Nick Smith and his government has reduced the existing water standards primarily to make it easier for industries to pollute. The government’s primary excuse for their clear proposed removal of all substantive bounds to alleviate the rapid fall in water quality is to make the PR easier to sell. But to anyone with any sense of how Nick Smith operates, it appears more likely that they were removed to make them disappear.

    It is like this frigging bullshit from EDS

    The announcement is generally consistent with some of the Land and Water Forums recommendations, said EDS CEO Gary Taylor.

    For the first time, swimmability is the objective in freshwater management.

    We will have transparency regarding which lakes and rivers are in fact swimmable and which are not. This will vary across seasons and places. Regional councils will need to improve degraded systems with a target of achieving 90% swimmability by 2040.

    It isn’t consistent with virtually any of the LAWF’s recommendations. Even if you just took the very limited ‘swimmability’ question. The Forest and Bird’s points in their letter (linked in the post) makes it clear that proposals from the Government exclude most waterways by defining a swimming area as being enormously large and then focus almost entirely on one specific threat – e-coli, without considering the basics like having enough water or water supply to make the waterway safe.

    As it is, even most of the swimmable waterways in the proposal are likely not be given enough water to prevent the buildup of toxins, fertilizer, or organic forms other than a single marker (and often irrelevant) of e-coli. They will still be dangerous to get into, just less dangerous in one specific way. In the meantime having such a narrow standard will mean that water can be diverted from waterways that haven’t be plundered and destroyed yet, and they too can drop to the same low standard that Nick Smith proposes.

    Given all that it is hard to look at the EDS and see anything except a group that is more interested in being behind the decision making table than being effective for the environment. Sure you can see that they have stake in the failed strategy that is the LAWF – they were the group that it formed around back in 2008. But it is clear that the approach simply isn’t working.

    Now they look more like a ineffective Quisling or Vichy type loincloth covering the horrors of the government and industry attempts to further degrade the commonly held environment for their own profit.

    But I guess that is what a blue-green is, eh? A group more concerned about the look of doing something than actually being effective.

    Personally I suspect that the only thing that Nick Smith or this government will understand is being pulled into court and forced to justify their actions in public. Because it is pretty damn clear that they just view bodies like LAWF as cover while they operate in bad faith.

    I’d suggest that the EDS, rather than issuing their rather pathetic paens about how well the LAWF is operating, should instead outline at what level of being ignored that they would consider leaving the LAWF and starting to work on something more effective. I’m sure that we’d all find that an edifying thing to point to in the future of this organisation.

  9. gsays 9

    there seem to be lots of these small protests/oppositions mounting up.
    as has been stated, doc is taking forest and bird to court over ruataniwha (wtf! my money being used to protect and further private interests in hawkes bay), go maggie!

    former partners dropping like flies in the states water forum.

    over $700,000 spent on lawyers fighting folks who claim they were vitims of state violence when wards of the state. the defence from the ptb was that the action was to make sure money didn’t go where it shouldn’t go.

    less of, death by a thousand cuts and more like death by lots of gaping wounds.
    and with the arrogance apparent in this 3rd term reigime, it will bleed and bleed and bleed.

  10. Cinny 10

    The thing about Nickoff is .. it’s his way or the highway. He is a bully whose arrogance reins supreme, a special kind of attention seeking stupid is what he is.

    Wow so four large groups have quit the water forum, good on them, that’s something to feel proud about.

    He has massively underestimated how important water is to us Kiwi’s and to those in his Nelson electorate.

    See you at your street corner meetings in September Nickoff, I’ve got some information to share with your voters

  11. Thinkerr 11

    I’m not sure why, but this (what passes for) government seems to have a sole ambition to have a balanced book, regardless of whatever other post-apocalyptic state the rest of the country is in.

    And the balancing of the books (which many of us believe is a myth, given the connection with how much the country borrows) is so precarious that it has to resort to political games like the subject of this article and more, to hopefully achieve its singleminded goal.

    I can think of many flaws with this, as I’m sure most of us can, but from their point of view, I think there are two major ones:

    1. The massive gains that their neoliberal ideology said would materialise from the things they have done have failed to materialise.

    2. They rely too much on polling, where people say how they think they would act, without knowing. Hypothetical example – people who think they wouldnt mind losing a few national parks in return for tax cuts but when reality bites they think differently.

  12. Ian 12

    Lots of human poos going into the water at the moment. Message to Aucklanders. Don’t swim in your local stream because you will be in the shit

  13. michelle 13

    shit is everywhere and we are being fed bullshit from a crap government

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