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John Key – Conservation Enemy No.1

Written By: - Date published: 12:01 pm, February 21st, 2010 - 28 comments
Categories: Conservation, Environment, john key - Tags:

Prime Minister John Key is the worst enemy New Zealand’s natural heritage has had in decades. Not content with the destruction caused by mining our most precious conservation areas, Key is pushing to sell off access to the conservation estate to the highest bidders. And to top it all off his Energy Minister Gerry Brownlee is still intent on bulldozing a road through the heart of Fiordland.

It is with a heavy heart and a deep sense of sadness that I see John Key’s government ascribe a dollar value to our conservation and heritage areas – some of the most beautiful and amazing places on the planet. Behind it all nothing more than an intent to cuddle up to a few resort owners and wealthy developers.

Well I don’t think Kiwis will let this one stand Mr Key.

Your attack on our conservation estate is an attack on the heritage of all New Zealanders. From Aucklanders to Southlanders, we all love these special places. And no, you can’t value them like exchange rates during your currency trading days.

As former PM Helen Clark said, echoing the values of our political leaders have upheld for decades:

“I can think of plenty of things [that have been hard to watch], but that is core value.”

Allowing mining in a national park went against every thing she stood for. “National parks are for future generations, preserving ecosystems. Some things you have to put above money.”

Our conservation areas and natural heritage are priceless and cannot be out-valued by a mine, a road, or a quick buck. Pick your battles wisely Mr Key, because you’ll lose this one.

28 comments on “John Key – Conservation Enemy No.1 ”

  1. lprent 1

    That is amusing. Three authors putting up posts on the same overall topic, the impact of humans on the environment that they depend on, within minutes of each other …

    • Michael Foxglove 1.1

      Ha! You’re right. Didn’t notice that Lynn. Wonder if it (along with many other things) points to the increasing political importance of the environment in New Zealand society?

  2. Peter 2

    I’m worried. Colmar Brunton (yes, National bias) had Key and National up today. Labour was up too, but not much. Greens were down.

    I can just see Key, English and Brownlee making a play on this one and duping people into believing that mining is necessary to get the economy going again. I’d like to think otherwise, but aside from those staunch people who are consistently opposed to this, are the majority of our city-dwellers just giving a big yawn to the looming destruction of our conservation estate?

    • I dreamed a dream 2.1

      I am worried too. Worse, I am getting demoralised. Voters generally don’t know politics and don’t appreciate real issues. I think the only time that voters will begin to swing from the Nats is when things turn to custard. We can theorise (correctly) that GST increase and tax cuts are not good for most, and we can theorise on a whole lot of other issues, but nothing’s going to change until voters suffer badly. So, sad to say, I think Key and Nats will continue to be popular for a while, and the momentum will carry them through the 2011 election. So sad. They win, we lose 🙁

    • Michael Foxglove 2.2

      The good news is that Labour’s slide has stopped. The Roy Morgan poll out on Thursday had both Labour and the Greens up slightly… But the biggest change was the drop in people thinking NZ was heading in the right direction. That will take a bit to translate into political support, but Key should watch out.

      • mickysavage 2.2.1

        Labour increased 3% from the November result. National was up 1%. Disturbing but at least the trend is in the right way.

        It is hard to understand. The nats have made such a hash of the last couple of weeks.

        I do not think it is time to panic however and the gradual drip drip of support ebbing away appears to have started.

        • mike

          “however and the gradual drip drip of support ebbing away appears to have started.”

          I agree Mick the Greens should be very worried – first poll since Janette (the only sane one left) Fitzsimmons departed and they are below 5%
          At this rate they will be gone in 2011 🙂

          • I dreamed a dream

            I don’t mind the Greens disappearing, if the Greenies go back to Labour. I do feel that Jeanette and Rod were the Greens. Without them, I think the Greens will be history at 2011.

  3. vto 3

    And is the threat to fire Environment Canterbury and replace it with some central govt (i.e. nat) stacked body in order to ‘manage’ Canterbury’s water another such attack?

    I watching very very closely but unfortunately I suspect yes.

    • Peter 3.1

      Yes, it is an attack.

      I read the “Creech report” (on the Ministry for Environment website) and yes, it talks about the Environment Canterbury staff being too “green” and too “science focused” in their political orientation. Those are too strong code words for not being farmer friendly, so it seems likely that either a government appointed commission will take charge or the water consenting regime will be handed over to an appointed and unaccountable agency. The trouble is, outside of inner city Christchurch, most local councils want that to happen.

      So I think we can expect to see yet more pressure on water resources in Canterbury.

      • vto 3.1.1

        Very clever them farmers aren’t they.

        Want growth so take dry dirt and add water.

        What will these bright folk do when the day comes that they want yet further growth (as all previous ‘growths’ have plateaued at their equillibrium) but there is no more water left to take?

        How will these bright sparks achieve growth then?

        They will obviously have to find a way to achieve growth which does not involve simply adding water to dry dirt. They will have to think for a change.

        So the obvious proposition follows: if the day is inevitable when the addition of water will not be possible to achieve growth and some other method will have to be found then why not do that now and save the water resources and rivers?

        Either think outside the water-addition square now and save the aquifers and rivers, or think outside the water-addition square later and fuck the aquifers and rivers.

        • Lew

          vto, if I didn’t know better, I’d almost think you were starting to talk like an environmentalist.


        • Draco T Bastard

          Either think outside the water-addition square now and save the aquifers and rivers, or think outside the water-addition square later and fuck the aquifers and rivers.

          Considering that grass and animals all require water and there is no substitute just how are you going to think outside that square?

          • Luxated

            I think one of the key points is to realise that dairy farming in Canterbury isn’t the brightest idea going around and that if farmers want to maximise revenue not just now but in ten, twenty or thirty years then they will need to invest in less water intensive animals and crops.

          • vto

            I dont know Draco, that is the farmers business. Fact is though that one day that point will come. Obviously something along the lines of crops and animals that require less water. Or perhaps something where they, you know, “add value” on-farm.

            Sheesh, land can only take so much water otherwise it turns into swamp or sea.

            Human’s greedy side is such that unfortunately our rivers will end up dry. (The Selwyn River is already dry after just ten years of cow population explosion nearby). Just like so much of the more populated world. Where is the bigger picture? I despair.

            Lew, perhaps I come across the wrong way at times but I most definitely an enviro (which does not mean support for all Green policies, like social / economic / etc ones)

  4. Sally 4

    Excellent article by Rod Oram, in sunday star times – Business D2. Once the media gets on side things will be harder for Key, he is as we are all painfully aware, the entire reason the nats are in power. Im worried for labour though, I think its time to put Shane Jones in the driver seat, nothing like pure intelligence, common sense and healthy dose of pure arrogance to pour cold water on the Key infatuation. Sorry Goff, but just as national could never get into power with English, nor can Labour with you.

  5. Angry Grandson 5

    Go Sal, I have to agree – Mr Shane Jones has an authority that would give key the shits if he had to confront him at every turn.
    Is it possible?
    whoops – captcha – ‘nicer’ sorry Phil, you is such a decent man

  6. Jones for leader?

    I suggest that you actually see him speak and assess his world view and his understanding of the issues. There are much better potential candidates.

    Besides Goff is doing really well this year. The party is committed to going into the next election with him and he should be given the chance. The comparison with Helen in her early years of leader has been made many times.

    • mike 6.1

      If 8% as preferred leader is doing ‘very well’ you have set the bar very low Mick..

      • Peter 6.1.1

        Helen polled similarly in her early years. Than 8% is double what Goff was polling before christmas. I expect Goff will be comfortably in double figures after Double Dipton releases his May budget.

        • I dreamed a dream

          Sorry I can’t remember as I wasn’t following polls as much then, so can you enlighten me whether Helen had those low figures during the term in opposition before she won in 1999, or two terms before? I was wondering if there’s enough time from now to 2011 for Phil to build up his figures sufficiently.

          • lprent

            Short answer is yes. Helen had appalling figures in 1994, and almost became the party with the most seats in 1996. Her figures in 1996 weren’t good either.

          • wtl

            And surely when it comes down to it, the preferred PM poll is largely irrelevant. We don’t vote for the PM, we vote for parties, so the party vote is what counts. Unless you hypothesize that when people actual cast their votes, they change their party vote to what they answered in the preferred PM question (as opposed to the preferred party question) when they were surveyed – which I would say is relatively unlikely. I think you’ll find that those who are pro-Key harp on about the preferred PM poll results since that makes things seem more one-sided than they really are.

  7. tc 7

    Welcome to bankersville, the corpratocracy has a value on everything….conservation estates, citizenship, education, health etc as to privatise it you need to understand it’s $$$…..kaching!

    Key doesn’t care if he wins or loses, he doesn’t make the calls just follows directions set for him and keep the smiley PR stuff going……look over here everybody, never mind those diggers going up Mt Aspiring….aww cute look everybody the PM made a funny….and the MSM go ha ha ha nice one PM can you do balloon animals as well.

    Wonder how much more that sloppy share portfolio of his will be after the dust of his PM term draws to a close….mmmm.

  8. randal 8

    I am more worried about his penchant for swanning round in blazers and boaters.
    what the heck is all that about?

  9. BLiP 9

    New, updated list of National Ltdâ„¢’s achievements on the environmental front since coming into power during which time it has:

    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

    removed 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

    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 Fortesque 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” 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 national rail network up in the air without promised funding commitments

    removed the Ministry for the Environment’s programme to make Government Departments ‘carbon neutral’

    removed funding for public tv advertising on sustainability and energy efficiency

    pulled funding for small-town public litter bin recycling schemes

    cabinet ministers expressing public support the bulldozing of Fiordland

    reduced Department of Conservation funding by about $50 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

    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’

    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

    given 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

    taken 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 $1.1 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

    blamed New Zealanders after a Japanese whaling ship deliberately smashed into a smaller, more vulnerable craft in the open sea

    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 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.

  10. richgraham 10

    Just to be different may I comment on what Mr Foxglove has written ?
    He says “Prime Minister John Key is the worst enemy New Zealand’s natural heritage has had in decades. Not content with the destruction caused by mining our most precious conservation areas, Key is pushing to sell off access to the conservation estate to the highest bidders. And to top it all off his Energy Minister Gerry Brownlee is still intent on bulldozing a road through the heart of Fiordland.”.
    Nowhere does he present any information to support the superlative “worst enemy”.
    “the destruction caused by mining our most precious conservation areas” – what destruction in what areas please, details, not assertions.
    “Gerry Brownlee is still intent on bulldozing a road through the heart of Fiordland” – no he isn’t, he has announced that the subject is open to discussion. What’s wrong with discussing it Mr Foxglove – do you fear open discussion ?
    I don’t personally think it will happen, but there is more good than harm in discussing the matter.
    This type of ad hominem language actually degrades the conservationist argument, citizens who read such stuff are repulsed by the exaggerations and personal abuse.
    Come on Labour, Wake Up !

    • Red Rosa 10.1

      See BLiP above, and particularly,

      – ‘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’

      which even by National Party standards is high-handed. But it now needs to be seen in the light of McCully’s mining shareholdings.

      Presumably we will see some answers to this one. Certainly it is ‘concerning’.

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