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

 

I Sing The Highway Electric: Charge Net NZ To Connect New Zealand

BMW is turning Middle Earth electric after today announcing a substantial contribution to the charging network Charge Net NZ. This landmark partnership will enable Kiwis to drive their electric vehicles (EVs) right across New Zealand through the installation of a fast charging highway stretching from Kaitaia to Invercargill. More>>

ALSO:

Watch This Space: Mahia Rocket Lab Launch Site Officially Opened

Economic Development Minster Steven Joyce today opened New Zealand’s first orbital launch site, Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1, on the Mahia Peninsula on the North Island’s east coast. More>>

Earlier:

Marketing Rocks!
Ig Nobel Award Winners Assess The Personality Of Rocks

A Massey University marketing lecturer has received the 2016 Ig Nobel Prize for economics for a research project that asked university students to describe the “brand personalities” of three rocks. More>>

ALSO:

Nurofen Promotion: Reckitt Benckiser To Plead Guilty To Misleading Ads

Reckitt Benckiser (New Zealand) intends to plead guilty to charges of misleading consumers over the way it promoted a range of Nurofen products, the Commerce Commission says. More>>

ALSO:

Half A Billion Accounts, Including Xtra: Yahoo Confirms Huge Data Breach

The account information may have included names, email addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, hashed passwords (the vast majority with bcrypt) and, in some cases, encrypted or unencrypted security questions and answers. More>>

ALSO:

Rural Branches: Westpac To Close 19 Branches, ANZ Looks At 7

Westpac confirms it will close nineteen branches across the country; ANZ closes its Ngaruawahia branch and is consulting on plans to close six more branches; The bank workers union says many of its members are nervous about their futures and asking ... More>>

Interest Rates: RBNZ's Wheeler Keeps OCR At 2%

Reserve Bank governor Graeme Wheeler kept the official cash rate at 2 percent and said more easing will be needed to get inflation back within the target band. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Business
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news