New Zealand First MP
Our water and our land are under threat, with the same Minister in charge.
Our water ways have had the bar lowered to make ‘fouled by animals' and ‘full of germs' the new ‘swimmable'.
Our drinkable water is being given away, for foreign consumers to enjoy, while the exporters only have to make sure their local rates bill is paid. This blue government describes charging them for the privilege as “too hard” or “farcical”, depending on whether it's the current Prime Minister, or the Environment Minister speaking.
And now this same Environment Minister, Dr Nick Smith is calling concerns over Resource Management Act reform “nonsense”.
So let's look at the so-called “nonsense” to see if we should be concerned.
The submission period for New Zealanders to share their concerns and have their voices heard, closed last year in March 2016. But now, in 2017 we have the Minister slipping in changes to require agreement from local iwi and hapu that will have far-reaching consequences for local Authorities. Where is the transparent democracy in this kind of underhanded manoeuvring?
Effectively iwi and hapu could have a veto on regional development. The legislation requires “agreement” but with no clarification on what “agreement” looks like, nor how it is supposed to be reached.
And while there might be 5 or 10 or 20 iwi in a region, there are potentially hundreds of hapu, which would mean hundreds of unelected groups capable of slowing down the consent process as they see fit. And wasn't making the process more efficient the whole point of the reforms?
New Zealand First has offered our 12 votes for comprehensive RMA reform time and again, as long as the changes were good for all New Zealanders. But the two race-based party votes seem to be worth more to the Minister and this blue government, no matter the long-term cost to democracy.
They may have sneaked it over the line before the election, but New Zealand First will repeal it and fix it properly when we are in government.