Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search

 


Labour to axe irrigation scheme fund, backs deep sea oil

Labour to axe irrigation scheme fund, backs deep sea oil

By Pattrick Smellie

May 5 (BusinessDesk) – A Labour-led government would continue to support deep sea oil drilling, while requiring “an effective rapid response capability if an incident occurs,” deputy Labour leader David Parker said in a major speech outlining the party’s environmental platform.

However, Labour would axe the $400 million Crown Irrigation Fund to kick-start private irrigation schemes and would cease to undertake publicly funded geological survey work to try and identify new areas of oil and gas prospectivity, which Parker labelled “subsidies” for the oil and gas industry.

Labour had spent around $20 million on geological data acquisition when last in government and the current government had continued that trend, Parker told BusinessDesk ahead of his speech in Christchurch – his second major policy speech in a week after winning political plaudits last week with new monetary policy proposals.

“We’ve done enough when it comes to data acquisition. There’s plenty to carry on with,” he said.

While honouring any contracts already in place, Labour would replace the Crown Irrigation Fund, established from the proceeds of state asset sales, with a freshwater pricing regime to encourage economically marginal irrigation schemes.

“With a new irrigation proposal where the economics are just breakeven, as they often are, then maybe the price of water for the first 30 years is next to nothing,” said Parker.

Parker also outlined numerous other planks in the party’s environmental platform, including a National Policy Statement to protect estuaries and resurrection of a plan for national freshwater management devised under the last Labour-led administration.

He effectively declared the government’s collaborative process for freshwater policy development, the Land and Water Forum, a failure, saying “years of delay were followed by betrayal when the government flouted the agreed outcome of the forum and served up instead a recipe for more pollution by way of make-believe standards that will not halt the decline of freshwater quality.”

Instead of the government’s proposed standards of water clean enough for wading and boating, Labour would establish freshwater bottom lines of “swimmable, fishable, and safe for food gathering”.

Labour would go back to the NPS produced during its last term by Environment Court judge David Sheppard, which “provided that clean rivers would not be allowed to get dirty, and that dirty rivers ought to be cleaned up over a generation.”

Labour would also either repeal or abandon stalled initiatives by the current government to weaken fundamental environmental protections in the Resource Management Act.

Also on the agenda are a range of new National Policy Statements and Environmental Standards to be created under the RMA, including one to protect estuaries to “control siltation and eutrophication and stop the incipient reclamation of the edges of estuaries.”

“It could, for example, be require all tidal gates to be reviewed and require the removal of those which are inappropriate,” Parker said in his speech.

On deep sea oil, Parker said there was not detail yet on the requirement for ready response capability, but that “we’re not going to require them (drillers) to have a billion dollar vessel standing by, but we want to know there are capping devices available within a responsive timeframe.”

Labour would adopt a Nordic-style regulatory regime, requiring physical as well as paper inspections of drilling facilities.

On irrigation funding and water pricing, “all the revenue raised within a region will go back into the region to fund water management and delivery, new storage and irrigation schemes, safe rural drinking water supplies and projects such as the restoration of degraded waterways,” Parker said.

Labour would also pursue an NPS on bio-diversity and discourage lengthy, expensive Environment Court hearings involving “complex opinion expert evidence”, but would not require a notified marine consent hearing every time a deep sea oil and gas explorer wanted to drill another well in a consented area.

The current review of Crown pastoral lease tenure would be stopped and lease terms would be enforced, “especially around lakes where landscape access values are paramount,” Parker said.

(BusinessDesk)


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Company Results: Air NZ Rides The Tourism Boom With Record Full-Year Earnings

Air New Zealand has ridden the tourism boom and staved off increased competition to deliver the best full-year earnings in its 76-year history. More>>

ALSO:

New PGP: Sheep Milk Industry Gets $12.6M Crown Funding

The Sheep - Horizon Three programme aims to develop "a market driven, end-to-end value chain generating annual revenues of between $200 million and $700 million by 2030," according to a joint statement. More>>

ALSO:

Half Full: Fonterra Raises Forecast Milk Price

Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited today increased its 2016/17 forecast Farmgate Milk Price by 50 cents to $4.75 per kgMS. When combined with the forecast earnings per share range for the 2017 financial year of 50 to 60 cents, the total payout available to farmers in the current season is forecast to be $5.25 to $5.35 before retentions. More>>

ALSO:

Keep Digging: Seabed Ironsands Miner TransTasman Tries Again

The first company to attempt to gain a resource consent to mine ironsands from the ocean floor in New Zealand's Exclusive Economic Zone has lodged a new application containing fresh scientific and other evidence it hopes will persuade regulators after their initial application was turned down in 2014. More>>

Wool Pulled: Duvets Sold As ‘Premium Alpaca’ Mostly Sheep’s Wool

Rotorua business Budge Collection Limited (Budge) and sole director, Sun Dong Kim, were convicted and fined a total of $71,250 in Auckland District Court after each pleading guilty to four charges of misrepresenting how much alpaca fibre was in their duvets. More>>

Reserve Bank: Labour Calls For Monetary Policy To Expand Goals

Labour's comments follow a speech today by RBNZ governor Graeme Wheeler in which Wheeler sought to answer critics who variously say he should stop lowering interest rates, lower them faster, or that inflation-targeting should no longer be the primary goal of the central bank's activities. More>>

ALSO:

BSA Extension And Sunday Morning Ads: Digital Convergence Bill Captures Online Content

Broadcasting Minister Amy Adams has today announced the Government’s plans to update the Broadcasting Act to better reflect today’s converged market... The Government considered four areas as part of its review into content regulation: classification requirements, advertising restrictions, election programming and contestable funding. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Business
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news