In defence of Eugenie Sage

Written By: - Date published: 7:28 am, June 15th, 2018 - 154 comments
Categories: China, Conservation, Environment, farming, greens, International, uncategorized, water - Tags:

It can be tough being a Minister in a progressive Government.  Having a truck load of ministerial staff wanting to keep you on the non contentious straight and narrow, lots of laws to comply with, well resourced business interests wanting to ensure that every decision you make is to their benefit and an expectation from the good people who put you into Parliament that you will make the world a better place.

Green Minister Eugenie Sage has received some flack lately.  She made a decision under the Overseas Investment Act to allow a Chinese company to purchase a bottling plant and some sensitive land so it could bottle and export water.  Local Green members hated the decision.

Radio New Zealand has the details:

The Green Party is facing blowback from supporters who say it has sold out after one of its ministers allowed a Chinese water bottling giant to expand.

Senior Green MP and Land Information Minister Eugenie Sage has approved the expansion of an existing Otakiri Springs water bottling plant near Whakatāne.

Creswell NZ – which is owned by Chinese water bottler Nongfu Spring – lodged the application.

Ms Sage said she thought long and hard about the decision, but her hands were tied by the law.

“I made my decision as a minister. My internal feelings are irrelevant,” she said.

The application satisfied the criteria set out in the Overseas Investment Act, she said.

“It was using the criteria in the Act … if there is a substantial and identifiable benefit for New Zealanders … then the decision must be granted.”

Local members hated the decision although co leader Marama Davidson accurately assessed the merits of the decision.  Again from Radio New Zealand:

Hundreds of commenters have lashed out on Ms Sage’s Facebook page, with many labelling her a “sellout”.

On Twitter, former Green MP Sue Bradford called the decision a “betrayal” and a “sad day for Green voters”.

The Greens campaigned last election on banning new water bottling consents and putting a charge on water exports.

Ms Sage said the government included special enforcement conditions to ensure the company did provide its promised 60 jobs for New Zealanders.

Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson said the decision went against Green Party kaupapa and policy.

But she said the minister was constrained by a flawed Act.

“It was always going to be hard … but we will continue to uphold our kaupapa on this while also understand the constraints of the minister.”

Some details of the decision have been reported on the Government’s Land Information website.  The relevant details are:

The Applicant is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Nongfu Spring Co. Limited, a large bottled water supplier based in China.  The Applicant has been granted consent to acquire the land identified above upon which there is an existing water bottling facility and kiwifruit orchard.

The Applicant intends to expand the water bottling facility and, in particular:

  • introduce into New Zealand approximately $42 million within four years to improve the plant and to introduce two high speed bottling lines;
  • increase productivity on the Land as a result of increasing daily bottling capacity by approximately 900%;
  • create full-time equivalent positions on the Land, and retain existing jobs associated with the water bottling business bringing FTE jobs to a total of 60 once the water bottling facility reaches full capacity; and
  • generate more than $65 million in new export receipts.

We consider that these benefits are substantial and identifiable in the context of the land being acquired, being approximately 6 hectares of rural land, and with reference to the nature and extent of the Applicant’s proposed investment,

As a condition of consent, the Applicant may only acquire the Land if relevant regional and district councils grant to the Applicant the required resource consents to undertake certain activities necessary to give effect to the Investment.

So same land, increased production, more jobs and $65 million in export receipts.  And RMA hoops to jump through although they can be frustratingly easy.

The relevant section of the Act requires, in the case of sensitive rural land over 5 hectares in size, that the relevant Ministers “determine that that benefit will be, or is likely to be, substantial and identifiable”.  There are other requirements but from the looks of the decision they were all met.  Once this and the other tests were met Sage did not really have a choice.

She could have said no.  Then as fast as you could say Judicial Review the decision would have been reversed by the High Court.

The solution is a law change.  I hope this decision accelerates work on amendments to the Act.  And that work is done on the Treaty of Waitangi claim concerning water.  Because water is clearly a taonga under article two of the treaty.  Maori have made it clear that they are happy to share water with everyone but if someone is making a profit from its sale they have a legitimate expectation to a share.

But in the meantime blame my legal training and experience but I think Eugenie Sage had no choice and has acted the way a competent Minister should.

154 comments on “In defence of Eugenie Sage”

  1. One Anonymous Bloke 1

    With any luck this will be a learning moment. Ministers are not dictators.

    Unless the National Party is in government, that is. Then they simply break the law with impunity.

    • roy cartland 1.1

      +111

    • dukeofurl 1.2

      problem is OIA does allow Ministers to direct the application process

      heres the relevant section of the Act

      34 Ministerial directive letter
      (1)
      The Minister may direct the regulator by a Ministerial directive letter, and the regulator must comply with it.
      (2)
      Subsection (1) applies even if the subject matter of the Ministerial directive letter relates to a power that has been delegated to the regulator.
      (3)
      A Ministerial directive letter may direct the regulator about the following things:
      (a)
      the Government’s general policy approach to overseas investment in sensitive New Zealand assets, including the relative importance of different criteria or factors in relation to particular assets:
      (b)
      the asset types, value thresholds, and area thresholds over which the regulator has power to make decisions:
      (c)
      the level of monitoring required in relation to conditions of consent:
      (d)
      the criteria for including reserves, public parks, or other sensitive areas on the list kept by the regulator under section 37:
      (e)
      any general or specific matter relating to the regulator’s functions, powers, or duties.

      http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/2005/0082/27.0/DLM356881.html

      While its true you can direct a particular application, the methods of processing can be changed over water bottling applications as the issues were well known before hand.
      This could have been done in the first months as Sage could have easily thought that she would be caught out by this issue sooner or later

    • Baba Yaga 1.3

      Your link is to an article about a MoH official not giving correct information to the government. How does that back up your claim?

  2. Matthew Whitehead 2

    Also worth noting: The consent is contingent on the promised 60 jobs actually showing up, and Minister Sage is likely to be watching water bottlers like hawks to ensure they comply with the conditions of their consents so she can cancel those that haven’t, so there’s still a possibility that this won’t go through.

    While I don’t like the decision as a Green Party member, I have to agree that Minister Sage has done the correct thing by following the law. That said, an urgent change to the Overseas Investment Act should be made so that the Minister of Land Information can consider factors like the environmental consequences or Treaty consequences of an approval in their decisions, so that similar pending approvals (which I understand do exist right now) don’t have to be greenlit too.

    • tc 2.1

      She’s played a blinder here, considered the ministerial responsibilities, and done what she had to.

      Was the baying Bradford ever a minister ? What is it about the progressives and no discipline to the cause….it’s a single minor decision boxed in by the previous govt FFS.

      • andrew murray 2.1.1

        The trouble with each of the previous replies is that they fail to acknowledge how entirely predictable this predicament was. They should have seen it coming and it should have been publicly discussed/resolved during the formation of any coalition.

        • Matthew Whitehead 2.1.1.1

          This is certainly something that could have been predicted, but I can assure you that I have heard nothing about this issue being on Sage’s radar until the decision became imminent and there was no time to change the law before it needed to be made. (I actually get to talk to one of the people on her staff from time to time) Labour is still talking about not changing this law at all until later in its term, and making Eugenie Sage potentially approve more consents like this in the future while we await a convenient time in their schedule to review the Overseas Investment Act.

          I think a lot of people on this site overestimate how powerful support-party ministers are. The reality is that they have minimal staff and support structures (because hiring people is expensive and you only get so many of them “for free” from taxpayers) and are as frequently putting out fires as they are getting to implement their own plans. It is reasonable that the Greens missed that this was an area of risk, even if it looks bad to some that they did. These are the perils of being a support partner.

          Getting blindsided by these sorts of landmines sitting around is a typical thing that happens in the first term of new governments anyway. It would be nice if it didn’t happen, but I think expecting it not to when we under-fund political parties pretty badly as a nation is a bit unrealistic.

          • dukeofurl 2.1.1.1.1

            No need to change the law, which currently allows Ministerial Directives on what the issues to consider are ( but not individual applications)
            Done early enough it could apply to all water applications but wasnt.

            A Ministerial directive letter may direct the regulator about the following things:
            (a)the Government’s general policy approach to overseas investment in sensitive New Zealand assets, including the relative importance of different criteria or factors in relation to particular assets:

            etc etc

            particular assets could water processing ?

            • Macro 2.1.1.1.1.1

              But that is essentially just what she has done Duke.
              The granting of approval is contingent upon the appropriate investment and increasing jobs etc. If the company fails to deliver on these promises then they will be required to sell the land back.

              • dukeofurl

                No, those are just standard conditions for all consents, public benefit.

                Im talking about the assessment against iwi/local considerations which could be added and made a more important issue .
                viz
                (e)any general or specific matter relating to the regulator’s functions, powers, or duties.

                In real world its artesian water which isnt otherwise used so not many problems there. Local issues predominate over these bottling plants and the OIO could make that a major consideration for them only

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Im talking about the assessment against iwi/local considerations which could be added and made a more important issue .

                  And which requires a change in law which means that it needs to pass Labour and NZ1st. Labour is generally in favour of foreign ownership of NZ whereas NZ1st isn’t but they also don’t believe that Ti Tiriti matters.

                  It’s going to take awhile for the law to be changed.

                  And that’s ignoring how FTAs restrict the laws that government is allowed to make.

                  In real world its artesian water which isnt otherwise used so not many problems there.

                  Wow, with that one sentence your prove your ignorance.

                  Arizona and California are ignoring the science on water

                  But in allowing their residents to tap underground resources this way, regulators and legislators in Southwestern states have ignored an inconvenient truth about how much water is actually available for people to use: In many places, groundwater and surface water are not independent supplies at all. Rather, they are interconnected parts of the same system.

                  The science has been clear for the better part of a century. Drawing groundwater from near a stream can suck that stream dry. In turn, using all the water in streams and rivers lessens their ability to replenish the aquifers beneath them.

    • Southern Man 2.2

      It’s the role of a minister to develop policy, not to simply administer the policy of a previous government. At the SAME time she announced the decision, and her lame statement of personal opposition to it, she should have announced an intention to review the current policy to account for environmental and social considerations.

      Also, the claimed increase in employment is stated as 60 FTE (full time equivalents). You will not see 60 jobs/people – my guess (based on water plants that I have seen) is there will be a few full-time positions on site (which will be highly mechanised), with the others as part-time jobs across the whole value chain from Whakatane to China. If they keep their heads down, recipients of OIA approval are rarely if ever challenged to substantiate their claimed benefits.

      • solkta 2.2.1

        recipients of OIA approval are rarely if ever challenged to substantiate their claimed benefits

        We shall have to wait and see if your “are” in that sentence should actually be a “were”.

        Minister Clark and I made the consent conditional on Cresswell NZ Ltd delivering those promised jobs in an area which needs new employment. If they don’t eventuate the OIO can take enforcement action which includes the possibility of requiring the company to sell the investment. Budget 2018 provided the OIO with an extra $7 million in funding for its compliance and enforcement work.

        https://blog.greens.org.nz/2018/06/12/consent-whakatane-land/

      • Matthew Whitehead 2.2.2

        It is totally reasonable to abbreviate 60 FTE to “60 jobs,” even if you might have multiple people constituting those FTEs and thus more vacancies. That is absolute hair-splitting.

        And, like Solkta, I would be really surprised if Minister Sage isn’t looking to change the fact that the OIO isn’t doing enforcement on those conditions that require the substantiation of claimed benefits. If you can’t get them for environmental damage or subverting our Treaty obligations, we can at least get them for over-promising and under-delivering.

        • Planet Earth 2.2.2.1

          Matthew, checks against “environmental damage or subverting our Treaty obligations” shouldn’t be restricted to overseas investors only, i.e. any changes to those criteria should be well away from the OIA and should apply to all.

          • Matthew Whitehead 2.2.2.1.1

            Those grounds for denying land use are already in domestic legislation, as National didn’t manage to convince a plurality of parliament to gut the RMA despite trying desperately.

            But because they’re not in the Overseas Investment Act, (which we shouldn’t abbreviate to OIA for obvious reasons, perhaps OvIA is acceptable?) they can’t be used as refusal grounds. There are some very limited environmental grounds that can be considered like firebreaks or harm to native species, but those don’t really apply here and need to be expanded upon in the law.

            I agree we should be consistent between overseas investors and local investors in what reasons we can decline them for, with the possible exception of also applying criteria that overseas investment must benefit our economy as well, (eg. the minimum job requirement in this consent) although arguably you could apply something similar to the RMA too.

      • saveNZ 2.2.3

        Also those full time jobs will not only have to filled when the plant is at full capacity by the looks of it, years away… not good wording. No immediate jobs created.

        “bringing FTE jobs to a total of 60 once the water bottling facility reaches full capacity”

        Too much never never

    • saveNZ 2.3

      +1 Matthew Whitehead

      Although I don’t think it should have been approved. They don’t approve everything and someone has to set a precedent.

      But since it was it should have been contingent on 60 LOCAL jobs showing up at a minimum rate of $100k+ and a lot more “substantial benefits for NZ” aka also being for the entire length of the permitted activity and more jobs to be added in … no point if the jobs are just for non locals, cheap labour and disappear after 3 years if the purpose was to lift unemployment in that area into privilege not poverty wages…

      But certainly shows that the OIA needs immediate reform. Not only for that but also this

      https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=12011961

      Chinese buyers fined $847k after failing to get consent to buy $5m cliff-top Auckland mansion….

      “Huang, Zhou and Ouyang had made a quantifiable gain in relation to the property. They purchased it for $5.13m and sold it for $6.15m. The gross qualifiable gain was therefore $1.02m before taking into account the costs involved in selling the property.”

      ok they gained over 1.02m but only fined 847k and no damages awarded???? while NZ taxpayers pay for the investigation and justice costs… no wonder we are loved by the Chinese for our yokel business practises and they are here in force. Send the message, crime pays in NZ, no penalty if you don’t follow the rules, in fact it looks like when caught, it is ok to financially benefit under our legal system!

      • Matthew Whitehead 2.3.1

        I don’t think it SHOULD have been approved either, but pragmatically the law is the law and it hasn’t been changed yet, so it HAD to be approved.

        Definitely agree that any fine applied to an illegal commercial activity must be larger than the profit made by breaking the law in order for fines to be effective. This is the weakness of preset fine amounts in the law.

  3. DH 3

    Couple of thoughts…

    First is the above quote doesn’t say that 60 jobs will be created. It says there will be 60 FTE jobs total which one can reasonably interpret includes however many jobs already exist. So how many new jobs will be created?

    Second is that no mention is made of the downsides of the sale, and there undoubtedly are negatives to it. On an issue such as this the Greens would be expected to find more negatives than, say, National. So what are they?

    A ‘substantial benefit’ would need to appraised from the sum of the individual benefits minus the sum of the negatives. None of the stated benefits are proof of a substantial benefit.

    • Bearded Git 3.1

      @DH Good post Micky-Sage had no option to approve this and the Green voters who are screaming need to be careful they are not attacking the application simply because it is “a Chinese company”.

      What are the downsides? The only one I can think of is the fact that this water will be put in plastic bottles and shipped thousands of kilometres which is stupid. But this happens all the time and was not a reason Sage could use to turn down the application.

      NZ has plenty of water, so that is not a problem, and the application will create some jobs, so that is good.

      Rather than flailing around on this issue I would like to see Green supporters/voters (that’s me) push for a levy of 10c per litre on all water exported the proceeds of which to be earmarked in legislation specifically for the predator free by 2050 goal.

      • solkta 3.1.1

        We also need to support changing the Act, and every Act, to allow for Environmental and Treaty considerations.

      • DH 3.1.2

        “What are the downsides? ”

        The stated benefits themselves tell you what at least some of the downsides are.

        “introduce into New Zealand approximately $42 million within four years to improve the plant and to introduce two high speed bottling lines;”

        Ok, and how much will be taken out of NZ? Is the $42 million borrowed money, how much is the interest rate and how much money goes back offshore?

        “increase productivity on the Land as a result of increasing daily bottling capacity by approximately 900%;”

        Not a benefit for the Crown so it shouldn’t even be there. But the downside is the loss of alternate use for the land, the loss of alternate use for the water, the loss of future royalties on water, the impact on local infracstructure, roads, utilities and so on.

        “create full-time equivalent positions on the Land, and retain existing jobs associated with the water bottling business bringing FTE jobs to a total of 60 once the water bottling facility reaches full capacity;”

        As mentioned that’s meaningless without the full data, for all I know there could 59 jobs there already.

        “generate more than $65 million in new export receipts.”

        If that’s a benefit then the repatriation of profits back overseas must logically be a negative.

        Then there’s a whole bunch of other variables which the likes of the Greens can claim as negatives while the Nats would shrug them off. (Maori claims, environmental damage & risks etc)

        • solkta 3.1.2.1

          The post gives a link to the Act. That is the only criteria the Minister can use.

        • Bearded Git 3.1.2.2

          So any foreign company wishing to invest here is to be told to sod off because they will repatriate profits home?

          • DH 3.1.2.2.1

            No, I’m arguing that any foreign company wishing to invest here needs to prove there really is a substantial benefit and not the rubber stamping that went on when the Nats were in charge.

            The very word ‘substantial’ is subjective. How and who decides when something is substantial?

            • saveNZ 3.1.2.2.1.1

              Yep I agree DH, substantial seems VERY subjective, more like tiny when applied to how they look at OIA and a tiny drip in the bucket job wise and in the never never anyway.

              How can this be considered substantial to NZ, the precedent is more like substantially, detrimental to allow the flood gates of export bottled water. They need to add in social good, sustainability and local benefits, long term planning and so forth.

              At the moment the OIA and the minister’s and all the people around approving this interpretation is a joke.

          • Draco T Bastard 3.1.2.2.2

            Yes.

            Foreign investment is bad for the local and national economy as it removes so much from us that we could use to benefit NZ rather than rich offshore bludgers.

      • SaveNZ 3.1.3

        I think you will find that it seems to be the opposite, positive discrimination for Chinese permits, it’s the red carpet for foreign Chinese buyers in NZ… I don’t have an issue with Asian buyers as much as what might start to happen afterwards, cheap labour, lowered standards, supply chain becomes all Asian, bringing in more workers from Asia… if the purpose of OIA is to prevent that by making substantial benefits for New Zealand and New Zealanders, clearly they are doing a horrible job in their consents. In OZ they at least make sure that the jobs are for Australians and they have to pay a minimum amount of taxes when they give out permits, or at least they used to.

        In NZ they seem to think investment capital and turnover is the same as profits. It is only profits that will result in taxes for NZ. But no mention of profits. Peter Thiel invested in NZ to get citizenship, but sadly failed to pay any taxes, in fact left with millions of profits for himself not NZ and gets to keep citizenship.

        What’s gonna happen when they sell everything off and NZ is just left with massive amounts of unemployed and unskilled and formerly low waged residents that they green lighted in for decades and a lot of foreign owned companies or rich individuals that don’t make profits or pay taxes.

        • Draco T Bastard 3.1.3.1

          +111

          Offshore ‘investment’ in our businesses makes the country poorer and weaker.

    • Grey Area 3.2

      Exactly @DH. This application should have been rejected because the benefits are not substantial enough.

      • DH 3.2.1

        They may be confused over the wording too Grey Area. The Act says “Substantial and identifiable benefit” Note the singular use of benefit. They cite benefits plural which is not what the Act says. Benefits do not automatically make or identify a benefit.

    • saveNZ 3.3

      Excellent points DH

  4. Sanctuary 4

    “…Was the baying Bradford ever a minister..?”

    THIS.

    • gsays 4.1

      Got to take issue with that, Sanctuary.

      When I saw this post, I thought of Sue Bradford and Nandor Tanzcos.
      The tension between having principles and beliefs, versus having to be a cog in a machine.
      Ms Bradford was one of the most effective MPs I can think of, getting section 59 repealed.
      Mr Tanzcos said he would be more effective outside parliament than in it.
      (Also his quip, for which he was forced to apologise for, about politicians being drunk in charge of a country.)

      Perhaps if it sounded like braying, you weren’t who she was speaking up for.

      • Matthew Whitehead 4.1.1

        Bradford was effective, in part because she had a sympathetic Labour government to lobby for law changes that relied on goodwill from the Greens for votes that didn’t fall under their C&S agreement. This was in many ways the perfect balance for the party, but it also relied on Labour having other options to make it to 61 votes.

        Bradford legitimately doesn’t understand what it’s like to be a Minister, especially one in a Government where all parties that aren’t in opposition have to agree on everything. That’s no personal reflection on her, it simply wasn’t in the cards at the time given Clark’s Labour Party wasn’t exactly the most progressive on every issue. But it does mean that when she says things like “Sage has ministerial staff who should have figured this issue out in advance for her and changed the law,” she is speaking from a position of deep ignorance where she doesn’t understand how under-resourced Green Ministers are at the moment, and the fact that there are legitimate difficulties to getting agreement on changing the law in ways that are satisfactory to the Green Party. We voted to go into Government- something Bradford may not be as keen on as the Party itself was, although I won’t presume to speak for her, but most of us did it knowing it would involve compromises like this where we are forced by the law or by the realities of negotiating legislation with NZF to swallow things we don’t particularly like in order to both get the bits we do, and to lock National out of government.

  5. Gosman 5

    Are the Greens going to look to change the Act then?

    • One Anonymous Bloke 5.1

      Someone should Google this for Gosman. Do his homework for him. Won’t someone provide Gosman witrh a hand-out?

  6. Ad 6

    Did fine on the Waiheke decision.

    But …

    This government is a long long way from a strategy on water or its relationship to farming.

    Battles Fonterra (both official policy and not), pro-big dairy in trade negotiations, anti-dam, anti irrigation, but won’t tax water … everything unconnected, all waiting for some future review, no signal of strong positioning.

    Sage is a small minister developing a skin in an administration without either the wit to protect her from her base or a capacity to make their approach make sense.

    • Enough is Enough 6.1

      It is almost like they need a Chief of Staff running the coalition so that government strategy and coms is consistent.

      We have Shane Jones barking at anyone and everyone, and then our PM having to confirm his barking is not in his capacity as a Minister. That line between MP and Minister is becoming very blurred and it is almost impossible to know what hat is being worn by Jones and Peters until it is clarified a day or so later.

      As you note Winston is out there selling New Zealand and the glorious milk powder we produce (sarc), while in a different capacity gunning for the company that sells that glorious product.

      • Ad 6.1.1

        On a massive election issue like water it’s inexcusable not to have their shit together by now.

        They are not parties, they are a government, but they rarely act like it.

        • Draco T Bastard 6.1.1.1

          The problem here is NZ1st who refuse to charge farmers water rates which means that nobody else can be charged either.

  7. patricia bremner 7

    Some of these dilemmas have been fish hooks left by Rodney Hide’s Local Bodies Act and the removal by John Key and cohorts of any social obligation when all reference to The Treaty of Waitangi was removed from all legislation during his term. Calculated. IMO.

    • Enough is Enough 7.1

      “when all reference to The Treaty of Waitangi was removed from all legislation during his term”

      Are you sure about that?

      Can you point me to one statute where is was removed. Then we can move to “all legislation”…

  8. Ruby 8

    Swallow again Micky, the tail of the dead rat is still sticking out of your mouth.

  9. Marty mars 9

    Managing expectations is an important part that just hasn’t been done. I also cannot believe there was ONLY 1 option. Truth is that this is the process of disintegration that power causes to small parties in with a big party. I posted on her page – shame. I stand by that – it is a shame and shameful.

  10. Puckish Rogue 10

    “But in the meantime blame my legal training and experience but I think Eugenie Sage had no choice and has acted the way a competent Minister should.”

    I agree 100%, she had no choice and she acted how she had to act and probably not how she wanted to act

    • dukeofurl 10.1

      Looking at the act and the powers of the minister to give directives over broad classes of applications such as say ‘water processing’ doesnt agree with that claim.

      If she didnt act in time before they started processing this application she should say so.
      Dont understand why her ministerial advisors and Sage herself didnt see this sort of thing coming up ( its been a highly public issue)

      • Puckish Rogue 10.1.1

        Well I think this issue started when the Greens just accepted whatever Labour agreed to on their behalf rather than spelling out what they would and wouldn’t accept

        • Robert Guyton 10.1.1.1

          What the Greens have to accept in this instance, is the law; surely, Pucky, you aren’t advocating the Eugenie breaks the law?

          • Puckish Rogue 10.1.1.1.1

            Absolutely not, she’s acted honourably thus far. The issue started before the agreement was signed when the Greens decided not to negotiate anything and just let Labour do it all.

            Had they decided to negotiate then maybe this wouldn’t be happening.

            • Robert Guyton 10.1.1.1.1.1

              How could they negotiate around the legal requirement, Pucky? And anyway, get real; there must be a million details “needing” to be negotiated to avoid this sort of situation where partners’ ideals differ; expecting those to all be attended to in a pre-coalition agreement is optimistic don’t you think? There must be many, many things that can’t be easily foreseen or practically resolved in such talks. It takes on the ground activity in real time to manage everything you seem to think should be sorted in meetings held over a few weeks.
              *edit: your claim, btw; “when the Greens decided not to negotiate anything and just let Labour do it all.”
              is nonsense. You made it up, have nothing to support your claim but opinion; plus, you’re clearly wrong.

    • Robert Guyton 10.2

      ““But in the meantime blame my legal training and experience but I think Eugenie Sage had no choice and has acted the way a competent Minister should.”
      I too agree with this statement. Knowing Eugenie, if she could have not, she would have not. The rest is churn.

      • gsays 10.2.1

        Hi Robert, I accept your point along the lines of the minister’s hands were tied, however….
        At what point do minister’s,MPs and citizens say ‘No. This is unacceptable, I will not comply.’

        I voted green because of environmental concerns,inequality and a sick to the eyeballs of the status quo rolling on. For radicals or at least folk with the courage of their convictions.
        I know, vote and radical don’t go together but sheesh, surely this was a chance to put a line in the sand.

        • Robert Guyton 10.2.1.1

          Hi, gsays.
          Ministers cannot say: “I will not comply” – it’s not an honest option. If you want The Green Ministers to behave as National Party Ministers did, then, okay, fine, but I don’t. They are ways and there are ways… some take patience and forbearance… Eugenie has chosen the responsible path … I think we should support her on her way…

  11. Stuart Munro 11

    The OIO by and large has consistently failed to serve NZ interests. The sooner it’s wound up the better.

    I’d have to see foreign enterprises actually delivering prosperity (which they never have) to change that view.

    A triumph of process that sees even more of our resources heading offshore? Nope. Spare us the procedural bullshit and scrap the OIO en bloc.

    • solkta 11.1

      Just scrapping the OIA would actually open the door for foreign buyers to do what they want. The Act puts restrictions on what can happen. What is needed is for the Act to be expanded to allow for other considerations such as the environment and treaty and generally tightened up.

      • Stuart Munro 11.1.1

        Rubbish.

        Put it in the hands of the minister. Make the default answer “Hell No!”

        • solkta 11.1.1.1

          how would you put the decision in the “hands of the minister”? Would you amend the OIA to say that? Or call it something new to feel better? What criteria would you put there to guide their decision? If your law would say “whatever the minister thinks” would you be happy for a National Minister to use this criteria too?

          • Stuart Munro 11.1.1.1.1

            In case it has escaped your notice the effect of Gnat government has been for the OIO to ok literally everything, though it was virtually everything under Labour.

            I’d prefer the law was simply changed – foreign corporations cannot buy NZ resources except in exceptional circumstances. And the minister carries the can for it. It should at least slow it down.

            I voted for change, not a spurious pretense of procedural fairness justifying the same rorts that made change necessary.

            • solkta 11.1.1.1.1.1

              I’d prefer the law was simply changed – foreign corporations cannot buy NZ resources except in exceptional circumstances.

              so you want to reform the OIA.

              • Stuart Munro

                Repeal would be a better description. It’s never been in the public interest, and, as the present example illustrates, conflicts with basic premises like Treaty and environmental responsibilities.

  12. alwyn 12

    You say you are a lawyer Mickey.
    Can you please expand on your statement that
    ” Then as fast as you could say Judicial Review the decision would have been reversed by the High Court.”.

    Suppose the Minister had declared that there were insufficient benefits to New Zealand to justify approving the request, and that the firm had appealed it.
    How long does it really take to get a Judicial Review of something?
    What is the least time you have ever seen for such a thing?
    Would you say that they were carried out within six months? Or a year? Or more?

    I can say “Judicial Review” in a second or so. How long does one really take, and would a law change before it was complete make the call for a review moot?

    • mickysavage 12.1

      You say you are a lawyer Mickey.

      Yep.

      Can you please expand on your statement that
      ” Then as fast as you could say Judicial Review the decision would have been reversed by the High Court.”.

      Suppose the Minister had declared that there were insufficient benefits to New Zealand to justify approving the request, and that the firm had appealed it.
      How long does it really take to get a Judicial Review of something?
      What is the least time you have ever seen for such a thing?
      Would you say that they were carried out within six months? Or a year? Or more?

      Minister has to act on advice. Clearly the advice was that the statutory test had been met. She cannot magic new advice out of nowhere just because she does not like the old advice.

      I can say “Judicial Review” in a second or so. How long does one really take, and would a law change before it was complete make the call for a review moot?

      Figure of speech. I would expect about 12 months or so. The Crafar Farms case took 13 months from decision to High Court hearing. It would be a constitutional abomination for a Law change to affect a case that is before the court.

      • alwyn 12.1.1

        Thank you for your comment.

        “Minister has to act on advice”.
        Why on earth does it ever go to a Minister then? If they have to do what the officials say it shouldn’t even go to the Minister.

        On the other hand didn’t Shane Jones give Citizenship to someone about 10 years ago, even though officials had recommended no? I can’t remember the details now. Got a bit contentious though about him having done it of course.

        By the way the first bit about “you say you are a lawyer” was because you said it in the post. it lets me pretend, in line with the rules for this site, that one doesn’t guess who pen names belong to even if I obviously do.
        Like the Judge asking “Who are the Beatles”.

      • The Chairman 12.1.2

        “She cannot magic new advice out of nowhere just because she does not like the old advice.”

        Got a citation for that, Micky?

        I’m of the understanding she can seek further advise.

        Moreover, where does it state the Minister has to accept and act on that advice?

  13. The Chairman 13

    Eugenie Sage needs to front up to the NZ public and explain how she (as the overseeing Minister) came to the conclusion that these so-called identifiable benefits are substantial benefits for NZ.

    At this stage, all she has done is claim she was following the law.

    • Robert Guyton 13.1

      Eugenie made the correct decision and has been transparent with her reasons.
      Following the law, Chairman, it’s a thing Green MPs do.

      • mickysavage 13.1.1

        I am sure that there is a thick wad of papers attached to this case. The LINZ website indicated that “[w]e are currently preparing a copy of the OIO’s Report to Ministers for public release.”

      • The Chairman 13.1.2

        “Eugenie made the correct decision”

        That is debatable. I provided good grounds to argue why she didn’t yesterday.

        “And has been transparent with her reasons.”

        No, she hasn’t. To date, all she has done is hide behind the excuse she was merely following the law.

        If you disagree, then show me where she has explained the the NZ public how she (as the overseeing Minister) came to the conclusion that these so-called identifiable benefits are substantial benefits for NZ. In other words, countering what I put forward yesterday.

        For example, 60 new jobs over 4 years isn’t a substantial benefit to NZ. There were 81 jobs listed in the region in the last month alone.

        Export revenue that will largely return to the offshore owners isn’t a substantial benefit to NZ. Why does Eugenie believe it is?

        Capital investment to upgrade and expand the existing bottling plant will be used to increase their water take, hence company returns (which will largely head offshore) thus again, isn’t a substantial benefit to NZ. Why does Eugenie believe it is?

        These are the questions she is yet to front up and answer.

        • Robert Guyton 13.1.2.1

          Chairman: your opinion is that there is insufficient benefit to NZ to justify Eugenie’s decision. Eugenie, otoh, believes there was. Eugenie is the Minister, backed by a team of lawyers and advisors. You are not, nor are you furnished with such an advisory team. I believe Eugenie’s claim to correct behaviour here is far greater than yours and so am confident in again saying, “Eugenie made the correct decision.
          As to the details of Eugenie’s decision, see mickeysavage, above.

          • The Chairman 13.1.2.1.1

            “Chairman: your opinion is that there is insufficient benefit to NZ to justify Eugenie’s decision. Eugenie, otoh, believes there was.”

            Exactly! Which is why she needs to front up to the NZ public and explain how she (as the overseeing Minister) came to that conclusion. Which to date, she has yet to do. Why is that? Why won’t she front up and explain? At the least, she owes us that.

            If she has good grounds (which clearly I doubt) it wouldn’t be a problem and it may even help to stem off the discontent she has created.

            • Robert Guyton 13.1.2.1.1.1

              Eugenie has to “front up to the NZ public to explain…” – all because you have a contrary opinion???
              I have underestimated you, Chairman; you must be a Person of Very Great Importance!

              • The Chairman

                “All because you have a contrary opinion???”

                Head in the sand, Robert? I’m far from the only one wanting answers.

                There is a lot of discontent out there over this. The Greens need to put out this fire immediately.

                They can hide behind the spin if they so desire and we’ll see where that gets them. They are meant to be working on building their support, not tanking it.

                • Pat

                  will you be rescinding your vote for the Greens then Chairman?

                  • Robert Guyton

                    Ha!
                    Thank you, Pat.

                  • The Chairman

                    To be honest, Pat, I can’t see the Greens making the threshold next election.

                    Who I vote for then (and it won’t be anyone or party from the right as I don’t swing that way) will depend on how things play out going forward.

  14. Tuppence Shrewsbury 14

    Just so I’m clear on your reasoning Micky.

    When National do something like this, despite not having campaigned against, more probably for it, they should be vilified by opposition and opposition supporters for selling New Zealand out. Even though they do it with New Zealand’s interests in mind through jobs, investment etc.

    Eugenie doesn’t deserve to be vilified, even though she is ostensibly agreeing to do this for the same reasons a national party minister would, though she campaigned against such action and got into parliament on the back of supporters voting for her because of her campaign promises and beliefs.

    That’s your logic?

    • mickysavage 14.1

      Not at all.

      My logic is that from the current state of the law it appears Sage had no choice and that we need a law change to prevent this from happening in the future.

      • The Chairman 14.1.1

        She had a choice, Micky.

        She could have declined the application on the grounds I’ve put forward (which I believe most New Zealanders would accept) And would have been difficult for the company to refute.

        Or she could have rolled-over and let the company have their way, which she seems to have done. Hence, the blow-back the Greens now face.

        This current Green lot seem to be a bunch of pushovers.

  15. Robert Guyton 15

    “Eugenie doesn’t deserve to be vilified”
    That part is good, Tuppence; you have that right and thank you for your support.

    • Tuppence Shrewsbury 15.1

      I’m in complete agreement with you Robert. But the same logic was completely unavailable to the last government due to the deranged opposition.

      “dear takun uh wartuh” was the greens argument pre November 2018.

      But now it’s ok right as the greens are in government

      • Robert Guyton 15.1.1

        Is that “pigeon English” you’ve used there, Tuppence, or are you trying to insult “the greens”? Perhaps you thought it funny? It’s not. Your final claim, “it’s ok right as the greens are in government” is complete tripe. Have you anything of substance to offer in this discussion?

        • Tuppence Shrewsbury 15.1.1.1

          Oh Robert you old prude.

          It is “the greens” I was mocking.

          Your either dense or prudish to not get that every comment I’ve made on this thread is 100% substance.

          Put your big boy drawers on robert

  16. Carolyn_Nth 16

    The Overseas Investment Act was revised a couple of times under National. A minister must comply with the Act in making decisions around various specific criteria. So the minister does have a limited framework to move in.

    It does mention sensitive land, and cultural heritage. But that seems to be focused on the cultural /heritage significance of the land being invested in. I’m not sure it allows for the consideration of wider cultural and heritage value of water to Maori. That may possibly be contestable, but I would need to see what a lawyer makes of it.

    Basically the Act says the minister MUST make decisions based on the specific criteria laid down by the Act in Part 2 Section 17:

    17 Factors for assessing benefit of overseas investments in sensitive land
    (1) If section 16(1)(e)(ii) applies, the relevant Ministers—
    (a) must consider all the factors in subsection (2) to determine which factor or factors (or parts of them) are relevant to the overseas investment; and
    (b) must determine whether the criteria in section 16(1)(e)(ii) and (iii) are met after having regard to those relevant factors; and
    (c) may, in doing so, determine the relative importance to be given to each relevant factor (or part).
    (2) The factors are the following:
    (a) whether the overseas investment will, or is likely to, result in—
    (i) the creation of new job opportunities in New Zealand or the retention of existing jobs in New Zealand that would or might otherwise be lost; or
    (ii) the introduction into New Zealand of new technology or business
    skills; or
    (iii) increased export receipts for New Zealand exporters; or
    (iv) added market competition, greater efficiency or productivity, or enhanced domestic services, in New Zealand; or
    (v) the introduction into New Zealand of additional investment for development purposes; or
    (vi) increased processing in New Zealand of New Zealand’s primary products:
    (b) whether there are or will be adequate mechanisms in place for protecting or enhancing existing areas of significant indigenous vegetation and significant habitats of indigenous fauna, for example, any 1 or more of the following:
    (i) conditions as to pest control, fencing, fire control, erosion control, or riparian planting:
    (ii) covenants over the land:
    (c) whether there are or will be adequate mechanisms in place for—
    (i) protecting or enhancing existing areas of significant habitats of trout, salmon, wildlife protected under section 3 of the Wildlife Act 1953, and game as defined in sections 2(1) of that Act (for example, any 1 or more of the mechanisms referred to in paragraph
    (b)(i) and (ii)); and
    (ii) providing, protecting, or improving walking access to those habitats by the public or any section of the public:
    (d) whether there are or will be adequate mechanisms in place for protecting or enhancing historic heritage within the relevant land, for example, any 1 or more of the following:
    (i) conditions for conservation (including maintenance and restoration) and access:
    (ii) agreement to support the entry on the New Zealand Heritage List/ Rārangi Kōrero of any historic place, historic area, wahi tapu, or wahi tapu area under the Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Act 2014:
    (iii) agreement to execute a heritage covenant:
    (iv) compliance with existing covenants:
    (e) whether there are or will be adequate mechanisms in place for providing, protecting, or improving walking access over the relevant land or a relevant part of that land by the public or any section of the public:
    (f) if the relevant land is or includes foreshore, seabed, or a bed of a river or lake, whether that foreshore, seabed, riverbed, or lakebed has been offered to the Crown in accordance with regulations:
    (g) any other factors set out in regulations.
    Section 17(2)(d)(ii): amended, on 20 May 2014, by section 107 of the Heritage New Zealand PouhereTaonga Act 2014 (2014 No 26).

    It looks to me that water is not mentioned in this or any related law as a taonga.

    I see that the Labour-led government rushed an amendment bill into parliament at the end of 2017. It is the work of David Parker, and looks to me like it is aimed at getting the Bill on the books,to restrict residential property sales to overseas buyers, before the TPPA-by-another-name is ratified by parliament.

    As well as restricting residential property sales to overseas buyers, it amendment Bill strengthens the powers of the OIO to enforce regulations in the grants given, and to the entity if it does not follow the law in complying with conditions laid down. This is not yet law, and is in a select committee stage.

    But I see that, Eugenie Sage in her speech for the first reading, kept her comments to restricting the sale of residential land to overseas buyers.

    I don’t know if there is still time to add an SOP to restrict overseas investors using NZ water and shipping it overseas?

  17. saveNZ 17

    I can’t find the link, but there was an OIA declined for American organic farmers in the South Island… you have to wonder what the hell is going on, is NZ’s mission to get as many polluters into NZ as possible and export the profits to Asia while other foreigners are discriminated against if they want to be more sustainable on the planet and in NZ?

    Theres a horrible RMA going through in the Kaipara for Tegal (Chinese company owned now) for millions of Chickens to be battery farmed destroying the town and Marae with stench for a small amount of jobs apparently…

  18. Robert Guyton 18

    As tc said, “it’s a single minor decision boxed in by the previous govt FFS.”
    No need to go ballistic over it.

  19. saveNZ 19

    The other thing the government needs to do immediately is to put a stamp duty on all foreign purchases of property and assets and capital gains taxes on any gains from OIA, because it seems like flipping NZ assets are all the rage!

    These companies and individuals are not necessarily NZ tax resident (and tax residency can be changed anyway) and if they want to invest here, they should be forced by law to pay their share of taxes, as they gain from NZ resources, at the point of origin in other ways.

    If we look at Norway and their oil permits, they got rich by good contracts. We need to get A LOT wiser in NZ on our contracts. NZ OIA and RMA are like Santa Claus to polluters. Water might be the new oil, who knows. But certainly with the amount of pollution around the world, unpolluted trusted food and goods demand premiums.

    One slip up by a NZ branded company and our entire brand comes tumbling down.

    There is much more to think about, than just a projected investment amount or some insecure, cheap jobs, it’s a lot more complicated than that.

    As more people buy stuff online, the local economy is not likely to benefit just from having an industry in it’s back yard. We are not talking the old day where rich farmers go into town and buy up goods.

    Instead we are seeing exploitation where polluters pollute and then do nothing about it and only the lawyers see any money. It’s not just the 3rd world, it’s happening all over USA, China and everywhere in between.

    Regulation needs to also be more robust and plan for the future in case there is a change to the resource, not just subjective lawyer fodder, while the kids in the community go to food banks and have their medical costs increased by Kiwis being unable to afford our own goods and jobs in our own back yard.

    To protect local community there has to be much greater protection built into law and it is NOT subjective, it is a right and it should not be a right for business rights to trump the good of the community where it is located, rights.

    • Excellent post , and I would suggest that a majority of people feel this way.

      … ” These companies and individuals are not necessarily NZ tax resident (and tax residency can be changed anyway) and if they want to invest here, they should be forced by law to pay their share of taxes, as they gain from NZ resources, at the point of origin in other ways ” …

  20. I like what Martyn Bradbury said :

    ———————————————

    Of course the law is set and constructed in a way to allow the molestation of NZ to occur as easily as possible by large corporations, but the role of the Minister can go well beyond the bullshit straightjacket they’ve been consigned to.

    Hold the decision up, create a reason to hold off till a later date, plan to change the law and delay the decision until then, demand more information, demand actual proof of these so called jobs.

    There are a dozen creative ways a Minister can delay a decision, the Greens have explored NONE of those to arrive at this one.

    Apparently the Green Party of NZ have only this week heard about this …
    https://thedailyblog.co.nz/…/apparently-the-green-party-of-nz-have-only-this-week-he…

    ——————————————–

    A more oblique angle of attack could have been used, – basically , – stonewalling until there are law changes. Conversely , the opposition could have employed the same tactics to stonewall the govt ,… and ,… were there time constraints? If not the above tactic could have been effective.

  21. Jimmy 21

    Cant understand why Eugene getting so much flak. I thought she was forced to follow the law in place?

    • The Chairman 21.1

      She is the overseeing Minister, hence is the one who decides if these so-called identifiable benefits are substantial benefits for NZ.

      To date, she has yet to explained to the the NZ public how she (as the overseeing Minister) came to the conclusion that these so-called identifiable benefits are substantial benefits for NZ. Thus, is one of the reasons why she is copping so much flak.

      The narrative (which some seem to be willing to accept) is she was merely following the law. Which one assumes she was told to repeat by a media adviser (spin doctor).

      • Robert Guyton 21.1.1

        You are repeating your same argument over and over, Chairman.
        Over and over and over. Same points. Regardless of responses you receive from various people. A rooster was escaping from our hen-run, through a hole in the netting. I repaired the hole and watched while he tried, twice, to go through where he had previously. Twice. He learned the route was closed and never tried again. A rooster. Bird-brained. Smart though.

        • The Chairman 21.1.1.1

          You can attempt to make this about me (which is a troll technique by the way) as much as you like, Robert. But at the end of the day, it’s the Greens that will pay the price.

          They can either put out the fire or burn in it. It’s their choice.

          • Robert Guyton 21.1.1.1.1

            “It’s their choice” Stop your harping then. If it’s their choice, Chairman, leave off the foot-stamping, “it’s their choice”. You sound insincere.

            • The Chairman 21.1.1.1.1.1

              Like with any choice, Robert, they will have to live with the consequences of that choice.

              Me and others stamping on them is a consequence of the choice they’ve made so far.

              • Robert Guyton

                No, Chairman, your “stamping on them” is an expression of your dislike for the Greens, the Left and all we fight for. Your kaupapa is revealed, your intention exposed, your mendicity laid bare.

                • The Chairman

                  No, Robert. It’s my dislike for what they’ve done. Not for what they and the left are meant to stand for.

                  This lot have no spine. Eugenie Sage wouldn’t even front up for Morning Report, let alone challenge these so-called benefits, which you seem to support.

                  • Robert Guyton

                    Bull
                    Sh*t.
                    Chairman. You are a trouble-maker. And exposed for it. Naff. Off.

                    • The Chairman

                      Trouble-maker?

                      Not me, Robert. It was Eugenie Sage that stirred this up.

                      I just call it as I see it. Handle it or as they say, bite the bullet.

                    • solkta

                      He’s not a lefty, he’s just a very naughty troll.

                    • Robert Guyton

                      He is, solkta, that’s true.

    • Robert Guyton 21.2

      Good observation, Jimmy. The likes of “The Chairman” are whipping up “flak” from nowhere, hoping to make insecure those who hold genuine values. It has always been this way; kia hiwa ra, kia hiwa ra, kia hiwa ra!

      • The Chairman 21.2.1

        “The likes of “The Chairman” are whipping up “flak” from nowhere…”

        Really? Robert. Nowhere? I didn’t have anything to do with the decision Eugenie Sage decided to make, which created this flare-up.

        I’m just ensuring she owns it in the hope it will teach her not to do it again.

        Apparently, Labour is still talking about not changing this law until later in its term, and making Eugenie Sage potentially approve more consents like this in the future.

        • Robert Guyton 21.2.1.1

          You are a trouble maker; that’s all.
          Ms Sage said she thought long and hard about the decision, but her hands were tied by the law.

          “I made my decision as a minister. My internal feelings are irrelevant,” she said.

          That’s it, right there. Eugenie’s view beats The Chairman’s nagging EVERY TIME 🙂

          • The Chairman 21.2.1.1.1

            “Ms Sage said she thought long and hard about the decision, but her hands were tied by the law.”

            She may have thought long and hard about the decision, but her hands weren’t tied.

            She could have and should have challenged the so-called benefits.

            That’s why many of us voted for the Greens. We expected them to stand up this kind of crap, not just rollover and feed us this spin (my hands were tied).

            She won’t even front up to explain why she didn’t challenged the so-called benefits, which as overseeing Minister she could have done. All we are getting from her and the party is her hands were tied and she was following the law, which is total spin.

            Stop swallowing it. Moreover, stop spreading it. It doesn’t do them any favours. People aren’t that stupid, thus it’s condescending.

            • Robert Guyton 21.2.1.1.1.1

              No, Chairman. You’re exposed as a constant eroder of Left values. Go away. You are boring. And revealed. No one believes you. You are redundant. Your views are not supported here. They are seen as spin and insincere. Go away.

              • The Chairman

                No. You are once again wrong on all counts.

                Bite the bullet, Robert. Bite the bullet.

                • Robert Guyton

                  No. You are an agitator and an underminer. No more than that. Go away. 🙂

                  • The Chairman

                    No. It’s the Greens that are doing the undermining, Robert.

                    And your cheer-leading isn’t doing them any favours either.

                    Being spineless pushovers will be the death of them.

                    And if I was from the right and wanted to see their demise, I’d be backing them all the way in this like you are.

  22. CHCOff 22

    I think it is a surprise to the green party voting flock, that the years of default bashing the primary producing sector about water, was about in practise when the occasion arose, giving away NZ fresh water to china.

    For NZ society to stop coming last, in one way or another, things need to based on economic and political power going to local production and consumption, and then exporting that free living self sustaining model to the rest of the world, of which there would be an avalanche wanting to partnership with (That is why it is good sense NZ1st challenging the Fontera failures on terms the nz farming community can understand without threatening their blinkered straight ahead mode of operation).

    I have blogged repeatedly about the ins and outs of the above direction in getting away from the neo-liberalistic political beltway.

    NZ1st!

    • While I am still supportive of this great Coalition , despite some bad slip ups,… My vote will be for NZ First next time. Last time was for the Greens as they needed the shove to get them over. Originally was for Labour, but then Jacindamania started. I’ll vote anyway to keep the Nats down and out. Priority number one.

      NZ1st !

      And here’s to Winston setting a good example in the courts !

  23. adam 23

    Ah liberalism, an ideology and economic system slowly killing us all. Call it neo or just a con, still SSDD.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 23.1

      Meanwhile, Sage’s decision is a consequence of the rule of law, which is not unique to Liberalism.

      • WILD KATIPO 23.1.1

        Possibly , but it does display a certain commonality these days in a neo liberal environment to not exhibit enough internal fortitude to withstand globalist trade pressures.

        Less of a knee jerk reaction and instead more of a measured calculated stance to buy enough time to have the law changed could possibly have been the more appropriate action as M. Bradbury states.

        • solkta 23.1.1.1

          The application has already been made and been through the process with a recommendation to the minister who just needs to sign off on it to complete. You can’t turn around then and say “you will now have to wait until we change the law so we can decline your application” and then have it hang until the gummint gets to it.

          • WILD KATIPO 23.1.1.1.1

            Fair point until you realize that in many instances just because something has gone through due process and reaches the final stages doesn’t automatically mean its a definite. It just takes a change in leadership or last minute policy change and its off the table.

            In this case, any delaying tactic doesn’t have to be expressed as such but simply given reason to do so. Particularly if it was an issue pertaining to policy. Which this was.

            A good example are laws that are repealed after a new govt is voted in. Again , in this case it was.

          • saveNZ 23.1.1.1.2

            “you will now have to wait until we change the law so we can decline your application” and then have it hang until the gummint gets to it.”

            Thats what the Natz would have done if they wanted to decline something. Maybe that is why they are still on 40% while the Greens are so busy obeying somebodies interpretation of the law, and against their own policy, they can’t wait to comply and disappoint their voters.

            What about democracy, protest and doing what is right and what Green voters, voted for?

            It’s like giving the Greens giving the Natz their questions all over again because they are too busy. Greens need to grow a spine and get a bit more practical, not glide through rubber stamping decisions. If the decision is wrong, don’t put your name to it!!!!

            What is the point of being right in Green policy, if they fold while in power?

            At the end of the day what the F could the Chinese do, if the Greenies declined it? They would have to put in a new application that has better benefits to New Zealanders. win, win.

            • Robert Guyton 23.1.1.1.2.1

              No, saveNZ. The Greens are your best hope. Of course they will be caught out by circumstance – were you expecting an easy ride? Give them the benefit of the doubt and play the long game. Support those who have drawn a line – if that line gets bullied back, bear with them; support them and help them edge forward!

              • saveNZ

                I’ll probably still be voting Green and play the long game as you say, but if the Greens keep this up, seriously they could be gone if other voters give up and Labour gone along with them without a coalition partner, the Natz will eat them up.

                God know how many more votes Winston could have taken off the Natz if you know who leaked his personal details about Super… changing the discourse off their poor performance.

                Safety in numbers for the left, because other wise they get picked off.

            • solkta 23.1.1.1.2.2

              I don’t think the nats would have done that, but lets assume for arguments sake that they would. You are arguing then because National have a complete disrespect for the rule of law the Greens should act in a legally corrupt manner too? I’m really glad the party is not what you want it to be.

              At the end of the day what the F could the Chinese do, if the Greenies declined it?

              This has been covered several times in this thread, they, being the company, could take the government to court for a judicial review which they would win.

              • Robert Guyton

                “legally corrupt” – wot???
                The Greens are bound to act legally, solkta . They can, however, move to adjust the law, if they see it as wrong. Yes? But that takes time. Eugenie can’t just say, Nah! She has to comply with the law. She can, however, move to make changes. Want to be a supporter of change? Stop bagging the potential change-makers then 🙂

                • solkta

                  i was replying to savenz. It would be legally corrupt to stall the process and then change the law to retrospectively to annul an already processed application.

                  • saveNZ

                    “It would be legally corrupt to stall the process” ….but giving away our national assets is ok??? so they feel better about not stalling bad laws… give me a break.

                    The greens supporting bad Green decisions is not helping, because Greens need to start listening more to a wider voice of voters about how they feel about the decisions the Greens are making and stop screwing up and following flawed processes that clearly the could have stopped.

                  • Kaya3

                    OK correct me if wrong, the relevant part of the act says that it should provide “substantial and identifiable benefit for NZers”

                    These are not new jobs, some are existing and the rest will be FTE. That isn’t full time jobs. That is not a “substantial and identifiable benefit” – unless you’re a fan of neo liberalism, low wage jobs, part time jobs and bulk profits going offshore which the Greens obviously are.
                    Not to mention we struggle to get clean water for our own people but are happy for it to go overseas by the millions of litres? Yeah nah.

                • The Chairman

                  “Eugenie can’t just say, Nah!”

                  As overseeing Minister she can if she believes there are grounds for this, such as the so-called benefits not really being of substantial benefit to NZ.

              • saveNZ

                I seem to remember the Greens protesting in the streets in the past, against spying, Tibet, etc etc… I am not sure that Russell Norman would have put his name to it….

                Anyway Eugenie Sage has made a mistake, I don’t want to vilify her, but I am disappointed and I think that the advice the Greens is getting is flawed and the way the Greens party is structured into policy silos is flawed aka each one has a separate area and maybe they need to communicate with each other more if they are concerned, it would be better to have policy areas more fluid and communal so they can support each other more.

                What is the point of having Golriz Ghahraman in there as a lawyer if they can’t seem to get around bad laws and start approving bad decisions!

                • solkta

                  Each MP has portfolios – how bizarre. They should just all say whatever they want on any issue any time.

                  What part of “the law needs to be changed” do you not understand?

  24. Draco T Bastard 24

    So same land, increased production, more jobs and $65 million in export receipts.

    Where’s the estimate on the damage that they will do to the environment by increasing the water take by 900%?

    As Marama said, a very flawed law.

    • Robert Guyton 25.1

      Stunned. Don’t be dull. Of course we believe these things. The mechanics of dealing with each individual issue means problems are unavoidable. Don’t be dull. Be realistic; The Greens are realistic and know what’s what. Now 🙂

  25. Kaya3 26

    Exactly DH, it is NOT 60 new jobs.

    “and retain existing jobs associated with the water bottling business bringing FTE jobs to a total of 60 once the water bottling facility reaches full capacity”

    It’s typical bullshit obfuscation from politicians.

    Also FTE jobs are not full time jobs. It’s lots of people in PT jobs meaning less security and less benefits. Also no timeframe for when all this will happen.
    Plenty of reasons for the Queen of poison to turn this down. Weak. Totally weak. The Greens are going to suffer at the next election, along with NZF. Guaranteed.

  26. solkta 27

    Yes, that’s right, Eugenie is spinning it because she has been a nact plant all this time, obviously.

    and yes there is a timeframe:

    The company proposes to expand the existing water bottling plant and invest more than $42.5 million over four years to upgrade the plant and establish two new bottling lines. The expansion is expected to provide 32 jobs within two years and 60 fulltime jobs once the new plant is fully operational within four years.

    https://www.greens.org.nz/news/press-release/ministers-grant-overseas-investment-consent

    and yes there is scope for enforcement:

    Minister Clark and I made the consent conditional on Cresswell NZ Ltd delivering those promised jobs in an area which needs new employment. If they don’t eventuate the OIO can take enforcement action which includes the possibility of requiring the company to sell the investment. Budget 2018 provided the OIO with an extra $7 million in funding for its compliance and enforcement work.

    https://blog.greens.org.nz/2018/06/12/consent-whakatane-land/

    there are currently only 8 jobs:

    Basically the law is clear about what Ministers can and cannot take into account. We had to consider “substantial and identifiable” benefits to New Zealand. That’s jobs, exports, greater productivity and additional capital investment for the country. The investment will result in the current eight jobs at the plant increasing significantly. There will be 32 full time jobs over two years reaching 60 new full-time jobs over four years once the expanded plant is fully operational.

    https://blog.greens.org.nz/2018/06/12/consent-whakatane-land/

    So you’re another one, what part of “need to change the law” do you not understand?

  27. Kaya3 28

    FTE jobs, not jobs.
    In all likelihood part time jobs without the benefits of full time employment.

    The law is subjective, there is no clear and substantial benefit to NZers. If you think that you are as delusional as that idiot Eugenie Sage.

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