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Minister not interested in New Zealanders' views

Richard Worth Opposition Environment Spokesperson

29 March 2000

Minister not interested in New Zealanders' views - her mind's made up

The Minister for the Environment has told the Local Government and Environment Select Committee that submitters are wasting their time appearing before the Select Committee to support their submissions on the Resource Management Bill as the Government's mind is already made up. Her comments at a select committee briefing have outraged Opposition Environment Spokesperson Richard Worth.

"The Government has no intention of supporting provisions in the bill aimed at saving time and money in contestable consent processing, commissioner hearings, and direct referrals to the environment court. A Government Minister virtually telling submitters not to bother, as the Government won't be voting for it anyway makes a mockery of the democratic select committee process.

"Why is it that this Government doesn't want to hear what New Zealanders really think? They are only interested in the views of people who agree with their ideology.

"The select committee should approach its deliberations with an open mind. Its job is to review the Bill, consider submissions and report its view to Parliament. Select Committees will simply not be the Government's lap dogs telling them only what they want to hear.

"Ms Hobbs needs to take advice on the use of her ministerial power before we see more attempts to muzzle a democratic process," Mr Worth said.

Ends

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