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Stunning nature

Written By: - Date published: 7:00 am, May 27th, 2017 - 31 comments
Categories: climate change, Conservation, energy, Environment, Mining, peak oil - Tags: , , , ,

Director of Greenpeace Russell Norman said recently that if we want to prevent the worst of climate change we can’t afford to burn the fossil fuels we already have access to, so why go look for more?

Gareth Hughes from the Green Party was in Te Anau last month talking to locals and checking out the area within the newly released Western Southland Basin oil exploration block. He made a short video,

I disagree with Hughes about the tourism angle. Industrial tourism is also a threat to the environment. Directly from development and indirectly (thus far) from climate change, to which tourism is a contributor not just from international flights, but from internal travel and infrastructure and resource use. Nature deserves to be protected for its own sake. We put it at risk when we frame the protection around something as transient as the tourism industry.

But the general gist is that we have to protect these places and we have to stop burning fossil fuels. They go hand in hand.

The Western Southland Basin block map is here. The area butts up against the south east edge of Lake Te Anau and takes in the Te Anau Basin, the lower reaches of the Waiau River, and a big chunk of the plains north of Invercargill that includes the catchments of the Aparima, Oreti and Makarewa Rivers . You can scroll around the area in this map.

So what’s the risk here? Energy Minister Judith Collins says that no oil exploration is allowed close to a National Park or World Heritage Area. Which is technically kind of true, in that Lake Te Anau itself isn’t part of Fiordland National Park. That’s alright then Judith.

One of the things that stands out for me is the sheer amount of water in the area. Not only is there Lake Te Anau and the Waiau River, but the Southland Plains are essentially a system of creeks and rivers and remnant wetlands.

There’s more to understand here. Where are the likely places to be drilled? Will there be fracking? Where are the earthquake faults and what are the risks? Will Southlanders have choices about what happens under their land? What consents and permits will be needed from local authorities and is there a conflict between that and council investments in fossil fuels and the push to divest? Who would pay for environmental damage? Would it be fixable?

Are there conflicts between being a pro-exploration council and Environment Southland’s intended Southland Water and Land Plan?

This Plan recognises the national significance of Te Mana o te Wai, which puts the mauri (inherent health) of the waterbody and its ability to provide for te hauora o te tangata (the health of the people), te hauora o te taiao (health of the environment) and te hauora o te wai (the health of the waterbody) to the forefront of freshwater management.

Ultimately the issue centres on the point of tension between saving the places we love as we move to zero carbon, and the last but potentially vicious gasps from a dying fossil fuel industry and the people who support money over life. Will Southland be deemed unviable or will it become a battleground as fossil fuels become harder and harder to source? How much energy will get wasted in that battle is also a concern, and how long do we have to keep litigating these matters when the climate change storm is already on our doorsteps?

For those that don’t know the Deep South, here are some of the more picturesque parts of Southland that are within the oil exploration block.

Rakatu Wetlands

Fishing on the Waiau River

Te Waewae Bay and lower Waiau River area

Upper Aparima River (photo Zsuzsanna Worth)

 

31 comments on “Stunning nature”

  1. Foreign waka 1

    I don’t understand this government. NZ is (has) a couple of islands. We cannot afford to become another Nauru.
    Now we have farmers who belief all of the land is theirs, including the water that runs through it. Next are corps in line who take the water that does not run trough farmland at no cost and sell it back to us (the irony should not go amiss). Now the rest of the land and surrounding sea that is close to conservation or even under protection is considered for mining and oil drilling.
    Either NZ is close to bankruptcy and no one is willing to tell anybody or it finally can permanently install a banjo player at each international airport. Something does not make sense. I belief it is time that the next generation sets the standard because the old guard runs out of ideas, hung up in the “good ol’ days” where the cans of beer flew out the windows of cars with black smoke coming out the exhaust whilst driving through the countryside.

    Te Anau area for Oil drilling/mining? I cannot belief the stupidity, it just is mind blowing – absolute gobsmacked. Who ever proposes this needs to be removed from office.

  2. So shortsighted so criminal. These politicans and their exploitative mates deserve our contempt.

  3. Jenny Kirk 3

    Totally agree with you all. I cannot understand this govt either – its lunacy at its worst.
    We have battles against similar proposals up here in the north ….. ours are not on National Parks or fiords – but will have the same devastating effects throughout the region. It’s like this govt is just selling up/ leasing out/ getting rid of everything that is Aotearoa-New Zealand in a desperate attempt before the election.

  4. Tautoko Mangō Mata 4

    Tell everyone you know about this. Show them the map*. Ask them is this OK with them? This is what the protest (which I attended) was about at New Plymouth Mar 22- the NAct govt opening its block offer for 2017 at the oil conference.
    National MUST be voted out. AOTEAROA IS NOT FOR SALE.

    Block Offer 2017 tender opened
    22 March 2017
    Energy and Resources Minister Judith Collins has opened the Block Offer 2017 tender for petroleum exploration permits.

    Block Offer 2018 Nominations are now open
    22 March 2017
    Minister of Energy and Resources Judith Collins has opened industry nominations for Block Offer 2018.

    https://www.nzpam.govt.nz/

    *Map link
    http://data.nzpam.govt.nz/permitwebmaps?commodity=petroleum

  5. saveNZ 5

    Totally agree we should be preserving the environment for it’s own sake.

    If the government does want to put everything in money terms, here’s a good perspective from Rayon Kan, with the wise perspective, water is more important than oil, “lets see who get’s thirsty first”.

    Raybon Kan: Let’s drink to the wealth we’ve ignored

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11818830

    If our government insists on polluting our water supplies and then pay industry to ‘unpollute’ it or pay a private company to buy back our own water in a plastic bottle. That’s the National way. Take public assets, privatise, sell back worse resource, at profit.

  6. It’s possible to drill sideways,up to 12km from the entry point. Not setting up rigs in National Parks? Set them up on the periphery. Already, the regional council is fully engaged in “holding the line” with water quality. How will adding high-use gas and oil extraction processes help that?

  7. millsy 7

    A saving grace is that with low oil prices, I doubt that oil companies will think there is enough of the black stuff down there to profitably extract.

    National has thrown the gates open, and promised a tidal wave of cash because the oil men will turn up, make a pin prick, and texas tea will come squirting out.

    The few oil people that came drilled and couldn’t find anything worth getting out.

    I would go out on a limb and say that the only profitable wells in the country are already in production.

    There is supposedly a huge shitload of oil south of Steward Island, but there hasnt been any takers to drill it, probably because the costs of getting it are too high.

    • weka 7.1

      You might be right about Southland, but I think the concern is that once the pressure is on from dwindling easy access supplies, the consents are already in place. Plus exploration is not a benign activity even if they never get to extraction. And then we have to do all the protest and activism just in case.

  8. Drowsy M. Kram 8

    The National Party had several failed runs at asset sales before they finally got the numbers (and a popular figurehead) required to ram them through without serious political damage. What needs to be highlighted is that, despite promises in the last election campaign, public asset sales have continued.

    The TPPA is still a live issue – there is enough voter uncertainty about its value to NZers (and it is firmly associated with the discredited Key) for the NZ left parties to pull some votes – National will just keep hammering away.

    Likewise with extractive industries in areas that should be left alone. In 2010 the Nats under Key had an early run at mining in conservation land.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/environment/3309721/Outrage-as-Key-signals-national-park-mining

    And because most voters forget and/or are easily distracted, National and their very wealthy mates will just keep trying:

    “Because they loved their money more than anything in the whole world.”

    • saveNZ 8.1

      Exactly, a vote for National and the Maori party is a vote for TPPA and putting NZ future into the hands of international business courts and off shore corporations.

      It’s crazy unless, you are a Nat. Even most Natz supporters don’t see anything good in TPPA and that was when the USA was there!

      Offshore corporations are not buying the exports, they are buying the assets. Why buy the milk, when you can buy the farm?

      Look what has happened with Cadbury and Silver Fern farms. Lay offs and plant closures. That is what we have to look forward to, under the National government.

  9. What are Māori saying about this – there are strong Māori down there who are kaitiaki – any links appreciated – on phone so not so easy to search and so on.

    • Ngai Tahu have developed huge dairy farms on on sensitive Canterbury soils where plantation forests once grew. They’re seemingly keen to establish marine farms in the fiords.
      Go figure…

      • marty mars 9.1.1

        Go figure what

        • Robert Guyton 9.1.1.1

          The meaning of kaitiakitanga.

          • marty mars 9.1.1.1.1

            What do you know that you think Kāi Tahu and the rūnanga don’t?

            • Robert Guyton 9.1.1.1.1.1

              I think it’s possible for any person, anywhere to connect with kaitiakitanga, if they have the nature for it. I measure the actions of others against my own standard and it’s one that I work on constantly, refining and testing it against the actions and words of others. Do you think, Marty, that it’s possible for someone to know more about dairy farming, soil types, the effects of nitrates on the environment etc, than do the Kai Tahu decision-makers? My feelings about converting arid land in Canterbury to irrigated dairy farms are not the same as theirs, it seems, therefore I have concerns.

              • No, just because someone says they know what kaitiakitanga is doesn’t mean that they do. It is arrogance for someone to think they know better because? It fits into their view of the word or their worldview in general. Your measure is just that – your one, no better or worse than another.

                I also worry about the avatar/Celtic – you poor dim natives don’t worry follow us we know the way and can help you because it looks like you don’t even know what is good for yourself.

                Your final point is interesting – ‘know’ relates to context. Yes in a holistic cultural interelatedness context Kāi Tahu people could ‘know’ more than a scientist or keen reader.

                • weka

                  I have some concerns about what Ngāi Tahu Holdings are doing myself, but I think what you two are arguing about is cultural differences in how kaitiakitanga is understood. Personally I don’t think Pākehā should be using that term through their own cultural framework, we have other words we can use to good effect.

                  I also am less inclined to go as hard out critical against NTH, or Kāi Tahu at least, as I am against tau iwi diary companies, given Kāi Tahu are still trying to re-establish wellbeing for their people after a really long period of colonisation. So, sure let’s criticise the business side for industrial dairy, but I don’t see how Kāi Tahu are any more responsible for that than say Southlanders are for the actions (or inactions) of Environment Southland 😉 (That’s not an exact comparison obviously, but a point made).

                  “because it looks like you don’t even know what is good for yourself.”

                  I think Kāi Tahu excels at looking after its people. There is also a conflict between that and some environmental concerns. In some ways I don’t see it as too different from the conflict between Pākehā ecological types and Pākehā society, but I think there are things there for Pākehā to learn esp in regards to how to look after people first. Pākehā NZ failing on both fronts except for small enclaves.

                  • For me it sounds like – yes we in the west have used all the resources and polluted to ensure our middle class lifestyles are maintained and yes we accept the human slave labour and misery as a cost others have had to pay for us to have our stuff – but the utter temerity of you third world peoples wanting the same stuff as us now and putting the whole world at risk through pollution and other bad things, well it disgusts me, you are selfish.

                    I dont agree with more dairy farms and if we to have them then small ones suit me and if not then a group that publically commits to best environmental practice and monitoring is what we can get, then okay. Much better than the current environmental approach of many industrial farmers.

                  • That’s fair, weka, my language was loose. I meant those in Ngai Tahu who made the decision to develop those dairy farms. I wasn’t meaning to include pakiaka harakeke and others in the claim.

                • No? Sweet, I’ll not use the word, “kaitiakitanga” because it’s a Maori word – presumably I oughtn’t to use any Maori word at all, given I’m tauiwi not Māori an indigenous person of these islands. Makes communication difficult though and means my years of interest in and learning of te reo Māori indigenous New Zealander language are somewhat redundant now. Hei aha! whatever, so be it. Still, I do know something of dairying and water quality issues, so as long as I don’t mention Ngai Tahu the dominant South Island iwi tribe, I’ll perhaps have something to contribute to the discussion.

                  • weka

                    Are you talking to marty or me? Because that’s not what I said at all.

                    • Sorry, weka, yes, I was addressing, vainly I expect, Marty. I don’t expect to make much progress, as Marty’s views seem to be loaded heavily and triggered easily, creating some weighty and complex responses to simple ideas; nothing wrong with that, of course, but I’m not of a mind to argue with someone whose opinion I respect.

                  • It’s not what I said either

                    • Okay then. On “kaitiakitanga” you said:
                      “Your measure is just that – your one, no better or worse than another.”

                      I don’t hold to that idea. I believe there are people with views and behaviours that are bringing the ecosystem we rely upon crashing down around us and at the same time there are those whose behaviour is attempting to do the opposite; that is, some humans are actively trying to restore the damage done and enliven the physical environment. Whether that makes one group “better or worse than another” is moot, but I know which group I strive to be part of.
                      Also…
                      I said, “I think it’s possible for any person, anywhere to connect with kaitiakitanga, if they have the nature for it. ”
                      and you responded;
                      “No, just because someone says they know what kaitiakitanga is doesn’t mean that they do.”
                      I think your most recent comment at 1:31pm applies.

                    • I am not interested in a Barney with you Robert.

                      However I do want to say

                      People thinking they know what’s best for others and nature, whether their intention be good or evil, are the cause of many of our problems.

  10. Who then, marty, should make a call? No one?

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    2 days ago
  • Statement from the Minister of Health Dr David Clark
      This morning I have formally tendered my resignation as Minister of Health, which was accepted by the Prime Minister. Serving as Minister of Health has been an absolute privilege – particularly through these extraordinary last few months. It’s no secret that Health is a challenging portfolio. I have given ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Scholarship placements for agricultural emissions scientists doubles
    Scholarships for 57 early-career agricultural emissions scientists from 20 developing countries is another example of New Zealand’s international leadership in primary sector sustainability, says Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor. Mr O’Connor, announcing the scholarships today, says hundreds of applications were received for this fourth round of the CLIFF-GRADS programme (Climate, Food ...
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    3 days ago
  • Funding for Foxton regeneration
    A project to help rejuvenate the Horowhenua town of Foxton will receive a Provincial Growth Fund investment of $3.86 million, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. “This funding for the Foxton Regeneration project will be used to make the well-known holiday town even more attractive for visitors and ...
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    3 days ago
  • Plan to improve protection of moa bones
    Moa bones and other sub-fossil remains of extinct species are set to have improved protection with proposals to prevent the trade in extinct species announced the Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage today. “We have lost too many of our native species, but these lost species, such as moa, remain an ...
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    3 days ago
  • Free lunches served up to thousands of school children in the South Island
    The Government’s free and healthy school lunches programme moves south for the first time creating jobs for around 30 people in Otago and Southland. “Eighteen schools with 3000 students are joining the programme – 11 have already begun serving lunches, and seven are preparing to start during Term 3. This is ...
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    3 days ago
  • Screen Sector recovery package protects jobs, boosts investment
    Thousands of Kiwi jobs and investment in New Zealand productions will be protected through a screen sector support package announced today by Associate Minister for Arts Culture and Heritage Carmel Sepuloni, Minister for Economic Development Phil Twyford and Minister for Broadcasting Kris Faafoi. The package also includes investment in broadcasting ...
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    3 days ago
  • New fund to help save local events and jobs
    The Government has established a new $10 million fund for the domestic events sector to help save jobs and protect incomes as it recovers from the impacts of COVID-19, Minister of Economic Development Phil Twyford announced today. This funding from Budget 2020 follows talks with the event sector designed to ...
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    3 days ago
  • Bill to improve fuel market competition
    The Government has taken another step in its commitment to making sure New Zealanders get a fairer deal at the petrol pump with the introduction of legislation to improve competition in the retail fuel market, says Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods. “The fuel market study that this Government ordered ...
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    3 days ago
  • New Zealand joins global facility for pre-purchase of COVID-19 Vaccine
    New Zealand has joined a global initiative that aims to enable all countries to access a safe and effective Covid-19 vaccine, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters announced today. The COVAX Facility was recently launched by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. The Alliance includes the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the World Bank ...
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    3 days ago
  • Right to legal representation in Family Court restored today
    From today new legislation takes effect to both restore the right to legal representation at the start of a Care of Children (CoCA) dispute in the Family Court, and allow parties to those proceedings to access legal aid where eligible. During a visit to the Family Court in Auckland today, ...
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    3 days ago
  • Transitioning to a fully-qualified home-based ECE workforce
    Home-based early childhood education (ECE) subsidised by the government will transition to a fully qualified workforce by 2025 to ensure better and more consistent quality, Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced today. “Quality early learning helps provide children with a strong foundation for their future,” Chris Hipkins said. From 1 January ...
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    4 days ago
  • Criminal Cases Review Commission gets to work
    The new Criminal Cases Review Commission | Te Kāhui Tātari Ture (CCRC) has started work and can now independently investigate claimed miscarriages of justice. “Even though we have appeal rights and safeguards against unsafe convictions, from time to time our justice system does get things wrong. The design of the ...
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    4 days ago
  • Speech by the Minister of Defence to the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs
    E ngā mana, e ngā reo, e ngā karangatanga maha, tēnā koutou Ki a koutou Te Āti Awa, Taranaki Whānui, Ngāti Toa Rangatira, ngā mana whenua o te rohe nei, tēnā koutou Ko Te Whare Wānanga o Aotearoa ki ngā take o te Ao (NZIIA), Ko te Rōpū Tohu Tono ...
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    4 days ago
  • Six months with baby and $20 more a week for new parents
    The Government’s increase to paid parental leave kicks in today with another 4 weeks taking New Zealand up to a full 6 months (26 weeks, up from 22 weeks) leave for new parents, and the maximum weekly payment will increase by $20pw, Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. ...
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    4 days ago
  • Infrastructure investment to create jobs, kick-start COVID rebuild
    A new package of infrastructure investments will help kick-start the post-COVID rebuild by creating more than 20,000 jobs and unlocking more than $5 billion of projects up and down New Zealand. Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones today outlined how the $3 billion infrastructure fund in the ...
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    4 days ago
  • Statement on passage of national security law for Hong Kong
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters today expressed the New Zealand Government’s deep disappointment at the passage by China’s National People’s Congress Standing Committee of a national security law for Hong Kong. “New Zealand has consistently emphasised its serious concern about the imposition of this legislation on Hong Kong without inclusive ...
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    4 days ago
  • July 1 marks progress for workers, families
    More jobs and more family time with newborns are the centrepiece of a suite of Government initiatives coming into effect today. July 1 is a milestone day for the Government as a host of key policies take effect, demonstrating the critical areas where progress has been made. “The Coalition Government ...
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    4 days ago
  • Auckland water consent referred to Board of Inquiry
    Environment Minister David Parker has today “called in” Auckland’s application to the Waikato Regional Council to take an extra 200 million litres of water a day from the lower reaches of the Waikato River for Auckland drinking water and other municipal uses.  The call-in means the application has been referred ...
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    4 days ago
  • New Zealand to host virtual APEC in 2021
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker announced today that New Zealand’s hosting of APEC in 2021 will go ahead using virtual digital platforms. Mr Peters said the global disruption caused by COVID-19, including resultant border restrictions, had been the major factor in the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Matakana Link Road construction kicks off and drives jobs
    The start of construction on a new link road between Matakana Road and State Highway 1 will create jobs and support the significant population growth expected in the Warkworth area, Transport Minister Phil Twyford and Mayor Phil Goff announced today. Transport Minister Phil Twyford said construction of the Matakana Link ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • PPE supplies secured as COVID-19 response focuses on border
    The Government is prioritising its latest investment in PPE for frontline health workers, including staff at managed isolation and quarantine facilities, Health Minister David Clark says. “With no community transmission of COVID-19 our response now has a firm focus on keeping our border safe and secure. “We must ensure that ...
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    5 days ago
  • PGF funding for Parihaka settlement
    The Parihaka Papakāinga Trust in Taranaki will receive up to $14 million for a new visitor centre and other improvements at the historic settlement that will boost the local economy and provide much-needed jobs, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Andrew Little have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Protections for workers in triangular employment
    Protections for workers who are employees of one employer but working under the direction of another business or organisation have come into force, closing a gap in legislation that  made the personal grievance process inaccessible for some workers, says Workplace Relations Minister Iain Lees-Galloway. “This Government is working hard to ...
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    6 days ago
  • Government strengthens managed isolation system
    A range of improvements are already underway to address issues identified in the rapid review of the Managed Isolation and Quarantine system released today, Housing Minister Megan Woods said. The review was commissioned just over a week ago to identify and understand current and emerging risks to ensure the end-to-end ...
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    6 days ago
  • Whakatāne to go predator free with Government backing Ngāti Awa led efforts
    The important brown kiwi habitat around Whakatāne will receive added protection through an Iwi-led predator free project announced by Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage and Under Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau. “The Government is investing nearly $5 million into Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa’s environmental projects with $2.5 ...
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    1 week ago
  • Growing Goodwood: Expanding wood waste recycling plant in Bay of Plenty, Waikato
    An extra 4,000 tonnes of offcuts and scraps of untreated wood per year will soon be able to be recycled into useful products such as horticultural and garden mulch, playground safety surfacing and animal bedding as a result of a $660,000 investment from the Waste Minimisation Fund, Associate Environment Minister ...
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    1 week ago
  • Scott Watson’s convictions to be referred to Court of Appeal
    The Governor-General has referred Scott Watson’s convictions for murder back to the Court of Appeal, Justice Minister Andrew Little announced today. Mr Watson was convicted in 1999 of the murders of Ben Smart and Olivia Hope. His appeal to the Court of Appeal in 2000 was unsuccessful, as was his ...
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    1 week ago
  • Protecting Kiwis with stronger financial supervision
    A new five-year funding agreement for the Reserve Bank will mean it can boost its work to protect New Zealanders’ finances, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. “New Zealand has a strong and stable financial system. Financial stability is an area that we are not prepared to cut corners for, particularly ...
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    1 week ago
  • Forgotten funds and missing money
    A law change has been introduced to make it easier for forgotten funds in institutional accounts to be returned more easily to their rightful owners. Revenue Minister Stuart Nash has introduced an amendment to the Unclaimed Money Act 1971. It will update the rules controlling forgotten sums of money held ...
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    1 week ago
  • Government delivers on mental health commitment
    The Government is delivering on election commitments and a key recommendation of He Ara Oranga: Report of the Government Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction with the establishment of a permanent independent Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission, Health Minister Dr David Clark says. Legislation enabling the establishment of the fully ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand privacy law modernised
    A Bill to replace New Zealand’s Privacy Act passed its third reading in Parliament today, Justice Minister Andrew Little has announced. “The protections in the Privacy Bill are vitally important. The key purpose of the reforms is to promote and protect people’s privacy and give them confidence that their personal ...
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    1 week ago
  • Tourism operators provided extra support
    Extra support is being provided to tourism businesses operating on public conservation land announced Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis and Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage today.  The Government is providing $25m worth of support to tourism operators impacted by COVID-19, with a decision to waive most Department of Conservation tourism related concession ...
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    1 week ago